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Never mind the bollards, here's the concrete barriers

New concrete barriers along bike lane on Massachusetts Avenue

Massachusetts Avenue getting new, tougher bike-lane borders.

Scott couldn't help but notice the new concrete barriers lying amidst the plastic flexposts that motorists love to knock over and park on along a section of the Massachusetts Avenue bike lane south of Boylston Street.

Stefanie Seskin, BTD's active-transportation director, says this is the first part of a multi-year project to harden dedicated bike lanes against four-wheeled intrusions:

They will be pinned to the roadbed and additional signage will he added. Install only began yesterday, more to come.

Concrete curbing will reduce need to replace/repair flex posts & provide better barrier for our bike lanes.

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Comments

Right before they tear up the road. See gas line spray paint.

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Voting closed 28

If you had to wait to do something like this until they were done tearing up the road, you would never do something like this.

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Voting closed 59

And Dig Safe markings don't necessarily indicate where the excavation is happening. It could be on the sidewalk.

When we had our fence installed, the entire gas line from the street to the meter (behind the house!) was marked, even though the fence going in only crossed the gas line once.

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Voting closed 30

That was for the drilling of the holes for pinning the blocks. Don't want to hit a gas line!

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Voting closed 12

n/t

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Voting closed 26

No more curbside access for emergency vehicles? Or will emergency responders be forced to block an entire travel lane?

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Voting closed 37

Those are parking spaces marked off on the road. Firefighters wouldn't be able to get to the curb in normal times, when the spaces are full of cars, so, yeah, they'd block off the road, just like they already do.

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Voting closed 143

You're simultaneously concerned that emergency vehicles won't have easy access to buildings and but angry that they might delay normal traffic while responding to an emergency.

You should add that first responders aren't paid enough but taxes are too high.

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Voting closed 95

You should add that first responders aren't paid enough but taxes are too high.

Those can both be true at the same time.

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Voting closed 8

Ever seen the clearance on a fire truck or ambulance? It's a lot more than a few inches, and their wheels are such a large diameter that rolling up and over one of these blocks isn't a problem.

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Voting closed 17

Doesn't this setup preclude the addition of a bus lane, by adding substantial distance between the curb and the nearest travel lane?

Even if it doesn't, it is still sad that a bus lane is not being implemented simultaneously. When will our politicians stand up for bus riders instead of constantly caving in to pro-bike interest groups?

It's very telling that bus lanes are not in the works, even though they are very much warranted. As anyone who has taken the 1 before knows, it is constantly stuck in traffic and is packed even on weekends. Making matters worse, the recent CT1 cut hasn't led to a notable improvement in service. Finally, at least for the Boston part of the route, it is used extensively by low-income and minority riders.

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Voting closed 31

these barriers are not that permanent, and I am very supportive of dedicated bus lanes. Public transportation also allows disabled people to travel, and I would place their needs above cyclists.

But the real choice here is about parking. If you remove the parking, there is plenty of room. There is one valet station for the Back Bay that will get screwed but that is about it.

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Voting closed 48

But the main point was that somehow, bikes always come first on the city's priority/to-do list, while buses always come last...

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Voting closed 5

"bikes always come first on the city's priority/to-do list"

Uhhhh the mayor literally got on the radio while Rick Archer's body was still cooling in the morgue and shouted angrily about those damn pedestrians and cyclists needed to get off their phones and take their earbuds out and "realize cars are going to hit them"

And then there's Five Car Flaherty

I can I come join you in this fantasy land where bikes "always came first"?

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Voting closed 8

The valets will keep double parking and blocking the whole lane just like they normally do.

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Voting closed 24

But in a spot somewhere in that picture, there is always a car in the bike lane near the starbucks.

