The wheels of bicycle accommodation roll very, very slowly in Massachusetts. If you just can't tolerate wondering what's next, try the 2006 version of Moving Together -- the jolly friendly conference for car/bike/ped administrators, engineers, scholars and advocates. It's October 18th in the (he he he) Theatre District.
We'll be there to catch the update on the state bike plan and hear what public promises MassHighway Commissioner Luisa Paiewonsky makes. This will be our third go at this cult gathering. While it open to us hoi polloi, it surely is the geekiest, most incestuous state conference. Most attendants seem to be highway contractors and bureaucrats, with a smattering of bike advocates.
Links to last year's coverage start here and continue at the bottom of that post.
In response to an inane rant about cyclists as scourge of the roads, the Boston Globe ran the stereotypical set of pro-bike/anti-bike/let's-be-nice letters.
Hidden at the bottom is a self-serving letter by the Boston Transportation Department Acting Commissioner Thomas J. Tinlin. He responds to criticism of poor biking conditions here by noting several trends. One is that the city is adding bike lanes when they reconstruct roads. So there.
He conveniently does not mention that this conforms to state requirements. The city is finally covering its butt to help keep road funds flowing.
In total though, that is good. Painting bike lanes is extraordinarily cheap by highway standards (about $5,000 a mile). While it takes a singularly egregious accident -- with multiple witnesses -- to get a city cop to ticket someone who runs down a cyclist, putting the lanes in place is an important minimum.
Bike paths that go to where people actually need to end up are bigger deals and more important. However, letting car drivers know that cyclists belong on the road can quickly be followed with bike lust as they sit in traffic and watch middle-aged folk roll past them, staying fit and traveling for just a few pennies per mile amortization. Suck that up, you insurance paying, gasoline gouged, lease yoked driver person!
Adult Bostonians are not going to get out of their cars and on their commuter bikes until:
- They see enough peers biking to work
- There are enough paths and lanes to make they believe they can survive commutes
- They have chums bragging about being trim and saving bucks -- peer pressure rules
We have our own modest proposal for clearing Boston's roadways -- full subsidy for mass transit. Search this blog for MBTA for related testimony and opinion.
Meanwhile, there's been no question that our mayor has been openly bike hostile. This may be changing and I'll be on the outlook for Boston officials at the conference. Not surprisingly, Brookline has some workshop leaders, but Beantown does not. They guys here know that Da Mare bikes not and likes bikes not.
Tags: massmarrier, Massachusetts, mass transit, bike lanes, bicycling, Moving Together