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Human flexposts demand more permanent replacements along bike lanes on DCR parkways

Human flexposts along Fenway.

Human flexposts along the Fenway this morning. Photo by Cambridge Bicycle Safety.

Some 100 area bicyclists took up positions as flexposts on the Fenway this morning to call for more permanent plastic sticks to better protect people riding in the bike lanes along DCR roads - and to do something about the intersection where a bicyclist died after being hit by a cement truck at the intersection with Brookline Avenue.

Unlike the city of Boston, DCR has relied strictly on painted white lines to separate cars from its "dedicated" bike lanes.

The Boston Cyclists Union called for the standout.

I am a human flexpost.

Free tagging: 


People are THE WORST.

If cyclists are going to continue to DEMAND more infrastructure, then they need to start paying for it directly like drivers do, via registration fees and related annual taxes.

Or alternatively, maybe the city will start ticketing some of these pricks in town who run red lights and speed through packed crosswalks.


They pay taxes, including the auto excise taxes you're about to start frothing about, because most of them also own cars.

If you hate bicyclists, think of it as a way to protect motorists - you ever stop to think what happens to your car insurance after you hit somebody on a bike, never mind the potential for fines if you get charged with a criminal offense for driving like a Masshole?


a blind assumption they own cars.

Like those on real estate property and telephone poles (yes, utilities pay real estate taxes on them). The money goes to cities and towns for general use. Excise tax is not for use of a vehicle, but simply owning something of value which is tracked. So, a cyclist paying excise tax has nothing to do with use of roads.

Gas taxes are for road use, in some proportion to use. Bicyclists don't pay gas taxes unless they put a 50cc or smaller motor on their bike.

Most of road costs come out of general taxes.


How do you know? Citation please.


I'm a biker and pedestrian that also owns a car, a home and I pay taxes. Car drivers don't pay their fair share in this state...at all. My excise tax is $60 a year...for that I should be entitled to free parking and upkeep of the roads for life?!

It's pitiful and short-sighted as are the people that rage on about bikers, walkers or basically anyone that dares want to change infrastructure for the better.

BTW, when is the last time the gas tax has been raised?


Various figures have been cited here for years. Perhaps you should click a tag and educate yourself.

Nearly nine out of 10 bicyclists in Oregon and southwest Washington also own and drive automobiles.


But come on, be honest, there could be data from a study from last week of Boston residents that backs up Adam's argument and you'd come back with your own personal anecdotes and call it fake news.


and 53% own bicycles, according to a Pew survey, I would say there's quite a bit of overlap.



People are THE WORST.

If drivers are going to continue to DEMAND more infrastructure, then they need to start paying for it directly like T riders do, via congestion charges and an increased gas tax.

Or alternatively, maybe the city will start ticketing some of these pricks in town who run red lights and speed through packed crosswalks.



.. and I also own a car, so I'm also paying those taxes. As for "ticketing some of these pricks in town who run red lights and speed through packed crosswalks", I'm all for that (I'm one of the few cyclists who actually stops at red lights), and while they're at it, ticketing Ubers and delivery trucks that block the bike lanes.

Every bike is one less car on the road- more bikes = less car traffic.



If the taxes were divided by the amount of infrastructure used and wear & tear caused then car owners would be paying $250 more per year.



The report documents that the amount that road users pay through gas taxes now accounts for less than half of what’s spent to maintain and expand the road system. The resulting shortfall is made up from other sources of tax revenue at the state and local levels, generated by drivers and non-drivers alike. This subsidizing of car ownership costs the typical household about $1,100 per year—over and above the costs of gas taxes, tolls, and other user fees.

While congressional bailouts of the Highway Trust Fund have made this subsidy more apparent, it has actually never been the case that road users paid their own way. Not only that, but the amount of their subsidy has steadily increased in recent years. The share of the costs paid from road-user fees has dropped from about 70 percent in the 1960s to less than half today, according to the study.



