The Boston Green Belt Bikeway ride, 1971

Dr. Paul Dudley White’s Committee for Safe Bicycling promoted bikeways in the Boston area in the 1960s and 1970s, and was instrumental in the designation of the paths along the Charles River which bear Dr. White’s name.

The Committee for Safe Bicycling planned a ride in the summer of 1971 along newly designated bikeways. The ride was described in meeting notes of April 14, 1971, and occurred on June 26, 1971, as described in the document below. (You may click on the image to see a larger version. It is also available as a PDF.)

Report on Committee for Bicycle Safety ride of June 26, 1971

Report on Committee for Bicycle Safety ride of June 26, 1971

The document describes the bikeway at that time as

little more than a series of signs which attempt to incorporate old bridal (sic) paths, walkways and roadways, into a rather disjointed bikeway…However, the major improvement offered by the Greenbelt is a series of ramps down Commonwealth Avenue, which makes it possible to ride the mall without getting off your bicycle.

The ride also served to promote further work:

But the chief success of the day was the obtaining of 350 signatures on our petition to the M.D.C. asking for an improved, continuous pathway along the Charles River. The signatures will be delivered to Commissioner Sears.

The pathway along the Charles River was designated and has been improved and extended over the years, as paths in the Fenway and the Jamaicaway corridor also have been. The pathway in the median of Commonwealth Avenue, on the other hand, saw very little use and was not maintained. The issues with it were those with any median bikeway: no access to mid-block trip endpoints, and that street crossings are unsafe because there is cross traffic at every signal phase.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *