Winter ’07-8

Unfortunately, Issue #2 is temporarily out of service.

It will be available again soon for free download in revised form!

Contents Include:

Beware of Success by Jasmine Laietmark, Critical Mass or Critical Mess? by Nadav Carmel, Biking the Frozen Bean by Rob Cannata, Marshall “Major” Taylor: The Worcester Whirlwind by Mat Poirier, Downshift at Livable Streets by Pete Stidman, Bikes & Makeshift Fenders by Richard Wiley, Given the Opportunity, They Really Don’t Want to Hit Me by Jeffrey Ferris, and Coming Down From the Summit by Pete Stidman. Cover Photo by Mary Flatley and Design by Jacque*line Genetti.

* * * * *
Here’s a great report by Farhad Ibrahimi on the Boston Bikes Summit which took place in October of 2007:

1. The first session I attended was titled “State and Regional Bike
Plans.” The main subjects of discussion were the 2007 Massachusetts Bicycle Transportation Plan (a joint effort of the MA Executive Office of Transportation and a consulting firm called the Planners Collaborative), the Boston Region Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s 2006 Regional Bicycle Plan, and a sampling of the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) current and future bike-related activities.

You’re probably wondering how all these organizations work together,
and frankly so was I. Without getting too bogged down in the details, we can view these plans as menus from which new state projects can be ordered. And the head chef? The DCR, of course!

As one might expect from the words “state” and “regional,” the majority of our discussion focused on large-scale “off-road” projects (i.e. dedicated bike paths as opposed to “on-road” bike lanes). We were enticed with promises of a statewide network of well-designed and well-maintained bike paths, but there wasn’t much said about
about the local routes that get daily use from commuters such as myself.

It’s worth noting that the DCR does have jurisdiction over a handful of local on-road projects, such as bridges and roads that double as state routes. This fact–combined with an offhanded comment to the effect of, “we’re doing this for families and tourists, not for bike messengers”–did a lot to help my understanding of how complicated a
dance urban planning can be.

So when can we expect any of these off-road plans to come to fruition? It’s hard to say, but the two biggest obstacles are
funding (surprise) and community approval; bike paths appear to be much more contentious than I ever would have guessed.

So there you have it. There weren’t many easy answers, and there certainly weren’t any quick fixes, but there does seem to be a lot of potential for real improvement. Above all, though, I simply cannot stress enough how important it is for all of us (especially young people such as myself) to stay involved every step of the way. The Summit was very last minute, and a lot of people weren’t able to make it, but I’d absolutely love to see even more friendly faces the next
time around.

December 2007

Photo taken in Barcelona, Spain by Jasmine Laietmark, December 2007