The one legit argument that can come from this angle is that the road "user" (what you would refer to as "drivers") is paying LESS today than they were 70 years ago through gas tax, tolls, and excise tax.
I would agree that this is a problem, or "wrong," as it were. A case could be made (and often I make it) that we should be raising gas tax and even excise tax, by even marginal amounts, and that this could be earmarked for public transit funding.
But whining that car owners/drivers aren't paying for 100% of road maintenance and expansion is just asinine. EVERYONE uses the roads. Every. Single. Person. A firetruck needs to get to its destination in a speedy manner. Same for the ambulance. Same for the police car. Trucks need to move goods overland to get food to your grocery store. The power company needs to get trucks on-site to fix the power lines. Mail and your precious Amazon do-dads are delivered by automobile. You don't have a car? How do you get around? Uber? Bus? Taxi? Even, dare I ask...BIKE? Roads need to exist. They need to be built. They need to be maintained. It is a public need and a public good and is therefore, at least in part (nowadays 50ish%), funded by general tax dollars shared among everyone. That car owners are paying the remaining 50% of the total, on top of their general tax dollars being used to fund the rest. One could say they are paying MUCH MORE than everyone else to keep up the roads.
I am not on this post to say that bikers need to pay excise tax or registration or tolls or anything so please do not misunderstand me here. I am simply debunking this argument that car owners are getting a FREE RIDE of some kind because roads are maintained using money form general tax revenue and not exclusively from use-fees/taxes. That notion is just bullshit and not based in any sort of reality.

Seeing as you missed the point, while all vehicles use the roadways, some vehicles do little to no damage to the roadway. So let me ask you, which do you think causes more damage to the roadway, a 4000 lb car or a 300 lb person with a bicycle?


Has you're screed taken into account the massive impact that motor vehicles have on our environment, public health and fiscal/economic tradeoffs? Who are those costs transferred to?

We tried raising the gas tax, the entitled motorists in this state voted it down.

How much damage do cyclists and pedestrians do to this infra?

How much do motorists pay to park on our valuable public land? Is it market rate? How does this benefit those of use that don't drive, wheres the benefit to me of motorists have cheap/free parking to store their private vehicle?

What about all the military funding we dedicate to protecting oil routes (which of course provide heating and other uses) that feed this nations energy needs?

How about all the roads we plow all over the city? Certainly a public benefit but we can't seem to extend that same service to major walking routes. What about the economic impact of people that walk or have mobility issues that can't get about due to snow?

Specific to me? I get around mainly by bike and foot and public transit but we use Zipcar for those rare times we need a vehicle.

Now of course you carefully glossed over the whole point this, which was someone calling out cyclists for demanding better infra when we supposedly don't pay for it. But we do, we just get peanuts to show for it.

And of course all of this is going on while our public transit crumbles because we refused to properly fund and maintain it for decades and riders are being asked to pay more and more and more for less and less and less (not motorists though!) AND OUR OWN GOVERNOR REPEATED A SIMILAR LINE ABOUT 50% OF MASS RESIDENTS FUNDING THE MBTA THAT THEY NEVER USE.

Something something public benefit amirite?


and we've given over waaaay too much public space to motorized transit, and when you put that all together, you get entitled angry attitudes like this one.


All these people want is a safer way to get around town/get to work/appointments. Get over your sense of entitlement.


You really have a bone to pick with cyclists , huh?

I'm pretty sure that 3 out of the 4 comments (as opposed to replies) were straight troll-jobs. And the 4th was Kapil.

Bike riders are getting a lot of attention paid to their needs and are taking over portions of the roadways. Additionally, they are demanding more services but are they contributing to the cost of road maintenance as vehicle owners do via excise tax?

And see if bicycles are subject to sales tax.

(Hint: they are.)


Bikes serve a purpose for transportation and most people believe they are a Good Thing. The reason these simple safety reforms don’t get pushed through faster is the bad phenotypes of the cyclists themselves. For better or worse, nobody respects them. They are an odd looking bunch* with their jacked up pants, dorky helmets, lack of upper body strength, nuthugger spandex with advertisements, lights and other electronics strapped to various parts of their bodies. Most drivers pass cyclists on the road with their gear flashing, holding up traffic, and are like “haha, what a tool.” I feel like cycling safety initiatives would get more traction if the people standing along this road were motorcycle riders, with their intimidating appearance and leather jackets, or surfers/long boarders, with their good looks and chill attitudes.

* I concede that the people in this photo appear mostly normal.

