New Bike Lanes on Mass. Ave. = New Boston
Last week, I wrote about the T’s financial predicament and how its proposed fare hikes really are necessary. Some of you out there weren’t so happy with me: how could riders possibly be expected to pay more when service now is so unreliable? Fine, fine, so I wasn’t able to convince all of you with my cunning feats of logic. Today, I’ll try a different tact: Don’t take the T! Get a bike instead and ride!
After all, Boston is getting easier by the day to bike in. The latest case in point is the new stretch of bike lanes on Massachusetts Ave., from the Charles River down to Westland Ave. It’s pretty remarkable: about 70 parking spaces were cleared off of Mass. Ave. to make space for the new lanes. In Boston. This happened.
I have to admit a bias here, since Boston magazine World Headquarters sits on Mass. Ave. and Westland, and I bike that stretch — one of the most treacherous for bikers in the city — every day, but, my, is it luxurious. I feel at least 55 percent more confident of arriving to work unharmed now (that’s a scientific calculation).
The unseasonably warm weather provided an opening for the lanes to be painted in over the holidays, according to the city’s bike czar, Nicole Freedman. When the lanes were initially proposed last spring, some local businesses pushed back on the loss of parking spaces, but Freedman said she hasn’t heard any complaints yet.
“I think people understand this is the right thing to do,” she said. “Mass Ave. had the highest accident rate in the city. How do you compare the value of a parking space against a person’s life?”
Earlier this year, the city put in lanes between St. Botolph Street and Melnea Cass Boulevard. Next up, Freedman said, is connecting that to the Mass Ave. stretch and then extending beyond Melnea Cass. When Mayor Tom Menino launched the Hubway bike share program last summer, he declared, “The car is no longer king in Boston.” Clearly, he meant it.
Above, the intersection at Massachusetts Ave. and Newbury Street taken on my ride to work.