Build More Bike Trails (Now!)

bike laneBoston needs more bike trails. (Photo via Thinkstock).

Over the weekend, Peter DeMarco had a nice article in the Globe Magazine about the future of bicycling in Boston. He touches on the city’s recent accomplishments, like the painting of 50 miles of bike lanes, the success of Hubway, and overall change in Boston’s bike culture:

… Greater Boston has the makings of a great cycling center: It’s relatively flat; lots of people live within a few miles of where they work and shop or a subway station; and our weather isn’t all that bad for cycling, particularly when compared with the scorching heat Tucson, Arizona, cyclists face or the bitter winters Montreal or Copenhagen bikers endure.

Exactly. But, as DeMarco points out, our bicycling network is plagued by major holes that prevent bikers from easily navigating the city: Jamaica Pond is disconnected from Arnold Arboretum and Forest Hills; the Somerville Community Path abruptly stops; and proposed pedestrian and bicycling underpasses along Memorial Drive still lack funding. With the help of bicycling advocates, he put together a nice map showing what a Boston bicycling network could look like. (The answer: amazing.)

Now, building off-street bike trails isn’t easy. There are loads of stakeholders: the city, the state, homeowners, and commercial property owners, not to mention the drivers who grumble every time they lose an inch of roadway. But if we want Boston to be the type of city where people bike to the office, swing by the grocery store on the way home, and two-wheel it to restaurants on the weekends, we need to make the city easily navigable for everyone. Let’s get out the shovels.