This is basically the equivalent of saying women shouldn’t wear short skirts if they don’t want to be raped.


Then all cars and trucks need to be taken off the road NOW.

DRIVERS kill people. DRIVERS behave badly, get drunk, get behind the wheel, KILL people.

Look at that guy in NH who MURDERED the bikers: THAT'S A MOTORIST BAD PHENOTYPE.

Because he is such a loser, let's get all truckers off the roads - see that? That's YOUR "logic" here.


This is Kapil's lame shtick. It's a waste of bytes.


It’s cool, bro. There are a couple lbb posts in this thread that are probably more your speed.

As for bikes, I am ashamed to admit that I ride one, mainly because it is an easy way to get around. Swirlygrrl rides one too. But either of us would be happy to be driven around in an air conditioned luxury vehicle if we could afford it.

I rented a car in Oregon and they gave me a freaking lexus for $20 a day. An Illudium Q50. Explosive Space Modulator. My aunt and cousin and I gussied up and did winery tours in this slick chick mobile with great flair and elan. Thing is, I can really quite easily afford the damn thing if I wanted one. Cash. I have a fully loaded late model Subaru as it is. It has cost me 4 bikes for tires and brakes this year alone. I don't commute in it. My bike is much faster. Bike to train to walk is much saner and cheaper. We do drive once every couple of weeks or so, but add errands on the way home. When I drove everywhere as a 20 something new grad, I ended up weighing 260 lbs. I'm not gong back. I'm really cheap and need the exercise. Cheap ass beats fat ass most of the time. Cars are for hauling stuff and multiple people long distances. They fail at short track lap running.

This is why I have you in my list of Top 10 Posters. I haven’t updated it in awhile but you fall somewhere behind adamg, u-hub-fan, and cybah.

Illudium Q32 explosive space modulator.

They are absolutely correct. This should be an easy fix and could be done in an hour. They are not asking for much, we're talking about plastic flexposts that are an industry standard. A woman was killed here, what more does DCR need to see? Do your job or take these state roadways away from an agency that manages parkland and doesn't know how to manage roads.


Some streets are not safe for cyclists.

Cyclists should be required to ride on sidestreets when this is the case.


Cyclists should be required to ride on sidestreets when this is the case.


Some roads are only appropriate for vehicular traffic that is capable of traveling at certain rates of speed. These are indeed limited to that type of traffic. The roads in question do not meet that description. You should be required to give up your car and your license if you can't share the road.


Yeah the VFW Parkway in West Roxbury is a great safe place to "share the road." What do you think about the shared lane there? Most call it a death trap. I'm interested in how a delusional thesaurus would put it.

At the recent airing of grievances over a plan to add bike lanes to Centre Street in West Roxbury, bicyclists kept saying they'd rather bicycle along VFW Parkway than Centre Street.

but otherwise it's a pretty decent road for riding a bike. The cars are fast, but there is some space between them and the curb and since there is no street parking, dooring is not a risk.



Designed for, cyclists or driver?

"Design error?"

But seriously, imagine thinking this is a good "gotcha" question. I certainly can't.

Mostly, they were designed for pedestrians or horse-drawn carriages going much slower than current automobile traffic.

But if you want to ask who they were paved for, the answer is cyclists, actually.


Historically, you can thank cyclists for advocating for some of the original smoothly paved roads. Google it.

While common sense is on your side, Massachusetts state law Title XIV, Chapter 85, Section 11B isn't.

Pretty self-aware wolf comment here, just almost grasping the real issue but deflecting to a poor solution.

Because when a truck kills a cyclist we all know the best thing to do is ticket [or run over] cyclists.

What makes some streets unsafe are the cars. Make the cars behave appropriately for a dense city and some it's safe for biking and walking. Are streets are only dangerous because of cars and trucks. Walking and biking are very safe on their own, it's only when people insist on driving in Boston, a city where most car trips shouldn't have to exist, that they become dangerous things to do.

Protests never seem to have a lack of diversity. NOT


Republicans need seem to have a valid, relevant, logical argument. EVER.


"I am very smart."


In the photo I see a POC right up front and about 1/2 and 1/2 males and females. Oh you mean that almost none of those people are Republicans? Got it. You're right.

[Edited to remove my embarrassing mistake. My apologies.]


