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Fabled Boston bike-lane clearers really exist

Bobcat clearing Massachusetts Avenue bike lane

Boston Public Works shows us one of their mini-plows clearing the Mass. Ave. bike lane across from the Christian Science Center early this morning.

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It was clearing a sidewalk over a T line, not a bike lane though

Voting closed 17

I’ve seen maybe 12 bikes use that lane last year.

Voting closed 34

I rode my bike across the Mass Ave bridge on 97 different days last year. Round trip 194 crossings. I encountered at least one, usually many, bicycles using the bridge at the same time. That's a minimum of 388 bicycle trips. Maybe book an appointment with your optometrist.

Voting closed 77


You obviously don't look at it very often.

Or -- oh, I'm so sorry, can you not count?

Voting closed 32

If you build it, they will come. The safer and more convenient it becomes to bike around the city, the more people will do it.

Voting closed 61

Now run along and wax your car. It needs you!

Just because you don't see us doesn't mean that we aren't there.

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You’re an idiot.

That’s Mass Ave, stupid.

Voting closed 33

According to the actual data collected by the city, in bicycles make up somewhere between 0.5% and 6% of traffic on Mass Ave in December. It's probably closer to 0.5% south of Comm Ave and in January/February.

There's more bike traffic in the summer, but even then it's relatively small compared to cars.

Voting closed 23

Let's take a look at the documents … Back Street (0.5 miles from OP's site) seems more applicable than Newmarket Square (1.5 miles away, and frankly a different world).

March: bikes were 4.5% of all traffic, 4.5% during the morning peak, and 9.5% during the evening peak.

December: 6.9%, 8.3%, 7.6%

June: 13%, 11%, 22.9%

September: 14.5%, 18.2%, 24.9%

So yes on the coldest, rainiest, snowiest days, bikes are not 25% of traffic. But I'm going to guess it's more than 1% (or the 19 per day quoted upthread).

Voting closed 25

You have to specify how long you were sampling, you should ideally take samples in all different conditions and times of day, and then you need to multiply them to get the "last year" you alluded to.

Because most of the (a lot more than 12) times that I commuted on that stretch last year, I probably saw at least 12 other cyclists in that area.

BTW, Strava shows 5,485 total trips on that segment. That's only the cyclists who rode with Strava recording.

Someone actually calculated Strava usage rate in order to use it to estimate total number of cyclists based on Strava data: https://www.mdpi.com/2313-576X/7/1/8/pdf

It doesn't include any US cities, so it's not super reliable, but it suggests 20% of city cyclists are using Strava. This would then mean that 27,425 cyclists rode that stretch last year. I still think that's a very low estimate, but it's at least considerably more informed than the "12" you pulled out of your ass.

Boston Cyclists Union (which does bike counts in various areas) shows 25% of traffic on the Mass Ave bridge during peak commuting hours is cyclists: https://bostoncyclistsunion.org/sign-the-petition-protected-bike-lanes-o...

Voting closed 20

As someone who uses Strava, I don't even use Strava 20% of the time I'm riding by bike. No way are 20% of the people biking around Boston logging it on Strava at a given time. It's going to be less than 1%.

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I wish sidewalks were considered as important as roads and bike lanes.

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People are all "OMG you're biking in this?" and I have to point out that the roads get plowed and salted, it's the *sidewalks* that are a nightmare.

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I don't grudge pedestrians using bike lanes when the sidewalks are a mess - one reason that I bike after snowy weather is because the roads are clear when the sidewalks are not.

I never grudge people using wheelchairs in the bike lanes, either.

Meanwhile, you know why bike lanes get plowed when sidewalks are left to private property owners? Because ... CYCLISTS ORGANIZED and pushed to make it so.

Don't agonize, organize.

Voting closed 39

Has a snow melter they paid a couple of hundred thousand dollars for but you never see it.

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To melt large quantities of snow fast in a brutal emergency like we had back then. But guess what? Those things cost a lot of money to run, so they don't use it for one-off non-blizzard storms like yesterday's.

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It's nice that they're trying. But the design of these bike lanes means that no amount of plowing will make them usable until all the snow piles melt.

A snow storage area should not be uphill from a travel lane. The strip of snow in the flexpost buffer will keep melting and refreezing as black ice in the bike lane, over and over. And if you happen to notice it in time while riding, there's no way around it without dismounting and carryring your bike over the snow buffer.

This was in fact a big problem today. All of the protected bike lanes I saw were entirely unusable. Here's one example where the ice is really thick, plus there are additional melt areas further down which are about to refreeze: https://imgur.com/yKWePEo It's particularly frustrating when they replaced traditional bike lanes that were fine in storms like this.

Voting closed 30