[*BCM*] direct action idea for anyone avail 10/28 11 AM
trevay at massbike.org
Fri Oct 28 16:44:36 EDT 2005
On 10/28/2005 at 3:33 PM Lee Peters wrote:
>So I like your analogy, but to finish it you may need to include the
>neighborhood bully, who flunked manners & etiquette, weighs 3500 lbs, is
>drunk, sitting in the tree above, and ready to leap on top of you in a
>cannonball position. (the most beautiful dive there is).
Okay, let's include the bully -- whose cannonball would constitute felony assault and battery when applied to the road, because you're saying he's aiming for you.
Since when are criminal bullies deterred by a stripe of paint? I think you give old Benjamin Moore more credit than he deserves! Fact is, no-one has ever shown that a road becomes safe for cycling with an extra line down the gutter, even though many have tried to do this.
As for Huntington Avenue: this was involved in a battle that got fought a few years ago by some advocates, including Jeff Ferris of Ferris Wheels Bicycle Shop in JP. And I agree with you that it's an awful road, and joins a set of city-controlled awful roads that include:
* Columbus Avenue from Centre Street to Melnea Cass Boulevard,
* Hyde Park Avenue from Forest Hills to Kelly's Liquors in Hyde Park, and
* Centre Street in West Roxbury.
All of these roads have narrow lanes with on-street parking, and the only way to ride safely on them is for the cyclist to take the right lane by riding in or near the middle of the lane.
While that can subject the cyclist to aggressive behavior by ignorant, road-raging motorists who are unconstrained by the nearly non-existent traffic law enforcement in the city, there's a difference between being the subject of irrational anger, and actual physical danger. Basically, it sucks when the eejits howl and yell at you, but the motorist who howls and yells isn't likely to hit you because he sees you. It's the guy who doesn't see you that you really have to be careful of.
And as for the road-ragers, they're there even when there are bike lanes. They're also the problem. We should work on the problem by demanding better law enforcement and better motorist and bicyclist training. To hammer the already beaten-down point home, road-rage isn't fixed by a stripe of paint.
So what about these awful roads?
As mentioned, Mr. Ferris, et alia, tried to reduce the number of travel lanes to provide more width on Huntington, but he was ignored. In 1999, I tried to get the city to live up to its promise in the Lower Roxbury Transportation Study of 1996 - 1998 and restripe Columbus with a lane fewer on each side, but I was ignored. Paul Schimek and others tried to discourage the city from painting four narrow lanes and two very narrow parking lanes on Hyde Park Avenue, but he and his associates were ignored. And in 2002, The Boston Bicycle Advisory Committee urged the city to paint Centre Street in West Roxbury to be a three lane road -- two travel lanes and a central turning lane -- to allow the travel lanes to be wide enough to share. And we were ignored. The BBAC folded the following summer due to lack of support from its sponsor, the Boston Transportation Department.
So you are quite right, in my opinion, to gripe about the City of Boston's utter neglect of its bicyclist population. On that point, we're unified.
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