Comments on Connect Historic Boston

I’ve posted extensive comments on the Connect Historic Boston project. I am concerned about: safety issues; increase in bicycle travel times and congestion of motor traffic; the project’s degrading rather than improving access to North Station; its being designed as if Boston were a tourist attraction rather than an urban center, while on the other hand it bypasses some of the most obvious tourist destinations in order instead to construct “cycle tracks” — barrier-separated bikeways behind curbs.

Let me make it clear: I approach infrastructure projects with an open mind. There are in fact some cycle tracks that I have said nice things about. These, however,  require a much more ample and careful design, and are a preferred and practical option only under a limited number of conditions. Two examples are on 9th Avenue in Manhattan, and on University Avenue in Madison, Wisconsin. For Concord Avenue in Cambridge, I expressed support for a separate bikeway — a two-way bikeway on the south side. The westbound bikeway which Cambridge constructed crosses 24 driveways and 8 streets into an industrial area in 3000 feet. The design goal is quite obviously to construct something which can be called a cycle track, rather than to build functional infrastructure.

The design of the Connect Historic Boston project is being rushed to completion. (Compare with the Longfellow Bridge project, one which will have equally large impacts and had a public process that went on for a couple of years). Input on the CHB project from advocacy groups occurred without public involvement for over a year, and since then there has been very little media coverage. There have been community meetings to sell the idea, where attendees have almost all been bicycling advocates who are not aware of the design issues. Most were recruited by the Boston Cyclists Union.

What was called a 25% design hearing lacked the detail which would allow a meaningful evaluation. There was nothing about signal timing, capacity, travel times etc., only a description of the proposed bikeways. One thing I’ve learned since attending the public hearing is that the level of service at Lowell Square is predicted to be F in the morning and evening rush hours. How are bicyclists supposed to get through on the very odd route proposed for them?

I have additional comments online, prepared following the public hearing.

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One Response to Comments on Connect Historic Boston

  1. Pingback: Boston Chief Civil Engineer’s reply to my comments on Connect Historic Boston | Street Smarts

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