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Voting closed 15

There's the Dunks on the northbound side and I can't tell you how many times I've had to go around the truck delivering there when it has blocked the bike lane by parking in it. The thing that gets me is that the truck is wide enough that it still blocks half of the eastern lane so the cars passing it still have to merge together into a single lane at the same time that the bikes are going around it. With barriers like that the bikes will maintain separation and there will be no difference to the auto traffic as they need to navigate around the truck.

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Voting closed 17

.... frequently parks outside the Dunkins at the corner of Washington and Essex. It blocks the crosswalk, parking spaces, a curb cut and a fire hydrant. Not to mention it severely limits any pedestrian attempting to pass by on the narrow sidewalk as they unload directly onto the sidewalk. I 311 it every time I see it and have emailed Dunkins customer service but it always comes back.
All just to deliver a few racks of nutritionally worthless poor quality baked goods which could easily fit into a truck more suitable for the area.

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Voting closed 19

valets won't exist anymore anyway. problem solved!

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Voting closed 6

The only change is the cement barriers. The road is there same width, and it would be hard to add a bus lane because the road goes to a single lane in a number of places. The bike lane is possible because it continues on the sidewalk (which is extra wide when the bike lane is on sidewalk level). An effective bus lane would require eliminating parking or pushing buildings back.

The bike lane isn't the problem for buses, the cars with a single driver take up to much space.

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Voting closed 14

We should be asking for these bus routes to be turned into trams or subways. It's silly under-asking for bus lanes when the passenger volume merits more serious infrastructure.

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Voting closed 7

It's hideously expensive, and there are more than 100 bus routes.

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Voting closed 3

If more people ride bicycles on Mass Ave [because they feel safer in the new bike lanes] then there will be less car traffic that slows down the buses.

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Voting closed 27

If the bike lane results in slower buses, like on Mass Ave at MIT, more people will take Ubers.

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Voting closed 6

Seriously? They make traffic, they don't beat traffic.

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Voting closed 9

Ubers are faster than the #1 bus, even though they get stuck in traffic and generate traffic. That's the tragedy of the commons at work.

Make the #1 bus slower and less reliable by taking away a general lane, and more people will switch to Ubers. Even though the Uber is slower as well, it still beats the bus. Also the Uber can take the Longfellow or BU Bridge if they're faster than the Mass Ave bridge at the moment, but the #1 bus can't do that.

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Voting closed 3

I ride on Mass ave by MIT all the time, and I assure you that it is not the bike lanes that are slowing buses down, especially as compared to the large amount of car traffic in the area.

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Voting closed 13

I assume you mean you ride a bike, and aren't a bus rider. Anyone who rides the bus knows that traffic got WAY worse when the separated bike lanes were built through MIT in 2018.

Just look at what happens on the Mass Ave Bridge northbound during busy times. There's a lane drop right after the Mem Drive light, which causes a big backup across the bridge. This backup was not nearly as big before 2018, when the lane drop did not exist and it was two lanes all through MIT.

Sure, if there was no car traffic, a single general lane would be just fine for buses. But the cars didn't disappear, and as a result buses got slower when a general lane was removed to make room for the buffered bike lanes, and the dedicated right turn lanes that were needed to have separate traffic light phases for bikes.

The ironic thing is this project included a bus lane, but it still made buses slower! The bus lane is southbound only, and only in certain stretches. The backup in the southbound general lane before the bus lane begins takes longer than the time saved by the bus lane. Northbound there is no bus lane so it's even worse.

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Voting closed 4

You used to see shirts that said "One Less Car" on the back that people would wear while cycling. People driving love to bitch about bikes, but if the fifty bikes that went past them while they were stuck in traffic turned into fifty more cars between them and their destination they wouldn't bat an eye at the delay because it's part of their normal routine.

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Voting closed 24

Awesome! Stay off the sidewalks and stop for pedestrians at crosswalks. Thanks for visiting the city of Boston!

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Voting closed 9

There are quite a lot of residents who ride bikes here, you know.

