Thursday, April 12, 2012

An Ominous Observation...

This does not bode well (or could bode very well depending)

I was riding into work today along Western Ave in Brighton(you can't see the bike lanes in Google) right by the Harvard campus.  A buffered parking protected bike lane was installed in late 2010 (click for article) on a small stretch of this road.  There has been a daily problem of cars parking too far over the buffer zone into the bike lane as well as on the leading and exiting buffer zones on either side, sometimes reducing the useful width of the lane by half (in extreme cases).  It was also frequently blocked by cab drivers and every once in awhile a semi (a major truck loading and distribution center is to the south of the road.)  Minor annoyances for what is otherwise a very nice stretch that feels much nicer than the surrounding sections.

I ride by this morning and crews had blocked off all spaces and looked like they were removing paint in the buffer zones.  I thought they might be repainting or clarifying the parking section a bit better.  I was not terribly concerned.

I ride back this evening and its all gone.  The buffer, the parking, the bollard/wands that designated the buffered zone.  All that remained was a super wide road and a meager 5 foot bike lane.

I then thought about the pending departure of Nicole Freedman, Director of Boston Bikes who has done so much for the city in the past few years, bike lanes and racks, bike sharing and bridges etc.  She has made Boston a better place in a short time.

I think of that and I hope it means some of the projects and innovative designs won't simply go away because she is not keeping an eye on things.  I hope that while this particular buffered lane needed some improvement, we don't start loosing bike lanes suddenly...paint is pretty easy to remove...  I hope that they will be redesigning this stretch with full protection on both sides (there is tones of room!) and that this is one small step in that process.  I am still not sure why there is on street parking here, seriously there is a HUGE Harvard lot on the north side and Genzyme has plenty of parking on the southeastern edge.  There is nothing else along this stretch to warrant street parking...Though it was always full (where did they go today, the parking area was closed all day, could it be the 18 people were able to find something else among the see of parking?)

The Cambridge redesign looks amazing, and MassDOT is working to include cycletracks on the bridges so it would be a real shame if we lost out on the Boston side.  Hopefully that will not happen.

Here is a video of the lane just installed in November of 2010.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Discussion on how I am a "fucking moron"

Ok I apologize for profanity in the post title but let me explain.  I suppose I should consider myself lucky in the first place.  I have not really had any problems bicycling around Boston/Cambridge except an almost dooring about a block from my apartment and the interaction today.  To set the stage:  I don't run red lights (sometimes yellow but rarely) I don't run over pedestrians, I don't travel at a high rate of speed, I have brakes and gears and I try not to act like an idiot, I am just going (or coming) from work leave me alone.

Apparently my interpretation of right-of-way laws must be out of date.  Apparently you are always suppose to yield to the man compensating for something by driving a large pickup truck and turning left at an intersection.  No matter what, you yield to the pickup driver.  I must have missed this in driver ed/bike training.  Needless to say I did not yield to the large truck who was trying to make a left turn at the intersection of Harvard and Brighton Ave..  I was going straight on with the green and he was turning across my path from the other direction.  I was clearly being uppity wanting  the right-of-way; clearly.

He stops and creeps forward, I slow down presuming he will be turning in front of me, no he does not.  He clearly sighs and waves me through, yelling out his window to my back as I clear the intersection that I am a "fucking moron."  My pathetic response "right-of-way buddy, come on" I am sure was lost in all the V-8 power rush rush I delayed him 6 seconds macho truck he was driving.

It is good practice to not play chicken with a pickup or a truck of any kind and usually a good idea to let them do their thing and hold back.  However, in this case I presumed there was a car moving straight that was to my left in the auto lane, I was not looking in my mirrors but I did hear a car back there.  I was not sure if he would yield or gun it across, which is why I slowed down.

Oh well, I was never in any danger we stopped maybe 30 feet from each other with a clear sight-line.  I guess I will continue to watch out for large pickups which are clearly at the top of the yielding hierarchy, meaning everybody and grandma better yield to them or else.

In other news I saw a pedestrian almost get creamed by a Mercedes driver moving way too fast in central square while the pedestrian was crossing in the cross walk.  The car came within a couple inches and the younger man in a suit smacked the trunk of the car a couple times before he continued on his way home (presumably).  The driver did stop for a minute or two but then proceeded on.  I am sure the driver was shaken up and likely not paying attention, but come on its central square.  If you think you can do anything but look at where you are biking/driving/walking you really have another thing coming because that is just asking for trouble.  The pedestrian did not have a helmet on, so clearly he was at fault.  (No earphones either, nor was he on the phone/texting!  Ok I take it back, clearly not a Cambridge pedestrian, must have been a foreigner)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

UK Canal Path Photos: Part 10

To see the other posts in this series Click Here or click on the label "Leeds-Liverpool Canal at the bottom of this post (or any other in the series).

This is part 10 of the series taken along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. Enjoy!

Google Maps Link
Another four locks and some cyclists taking a break.

Google Maps Link
The tour jumps quite a distance to this image most because there was really nothing terribly interesting that I decided to take a picture of.  Though overhead wires are not that exciting either really...

Google Maps Link
Just entering the more urbanized area of the town of Shipley, Saltaire is just on the other side.  The stone bridge on the left leads to the abandoned stone building you see without a roof.  I explored a little bit but there was not much to see unfortunately.

We are almost at Saltaire!  I will not regal you with pictures of my return since it was more of the same but I will mention some more about Saltaire once we arrive.

Until next time thanks for viewing.  If you would like larger copies of any of the pictures in this series please send me an email or add a comment and I will gladly provide.  All images are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License