Redesign foes OK with lane widths after all

Since the summer of 2009, opponents of the plan to rebuild Mass. Ave. have criticized the 11-foot travel lanes proposed by the Town as too narrow.

Eleven feet, they say in their leaflet, would be so narrow as to “increase the likelihood of accidents:” a serious charge.

Last week, however, the group’s principal spokesperson, Eric Berger, endorsed 11-foot lanes.

The group is the East Arlington Concerned Citizens Committee, which was founded in 2009 to fight the rebuild.

Berger himself spent much of last fall attacking the proposed parking lanes in the Town’s plans, also as too narrow and unsafe. Even 10-foot parking lanes, he said, would not be wide enough to protect cyclists from the doors of parked cars.

Such lanes “could be deadly,”  he warned.

Yet last week he proposed 8-foot parking lanes instead.

In a comment on this blog, Berger says,

The EACCC and I want to retain on the corridor the existing two 14-foot wide shared travel lanes, two 11-foot wide travel lanes, and two 8-foot wide parking lanes.

(“Existing?” Let’s leave that alone for now.)

This is the first time the CCC has committed to particular lane widths. Significantly, 8-14-11 is the same configuration critiqued by the Town in its Functional Design Report.

The Town found that 14-foot shared lanes did not work with 8-foot parking lanes; see here.

The group’s earlier criticisms that 11 feet were not enough for travel lanes, nor 10 feet for parking, could only have been satisfied by wider lanes that would not fit into Mass. Ave.’s 66-foot width (curb to curb).

11-foot parking plus 14-foot shared plus 12-foot travel would come to 37 feet for each side of the street—74 feet in all.

What are we to make of the CCC’s about-face on lane widths?

Ten-foot parking lanes are not especially “deadly,” but is is remarkable that the group should embrace 8-foot parking lanes (which are problematic) so soon after saying so much against 10-foot ones.

However, Berger’s willingness to go on the record with lane widths is welcome, especially given his group’s history of sweeping charges and vague claims.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously made the distinction between having one’s own opinion versus having one’s own facts.

The Town has documented real problems with the 8 -14 -11 configuration the CCC now supports, but at least the opposition has returned from its own set of facts to the 66 feet that are really at issue on Mass. Ave.

That is good news for both sides of this debate going forward.


3 comments so far

  1. Eric Berger on

    Your misinformation will come home to roost. It’s part of a pattern involving the Selectmen and FST. Stay tuned.

  2. Chad Gibson on

    Eric those are your statements on lane widths, no one has made them up. I think the documentation of your group’s opposition to everything even when it contradicts what you’ve already said is pretty clear for all to see. So it is more about opposition to any plan than your earlier “concern” for keeping bicyclists safe. Never mind that your plan does absolutely nothing to improve conditions for pedestrians, in stark contrast to the plan on the table.

  3. Eric Berger on

    Your misinformation is disgraceful. You’ve lost credability, Adam. You can’t even assume a public conscience. I can’t wait for the showdown at the hearing.
    Eric Berger

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