Saturday, January 29, 2011

The real story on Charlestown's bike lane removal

by Pete Stidman

The recent removal of the bike lane in Charlestown has been largely misunderstood and poorly reported in the biking blogosphere. A more accurate account has been published at Charlestown Patch, and I give some details on the situation on the ground below. But most importantly, I would like to ask my fellow cyclists to remain positive and to refrain from harassing Charlestown neighborhood activists or city employees. This is not helpful.
Charlestown is not anti-bike, and the city may have taken the right approach given the situation.
Let me introduce you to Tom Cunha, the dedicated chair of the Charlestown Neighborhood Council. I first met Tom at a meeting for the Rutherford Avenue/Sullivan Square reconstruction project where he expressed support for bike routes and a traffic-calming of the street to become a “boulevard” rather than a “highway.” He struck me as even keeled fellow who takes into account the needs of all the residents and businesspeople he represents—including cyclists.
“People think we’re anti-bike, we’re not anti-bike,” said Mr. Cunha in a phone conversation I had with him about the bike lanes today. “We just don’t want to create a tremendous parking situation for people on Main Street.”
What happened on Main Street was, after all, more about a miscommunication between the city and the neighborhood than any sentiment against cycling in Charlestown.
“Some of our businesses on Main Street have been closing because people couldn’t park,” said Cunha. And the neighborhood council had been discussing ideas for angled parking along the street to increase those parking opportunities.

Charlestown bicycle, photo by SignalPAD

more articles about Boston:


On Walkability, Density, and Transit Villages

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