Thanks to Boston City Council President Michelle Wu and Colin Durrant for their excellent op-ed pieces on the need for more protected bicycle infrastructure. There is clearly a place for separated bike lanes, or cycle tracks, on many of our roadways. However, public officials and planners should also recognize the utility and safety benefits of nonprotected bike lanes as well.
Here in East Arlington, residents and businesses are enjoying the new Mass. Ave. with its three traffic lanes instead of four, and standard bike lanes. Traffic flows more slowly, and the number of bicyclists has increased significantly.
Rather than excoriate city and state agencies for striping standard bike lanes on bridges and roads that PERHAPS could have accommodated separated bike lanes, I’d prefer to reserve criticism where it is truly deserved: busy bridges and roadways used by bicyclists without any infrastructure for them.
These include the appalling conditions for bicyclists on Boylston Street, Charles Street, Mass. Ave. in North Cambridge, Webster Avenue and Prospect Street in Somerville, and the Charles River bridges connecting Brighton and Watertown. Bike lanes of ANY variety in those locations would go a long way toward making Greater Boston a more livable and safe region.
The writer is founder and cochair of the East Arlington Livable Streets Coalition.