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Voting closed 10

On more than one occasion on a dark street I have been nearly run over by a nasty bicycle rider going faster than the cars on the street. On Boyston street the rider spewed all sorts for warm (call it epitaphs) at my failure as a human being while espousing all her rights to be a total MASSHOLE!!!

Now all the complaints about the way bicyclists handle their responsibility on the road come home to roost while some of them demonstrate that their hubris is equal to that of the 4 wheeled vehicles on the road.

And before everyone decides to pile on the added warm commentary, the circumstance were that we were on Mass Ave south of Boyleston on a dark night where the trees are. We were crossing the bike lane to get into our car which was parked on the outside of the bike lane. The bike wasn't visible and had only a small head light.

Let the debate commence! Which part of our society is worse and interacting with the rest: The car drivers, the bicyclists, or the pedestrians?

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Voting closed 25

Pedestrians should look for bikes before stepping in to the bike lane, just like they should look for cars before stepping in to the street. That said, if you were where I think you were (based on description), that's a bad bike lane implementation, since it's level with the sidewalk and less clearly delineated than the one in the picture with this story.

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Voting closed 12

There are jerks who walk, ride, and drive.

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Voting closed 51

This:

There are jerks who walk, ride, and drive.

is no lie, BostonDog! I tend to agree with you 100% on this.

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Voting closed 8

Like, starting with not stepping off a curb in front of a cyclist who has the right of way.

Pedestrians in this city have it way easier than anywhere I've lived, and yet they love to play the victim even more than Trump! Enough! Look both ways, obey signals, and stop crossing against lights!

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Voting closed 9

When you walk into a traffic, you need to look where you are going first.

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Voting closed 21

You don't need to have good night vision to use a car, as long as you're not the driver.

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Voting closed 5

When, as a pedestrian, I have a walk signal at a marked pedestrian crossing and some rude bike rider runs a red light and has the gall to yell at me for being in their way, I have two words for you. Pro tip, those two words aren’t, “Fun, ya!”

Selfish bicyclists who want to just do whatever they like disgust me.

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Voting closed 13

I walk and cycle in the city and I have encountered vastly more entitled "but I'm in a crosswalk" asshats crossing against a light than I have cyclists running a red light and endangering me.

The city is full of entitled idiots who scream at ME about "running red lights" when I cycle through a GREEN light with the right of way!

Pull your head out of your phone and use your eyes and neck as god intended.

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Voting closed 12

While walking across a bike lane, JP Citizen once had a close encounter with a rude cyclist who only had a small headlight, almost ran them over, and is still suffering from related PTSD apparently. I'd like to share my thoughts and prayers following this extremely traumatic life experience. I hope that others will do the same.

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Voting closed 23

But as a cyclist myself, I have had many run ins with arrogant speeding cyclists on my bike and on foot. One of whom flew right into me and caused me to need surgery, loss of income and also caused me permanent nerve damage. These assholes represent a small minority in the cycling community but I have zero tolerance for them.

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Voting closed 15

Motorists doing the same thing seem to get a free pass from cops who make shit up to prevent out of state truck drivers lacking their signal vehicles from being charged with murdering commuting doctors.

And motorists kill vastly more pedestrians in a given year than any other mode.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

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Voting closed 19

I am thrilled at the range of comments to my post. As expected it ranges from I'm a "face glued to phone idiot who should be removed from the gene pool" to "i'm traumatized and have pity on me" to total agreement. All of it evocative.

What strikes me the most is the assumptions on all sides. As it is, I was walking back from Symphony Hall, talking with my wife, head up, and paying attention. It was shortly after the bike lane on Mass ave was formally in place. I don't go downtown often. As it was, that section of Mass ave can get very dark.

Regarding the "Right of Way" comments, I refer people back to the imbroglio over the pedestrian who was almost in a collision with a plain clothed cop in his personal vehicle. If you research it, you will find out that NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY in MA. Right Of Way is something that is yielded. And while I agree with the various points about the way pedestrians frequently disregard any of the rules when crossing a road, the assumption that I was not paying attention or site impaired, presumes a self-centered perspective on the part of the commentator.

