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Trees vs. bicyclists, residents vs. city in Melnea Cass revamp plan

The Boston Guardian reports.

Free tagging: 


100 mature trees axed: wow, gross.


We're being told this week that more trees, and especially mature trees, can be a major part of ending the climate crisis. Cutting 100 of them down is short-sighted, to put it mildly.


So lets take out a car lane or two here, make it a dedicated bus/bike lane, save the trees and tackle the issues of climate change!


None of those mature trees predate the construction of Melnea Cass Blvd which in turn didn't exist before the Sargent decision to can the SW Expressway and Inner Belt

So they got to be mature in on the order of 40 or so years with much of the growth [and carbon capture] happening in the first fifteen or so

So actually if you want to have the max carbon capture effect -- plant lots of fast growing trees and "harvest" them at about 15 with the wood fiber used to build houses and other things that last ---- or deep six them into the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean where it will take millions of years for the carbon to resurface

I guess I take their point about lack of community involvement, but it feels odd to me to bring up the Inner Belt when complaining about a redesign that takes what is currently essentially a longer highway on/off ramp and tries to turn it into a slower stretch that's better for pedestrians and cyclists. And as usual with these kinds of complaints, there's no actual examples given of how the redesign "doesn't fit with how they use the street".


as a year round biker thats been biking here since 2000s , i hate how the yuppie bike lobby is flexing and ruining the city for residents because they lack the fortitude to bike in a city without the nanny state coddling them for the whole ride. leave the damn trees alone. yall already ruined forest hills because it was sooooo hard to get from franklin park to the arboretum, USELESS faux bikers, cant wait for winter, when its just me out there


Because I gotta say, while there is a bike path here, it's pretty crappy. Hard to imagine that there's anyone out there using it who doesn't think it could be improved (unless maybe they're commuting on a BMX and really enjoys bunny-hopping over dozens of tree roots).


Ummm that's what I like about it , I can catch air on the sections near BWSC , stop exaggerating the bumps lol Tremont Ave is bumpier also what is suspension, if y'all really want comfort, especially in urban riding hen get a damn fork or thudbuster, problem solved.

Yeah that path is absolutely atrocious. Last (and only) time I tried to ride it a few years ago, the pavement was in such bad shape as to be nearly useless. Despite being on a road bike I ended up riding in the grass for part of it, as it was smoother.


the are literally 99% bait.


Lets be absolutely clear about something here: The only reason we're even considering cutting down trees here is because the city is unwilling to take a lane away from DRIVERS to build a dedicated bus lane on this street. The bike path is completely incidental to this plan and it's only named in this editorial because the author considers it completely expendable.

If anyone is being coddled here it's private automobile users, which is especially insane considering a) The few times we've had to eliminate whole lanes of traffic on busy roads around here, there have rarely been major traffic effects (Longfellow Bridge closing, rebuilding of the Charles River Dam, temporarily closing the underpass on Storrow Drive) and b) WE HAVE ARE HAVING A CLIMATE CRISIS CAUSED BY CARS!!!


There is an existing bike path, but it's poorly maintained and full of large bumps from tree roots. It seems like there should be enough room to fix the path and if a small number of trees have to be sacrificed, that's OK. Are they talking about cutting down a bunch of trees to widen the road and put the path next to traffic? Bad, bad, bad.

I think both sides are so caught up in their vision of what should happen, that neither side will budge and find a mutually acceptable soluton.

Here's an example of how it looks today.

What's wrong with a few bumps on a bike path? Just drive for the conditions. This isn't the Tour de France.


Just drive for the conditions, this isn't the Grand Prix.


It's more than a few bumps, it's a bicycle equivalent to a winding road whose pavement is breaking up and spotted randomly with potholes, so that you can't drive more than a few miles an hour. It's unsafe because you can't go in a straight line, and it is so bad that many cyclists are tempted to bike on the sidewalk or the street (both of which would be legal, I think, but not a great idea since the street is very busy and the sidewalk is in even worse shape than the bike path).


It sounds like you haven't actually ridden a bike on this path. There are whole sections of asphalt that are literally missing, and some of the protrusions from tree roots are so large that you have to get off your bike and walk over them.


The bike path as it stands today is dangerous and unrideable.


This isn't the Mass Pike.


Melnea Cass is a very heavily traveled road. Taking it from 2 lanes down to 1 in either direction would cause massive gridlock with the volume of cars that traverse it daily. Imagine Mass Ave as 1 lane each way.

Now he’s going to suggest a lane diet on Massachusetts Avenue.

Look, this whole post is about the apparent community concerns about trees and the environment.

We should be doing everything we can to reduce driving and expedite the transit of those that aren't causing gridlock. Hell, lets implement congestion pricing and take it further, you know, for the environment the community cares so much about.

Mass Ave. with one lane and dedicated bike/bus infra would be amazing and benefit far more people, lets do it!

That is the story in a nutshell.

There has to be a way for the redesign to happen that will make the neighbors happy. The guy quoted hit the nail on the head when he talked about the Southwest Corridor. Yes, changes had to be made to deal with fiscal constraints, but the stakeholders were always at the table. This story makes any meetings out as window dressing.


Sees thats the real rub here, its not about the trees or the process of community engagement.

Kruckemeyer says residents repeatedly told the city that the lanes don’t fit with how they use the street.

Its just pure resistance to anything that'll impact driving, because if the city came back and said they have plan that preserves the trees and takes out of a travel lane or parking, well then the goal posts move.


... takes out of a travel lane or parking...


Where is there any parking on Cass Blvd to take out?

And how they generally gloss over the real reasons they oppose projects like this, see California where they have weaponized environmental reviews to oppose public housing.

But you are right, there is no parking there.


I'm in favor of anything that makes Melnea Cass less like a bulldozed highway corridor without the overpasses, and more like a real place.

That means buildings fronting the street, some with ground floor retail, more frequent intersections, and street parking.

I can't find a picture that shows what the result will be.

But why can't the existing bike trail be repaired and wider? Why would you have to cut down 100 trees to do that? I mean a couple trees maybe, but why so many?

I live on Melnea Cass and we can’t work together to get a picnic table removed from a Trustees of the Reservation park. We deal with daily incidents that involve calling the police. Alas, the table remains.

Don’t worry about us. We can’t get out of our own way.