Archive for the ‘bike lanes’ Tag

Added: Visual nudge to merge

A few licks of paint added last July direct drivers to merge as they enter Arlington westbound from Cambridge. Are they effective?

Two arrows and a dotted line point drivers left. The markings were added in late July and were not part of the original pan for the street.

Two arrows and a dotted line point drivers left. The markings were added in late July and were not part of the original pan for the street.

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The greening of the Mass. Ave. bike lanes

Mass. Ave. got some attention last week in the form of vivid green color in 2 bike lane locations.

There's no missing the bike lane on this busy eastbound approach to Lake St.

There’s no missing the bike lane on this busy eastbound approach to Lake St. The green was added last week.

Since this marking was not specified in the final plans for the project (correction: It was so), I think it was almost certainly added by the Town.

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Conspiracy Unmasked

Disgruntled critics of the Mass. Ave. project stoop, sometimes, to dark mutterings. They say that corruption, collusion, and conspiracy have foisted special-interest street design upon a hapless Arlington.

Greedy, sneaky man with suitcase full of money

Paul Hajj illustration

To be sure, transportation planning, like other disciplines, has developed an entrenched consensus about many things, based on law, habit, and experience.

However, corruption involves a betrayal of trust or responsibility, usually in return for money.

Other than vague handwaving about secret meetings, opponents have never bothered to show any such thing.

This despite having shopped their accusations to law enforcement in several venues.

I however have found the smoking gun. I can identify the date and place of the 1996 meeting that made a significant decision about bicycles.

And, I can name names, or at least one of them.

Follow the money with me to see the extent to which the conspiracy theories are true—and are not.
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Many stories in fire hose of Mass. Ave. public record

Here’s what one Grafton Street resident told the Massachusetts Department of Transportation about crossing Mass Ave.:

student_crosswalk_sign_2I would like to tell you a true story of crossing that street with my son when he was nine, and two other boys as I was taking them to the Hardy School in the morning.

I am an extremely safety conscious person and yet, at the other end, as we were approaching Sabatino’s, it just so happened that one of the three boys who was with me was hit by a car.
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Why four lanes don’t fit

Arlington Town Hall on Tuesday night. Not quite to capacity, but very full.

April 2011 hearing, nearly a full house

I’ve been mining the transcript of the 25% design hearing that MassDOT held at Town Hall in April 2011, looking for things we ought to remember as we head into yet another such hearing this February 26.

One exchange addresses the question of, in effect, why can’t we have four lanes? Here Richard Azzalina, the Town’s lead consulting engineer, begins with a very provocative statement (Transcript 72.3–75.11):

First of all, I just want to be clear, Mass. Ave. is not designated or is not striped as a four-lane facility. Okay? It’s a very wide one lane.

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From the horse’s mouth

There’s a scene in Anne Hall where Woody Allen, standing on line for a movie with Diane Keeton, is annoyed by a man holding forth on the meaning of a book by Marshall McLuhan.


The ensuing argument is only settled when McLuhan himself appears and tells the man, “You know nothing of my work…. How you got to teach a class in anything is totally amazing!”

Such authoritative rejoinders are rare, but there were several slow-motion examples captured in the transcript of the 25% design hearing held at Town Hall in April of 2011.

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Arlington Center to get conventional bike lanes, improvements

The plan calls for a new signalized crossing at Swan Place, bike lanes, and other improvements. Click drawing for larger view.

The Board of Selectmen last night approved a plan for the intersection of Route 60 and Mass. Ave. that features a new pedestrian crossing, bike lanes, and other tweaks to improve safety and traffic flow.

The Board also gave a preliminary go-ahead to a plan that would bring temporary art installations to Mass. Ave.

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Mass DOT takes comments

Advocates for and against the rebuilding of Mass. Ave. in East Arlington went into overdrive, and comments from the public went into overtime, at a sometimes-raucous project hearing at Town Hall on April 12.

Some 400 people came to the Department of Transportation hearing on the Town’s proposed design. 79 gave comments, and many more were turned away when the hearing adjourned at 10:40.

Arlington Town Hall on Tuesday night. Not quite to capacity, but very full.

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Wisdom from a bicycle advocate

He is a cyclists’s cyclist: published author on bicycle safety, expert witness in bicycle accident lawsuits, member of MassDOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, former member of the governing boards of MassBike and the League of American Bicyclists, former contributing editor at Bicycling magazine.

And many other things besides.

And in October of 2008, John Allen was at the very first public workshop that Arlington’s consultants held to redesign Mass. Ave.

Here’s what this two-wheeled Robespierre, this Lenin of the lanes, had to say about Mass. Ave. in 2008:

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Mass. Highway: Bigger bike lanes, scaled-back traffic signals

Foster St. signal (Source: Town of Arlington)

Wider bicycle lanes and changes to the Thorndike and Foster traffic signals are among the suggestions made to the Town this winter by state engineers at Mass. Highway.

The agency’s written comments to the Town’s proposed 25% plans for Mass. Ave. are generally supportive and include advice and many suggestions.

The Town’s response could include changes to its plans.

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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.

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When four lanes are two

Mass. Ave FDR

One of the most interesting bits in Arlington’s plan to rebuild Mass. Ave. is a discussion of how drivers actually behave today, and would be likely to behave under new road designs.

It turns out that you can’t just draw lines on asphalt, post signs, and expect people to do what you say.

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