The POC near the front of the photo is Rep Nika Elugardo. She's lovely.


Good one, Borat.

But really, funny how the right becomes "really concerned" with their idea of diversity at very specific times. While at others times, diversity is A LEFTIST AFFRONT TO THEIR FREEDOM

As a long time bike advocate, but someone who has only seen this lane from these pictures, I would note that it looks better than 90-95% of bike lanes in the Boston area, and parallels off road facilities that are open for cycling. What's more, the road isn't especially busy. The lane itself isn't where the cyclist died, which is a very different traffic situation.

For years the DCR has been horribly backward by prioritizing motor vehicles on its parkways. But credit where it is due, the picture here is a pretty nice lane. I am not sure outrage about flexposts is the best primary focus when there are so many other deficient DCR bike and ped facilities.

Because a buffered bike lane is about the width of a car, drivers love to pull into a buffered bike lane to stand or load. Uber and Lyft, taxis, kiss-and-ride, etc. Stanchions (thin white posts) would prevent that.

What you don't see is the other place where the human bike lane formed -- the northbound rightmost lane of Longwood Ave *across* the Muddy River. That stretch of road has 4 northbound lanes, a ~4' raised median, and 2 southbound lanes -- but no bike lane whatsoever.

Cyclists like to think stanchions (flex posts) do something to help protect them, but realize, they are just epoxied into the ground. The only effect they have on vehicles is the visual effect of 'an object I should avoid'. Just look at the flex posts they installed over in Chinatown. Virtually all of them are gone/have been hit. Even when they were there, I commonly see vehicles just pull into/around them to park along the curb.

If a car actually drives into the flex posts, at speed, pretty unlikely the posts would do anything but give you a noise cue that something is coming at you.

That aren't flex posts, which have been installed at other locations around Boston (i.e. Cambridge, if I'm not mistaken). I don't think anyone is under the impression that flex posts are going to be sufficient protection against a motorist who doesn't really give a care.

would serve two rolls here:

  1. by visually narrowing the path for cars, they would induce slower driving speeds.
  2. they would prevent Uber drop-offs from blocking the bike lane.

Both of those results mean a safer road for cyclists. You are correct that they cannot prevent a car from plowing in to the bike lane. Nevertheless, they are a good idea.

Sure, they aren't going to stop an out-of-control car, but neither is a completely separated lane. But what they will do is (a) decrease the odds of a hit -- a distracted driver will hit the post before the cyclist, and (b) give drivers a much much better visual indication that they should stay away from bike territory.

So yeah, they're not going to act like armor, but that's not the point.

This is the easiest and best time for redesigns that focus and prioritize human safety. Far easier to get this added to a project that's still in the works vs demanding an entirely new project to redesign an existing road that's not up for repair yet.

The price for this was quoted at ~$600,000 for ~1.5 miles. Thats, what, about 400k per mile?
Because it was tacked on as an afterthought when they realized there was going to be a repaving project, so this is called a way to "make use of the repaving project" .

This would have cost less if you built it to an advance-designed fully-realized shared use protected bike lane for the street environment.

Have you ever been to Denver, CO? There are literally hundreds of miles of bike paths that go 30 miles from the city center in all directions. They are constructed of 10-foot wide solid concrete, in a landscaped, wilderness path-only bridge-over-stream situation, and they cost $1 million per mile. Its the Mercedes Benz of bike paths, built from scratch, to last 100 years, and they are an absolute dream to ride and walk on. They've been building them for decades, and everybody loves them.

There's a very large minority of ignorant and change-resistant personalities in the Boston-area, and a disproportionate amount of those are in government and leadership positions, that are keeping things from moving forward in this city. You could think of them as the "townie" mindest, but I just pity them.


Cambridge's flex post bike lanes were perpetual black ice machines last winter. Weeks after general lanes and traditional bike lanes were clear and dry, the flex post buffer was still full of snow which melted and refroze every night.

And Cambridge puts way more money and attention into snow clearing than the DCR.

As a cyclist, I say no thanks.

Next time I choose to bike somewhere I’ll be sure to remember all the haters and keep them in my thoughts and prayers

Kuddos to everyone on both sides of this battle line: you've really out-stupided yourselves on this one!