I am not a cyclist and my first thought is not to expecting a bike next to the curb coming at me at high speed.

Consider this, if I was in that car on the passenger side of a car and the on-coming bicycle came up on the passenger side of the car when I opened the door, would it really matter who was wrong? All that would have mattered is that the bicyclist would have most likely ended up in a hospital with any range of possible injuries. If the bicyclist was as difficult to see as I indicated, then the assumption that the pedestrian was at fault was as erroneous as the assumption that the car door opening in front of a speeding bicycle was the passengers fault.

We, as a society are not well educated or adapted to bicycle lanes just as the cyclists are not required to YIELD RIGHT OF WAY to pedestrians or be WELL ILLUMINATED or equipped with a HORN. And as a moving vehicle a bicyclist is not required to carry accident insurance. As a pedestrian entering my car, there is not a well marked or illuminated crosswalk to my car. The whole situation is uncontrolled and unmarked. And if an accident with a bicycle occurs, there is no recourse for the injured pedestrian other than the courts. There is no requirement for the bicyclist to stop and provide insurance. The is no law that I am aware of that declares that if the cyclist leaves the scene, there are penalties. And most importantly there is no sense in this situation that there is any sense of social contract obliging the cyclist to look out for the other.

In summary, my take on this is that this is an unregulated, poorly thought out situation where accusing the "victim" is within bounds and the lack of a sense of social responsibility is lost on many.

(and here goes the can or worms...) Kind of like how people are handling the call for them to be responsible to others by wearing masks, keeping your distance, and sharing a space with others....

Isn't society wonderful? Whats the old expressions? "I love society, its People I can't stand!"

I will now step down off the soap box.

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Voting closed 7

I am not a cyclist and my first thought is not to expecting a bike next to the curb coming at me at high speed.

We've only had bike lanes next to curbs here for a couple decades now, so...you might want to start expecting it.

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Voting closed 2

On more than one occasion on a dark street I have been nearly run over by a nasty bicycle rider going faster than the cars on the street. On Boyston street the rider spewed all sorts for warm (call it epitaphs) at my failure as a human being while espousing all her rights to be a total MASSHOLE!!!

Now all the complaints about the way bicyclists handle their responsibility on the road come home to roost while some of them demonstrate that their hubris is equal to that of the 4 wheeled vehicles on the road.

And before everyone decides to pile on the added warm commentary, the circumstance were that we were on Mass Ave south of Boyleston on a dark night where the trees are. We were crossing the bike lane to get into our car which was parked on the outside of the bike lane. The bike wasn't visible and had only a small head light.

Let the debate commence! Which part of our society is worse at interacting with the rest: The car drivers, the bicyclists, or the pedestrians?

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Voting closed 9

The bike lane appears wider than the car in the background. Is this for social distancing?

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Voting closed 7

The bike line is the same width as any other bike lane in the city, I bike this road very frequently. It's just the barrier lines between the lane and traffic (safety measure) plus the parking spots for cars that are pushed back from the curb, that make it seem. and maybe some forced perspective.

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Voting closed 7

but isn't necessarily as wide as a *car lane*. (Remember that there needs to be buffer room around a vehicle.) This width allows bikes to pass each other. For cars to pass each other, they would need two car lanes.

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Voting closed 14

A good bike lane is about as wide as a car

According to US DOT, a good bike lane is 4 or 5 feet wide.

Cars on Mass Ave don't need to 'pass' each other. It's a city road not a rural highway. Every motor vehicle can be expected to move with the flow of traffic up to the enforced speed limit. Multiple car lanes are there to handle traffic volume, not to enable 'passing'.

There isn't so much bicycle congestion to require two bike lanes in each direction, which is basically what's being created.

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Voting closed 4

The perspective in the photo is misleading. Ignore the car in the distance; compare the bike lane in the foreground to the car-sized parking spaces right next to it, and you'll see that the parking spaces are at least a foot or two wider.

