Cambridge has posted its preferred design proposal for Western Avenue.
Conceptual Design Selection booklet, October 2010. This NEW booklet details the current draft proposed conceptual design. Online/ download: http://www.box.net/shared/g4hl7zupht
Conceptual Design roll-plan. This shows the draft proposed conceptual design in plan form.
Online/ download: http://www.box.net/shared/9emm0tq29j
Neighborhood Walk this Thursday, Oct 28, 5:30pm, Andala Cafe, 286 Franklin Street
Community-wide Public Meeting, Wed Nov 3, 7:00pm (open house 6pm), Cambridge Senior Center, 806 Masssachusetts Avenue.
Cambridge continues with its plan to slow traffic by making streets narrower, and so more stressful and hazardous for motorists, while moving bicyclists onto glorified sidewalks where it is difficult or impossible for crossing and turning motorists to see them. The repeated invitations for right-turning motorists to turn across the path of through-traveling bicyclists in this proposal leave me breathless, especially where groups of pedestrians will wait on a bulbout, concealing through-traveling bicyclists. Also, the proposed cycle track will greatly encourage contraflow bicycle travel without making any reasonable or safe provision for it. If you have any doubt about the hazard of contraflow travel on a bicycle sidepath, here’s a link to a study which addresses it. There also will be the same issues of snow clearance as already occur on Vassar Street. It is predictable that bicycle-pedestrian collisions will be a problem, as they have been on Vassar Street.
The word “protected”, in traffic engineering used to mean, for example, a left-turn traffic signal phase where opposite-direction traffic had a red light.
Now in the Cambridge proposal it is being used to mean “motor traffic turns right across through bicycle traffic, with interrupted sight lines and no traffic signal.”
The word “protected” sure sounds good, if you don’t know that the treatment under discussion results in increased crash rates.
“Traffic calming” in very ancient times (50,-100 years ago) used to mean traffic-law enforcement. Despite the availability today of efficient tools such as license-plate cameras to record speeding and traffic-signal violations, Cambridge chooses a hardware solution — narrow lanes, which make for more stressful, difficult and dangerous driving conditions — to address the software problem of poor motorist behavior, and emphasizes the point by using bicyclists as obstacles.
Cambridge’s message to its motorists, delivered by creating an obstable course: drive real slow, and look back over your right shoulder when you turn right, or you might kill one of our highly valued and highly vulnerable bicyclists, and it’s all your fault if you do, because, you see, they are protected.”
Please don’t peg me as a naysayer. I made suggestions for alternative treatments in an earlier post, which led to a lively and welcome discussion.
Also see Paul Schimek’s post on this blog.
I hope to see good citizen participation at the public events.
Your comments on this post are welcome too.