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When it’s easier for policy makers to seek forgiveness than permission

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu (far left) rode her bike to City Hall from her home with fellow Roslindale residents, meeting them at Adams Park in Roslindale Square, Aug. 11, 2022.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Re “Installing bike and bus lanes requires public debate” (Opinion, June 9): I support safety for bikers, as well as for pedestrians, people with disabilities, and car and truck drivers.

My experience in Cambridge is that critical infrastructure changes have been implemented with no meaningful community engagement. After-the-fact listening sessions don’t cut it. Installing dedicated bike lanes involves collateral “damage” such as leaving businesses with no parking and increasing congestion on major and residential streets. As the writers of this piece make clear, there are trade-offs to be made, and to not proactively and meaningfully involve those who could be negatively affected, as well as those who gain by the infrastructure changes, is simply wrong and a miscalculation for local politicians.


Honest and transparent debate regarding what’s gained and lost in implementing dedicated bike lanes is needed. But more important, we need politicians and government officials who are unafraid of fostering robust discussions before, not after, initiating construction.

Mary Jane Kornacki


Newton shows how not to do it

Re “Installing bike and bus lanes requires public debate”: The Massachusetts Department of Transportation held meetings about the upcoming changes to Needham Street in Newton. The powerful bike lobby won out and this already congested street will eventually accommodate bikes and pedestrians, side-by-side. Needham Street is likely to become the poster child of how not to do it. The worst part is when it’s done, this now state-owned road will be the city of Newton’s responsibility. And the nasty present traffic jams will become quaint. It’s possible that one will hear screams and howls once it’s done — too late.

Margo Volterra and Matt Chao

Newton Highlands