More importantly, nothing is "being created" here except a stronger barrier between the bike lane and parking spaces. This bike lane has existed with its current dimensions for years.

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Voting closed 12

I don't mind at all if the lane is wide enough for an emergency vehicle to carefully use to get around pile ups of far less compact vehicles.

In the city this is a pretty ideal use of the space - bike lane most of the time, emergency lane when needed to get around the herds of social distancing bubbles.

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Voting closed 8

Extra width is good for runners who use bike lanes as well. Now if we can stop Uber drivers from double-parking on Boylston it'll be a win-win for everyone.

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Voting closed 8

I hope to see more of them around.

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Voting closed 31

The road is looking pretty vacant

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Voting closed 12

Does anyone care?

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Voting closed 3

To Madison WI in 2006 for grad school. They had concrete curbs and guard rails separating the bikes. Glad Boston is finally catching up.

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Voting closed 35

and the bollards too.

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Voting closed 5

...is where things *really* get weird, when the bike lane becomes a dedicated green-painted path that veers off the street right up onto the sidewalk. That takes some getting used to :-)

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Voting closed 16

Unpopular opinion, but all of this infrastructure isn't free.

Yes, automotive taxes only cover a small fraction of road maintenance costs, but that's not a reason why a similar scheme can't be applied to bikes. After all, these barriers physically prevent cars from sharing the bike lane, so it makes little sense for car taxes to subsidize such spaces. It's like a salesperson strongly encouraging you to pay for an extended warranty (that you don't need or want) on a TV, except the salesperson is the government and says that you can't have any TV at all without paying for the warranty - of the next person who comes to buy one.

Even T riders are paying transportation taxes, in the form of constant fare hikes that take place without any improvement in service (or even alongside service cuts). As highlighted by the ongoing health crisis, bus riders overall (minorities and poorer people) are arguably more vulnerable than able-bodied cyclists -- a reason why cyclists should pay their fair share. (Of course, Blue Bikes can be exempt, and to mitigate equity/race concerns, such a taxation system can even charge different rates based on income.)

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Voting closed 10

Of course, car taxes should subsidize bike lanes. Because of cyclists, drivers have more room on the road.

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Voting closed 14

Not sure why anyone thinks they don’t. Look up how much this infrastructure costs vs how much damage cyclists do to it - I assure you cyclists are well on the green side of the equation.

Now, if we want to start charging vehicles tax vs how much damage they do - I’m not opposed, but get ready for the cost of shipping goods to go waaaaay up.

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Voting closed 11

Excellent, city space savers. Can't wait to see how this works out during snow removal.

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Voting closed 4

Dented plows and snow filled bike lanes.

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Voting closed 6

.... UBER BUSTERS!!

Haha!

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Voting closed 25

But only until the Ubers start stopping in the active travel lane. After all, every Uber driver knows that they won't get a 5-star rating for dropping passengers off a block away...

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Voting closed 4

IF a bike lane is only 4' wide, that same Uber will be blocking the travel lane anyway.

See also: asshat valets lining up cars for free parking in the Seabork.

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Voting closed 7

... would get a zero rating from me.

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Voting closed 5

Does the person who chose these ride a bike in the area? This makes it impossible to leave the bike lane to turn left or get around an obstruction.

I seriously hope these are visible at night, and stay that way (missing flexposts get replaced promptly, and lines get repainted when they fade, which should go without saying but thisnis Boston where missing lines stay missing for years). Nobody expects chunks of concrete in the road, and hitting one would seriously injure a cyclist, maybe even kill them.

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Voting closed 6

this is one of my favorite headlines from Adam in a long time.

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Voting closed 19

Give a wrong time, stop a traffic line.

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Voting closed 5

Subtle headline reference is subtle.

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Voting closed 4

If we start getting winters with heavy snow again, it will be interesting to see how plow blades interact with these barriers.

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Voting closed 4

But now Charlie needs to fix the T. I mean, really make it world class. If we make driving take even longer and eliminate parking options when you get where you're going, we need to supply an alternative. Lots and lots of people are just never going to ride a bicycle. Hats off to those that do. For the rest of us for whom the T will be the only option, a 5 mile bus+train trip should not average 9 mph (45 mins). We should not be forced to wait on the bus platform with 150 other people at 6 pm for a single bus that's sitting empty while the driver is on a break or they're "adjusting the schedule" or wait at a bus stop for 15 minutes in the morning only to have 4 buses roll up at the same time, bunched together. If driving is even more difficult and the MBTA system, already at the breaking point, is even further challenged by ridership increases, downtown, Back Bay, Cambridge, Somerville, South Boston, waterfront, really anywhere "in town" becomes even less accessible than before for folks who don't already live there. On the other hand, maybe we'll get used to not going out and our jobs will have us working from home more, so no need to go "in town". I've always wondered what's out there in the suburbs...?

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Voting closed 25

Not everyone can ride a bike (or afford one), particularly the most vulnerable members of our society: the elderly, people with disabilities, single mothers with young children, etc. etc.

It's difficult to support bike infrastructure when there aren't even studies commissioned (not to mention actual plans) to improve bus service on the same stretch of the street.

Help isn't coming either. We've got a governor with a less than stellar record on public transit, while local politicians - all from the opposite party - are all rooting for bikes like there's no tomorrow.

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Voting closed 9

Perhaps your suburb is too spread out for this to work, but when I cycle in protected lanes I often see people in wheelchairs using them, too. I see a whole lot more chairs using bike lanes when there are physical barriers to cars involved.

The reasons are easy to understand: chair users can get up to higher speeds on the lanes and don't have to play find the ramp at every interconnection.

We need public transit, yes. We need better options for people with disabilities, yes. But I'm getting soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo tired of the "everyone is too disabled to not use a car/use a mask blah blah blah" nonsense.

Get a sense of proportion - and come visit the city when the current situation eases, too.

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Voting closed 11

...where there are no single mothers with young children on the bus at 7AM? Or seniors taking the bus to get to the grocery store? There's also East Boston and Chelsea residents (disproportionately poor + dying from Covid-19, by the way) who have to take the T to work in Boston - they can't bike in the tunnels or on the Tobin.

Do these groups of people not deserve better?

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Voting closed 9

... where it is impossible to consider a world where having better transit and having bike lanes can both happen, and each new installment isn't some sort of dumbass competition?

Where EVERY SINGLE FUCKING SIMPLE LITTLE THING that cyclists get isn't somehow a monumental "loss" for everybody else or "your team"?

Since you already seem to have a vivid imagination, maybe consider putting it to good use thinking about a better city as a whole, and not pretending that anything that isn't rocking your special hobby horse is somehow a loss for team hobby horse?

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Voting closed 7

A snow plow traveling at 20 mph will toss those concrete forms like baseballs at whoever or whatever is near the sidewalk. Going to get very ugly.

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Voting closed 7

I would suggest the City has coordinated with the Boston DPW (their own employees) on this. And when the winter/seasonal team is hired, they will notify the plow drivers of these adds to the infrastructure. Or they will change the set up in snow situations.

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Voting closed 7

I’m sure that have. Boston is great at logistical planning.

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Voting closed 6

Plows hit fixed objects like cars and curbing all the time. These hidden under snow and out in the roadway will be cannon fodder.

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Voting closed 1

The bike lane there is just a glorified loading zone. this would be a great improvement!

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Voting closed 14

... can we please have these for the bike lane about to be installed around the corner on Washington? Currently this is also an illegal loading zone/Uber/Lyft drop off and idling zone.

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Voting closed 12

It so refreshing to read a good old Bike Brawl on U-Hub. Almost makes me feel like the world is normal again!

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Voting closed 13