Friday, April 12, 2024

There has been a lot of discussion about the building of a protected bike lane on Massachusetts Avenue, with work scheduled to start soon from near the Arlington line to Dudley street. Save Mass Ave has received lots of support and also lots of questions about our stand on this issue. We want to make it clear that we do not oppose building a protected bike lane. Our goals from the beginning have not changed: We want to raise awareness of the Cycling Safety Ordinance being amended October 2020, during the pandemic, and how its implementation will affect residents, businesses and commuters. We strongly believe that all stakeholders of Massachusetts Avenue should have a chance to give input to the design.

There have been many postings on the topic, and they seem to focus on car vs. bike, bike vs. car. That is not the issue. All the businesses I’ve talked to value and appreciate their customers that come by bike. Residents want everyone to be safe. Most people realize that we must have roads that allow for greener travel. The world is changing, and we have to adjust. All the business and residents I’ve talked to are just asking to be part of the process, so we can have a better design. 

Mass Ave for All has come up with great ideas for constructing the bike lane, but it is being applied only to the group’s specific area of North Massachusetts Avenue from Everett Street to Dudley Street; we need to apply the same thoughtful ideas to the rest of Massachusetts Avenue from Alewife Parkway to Dudley Street. That group’s work proves a better design can be implemented. If the ordinance can be modified so all of Massachusetts Avenue between Alewife Brook Parkway and Everett Street were looked at as a cohesive whole, it would allow for prioritizing dangerous intersections and critical areas first. Flex posts and quick-build sections, where appropriate, can be installed quickly, but small areas with more-complicated design issues would have the approval to use construction as needed to find a solution. Options involving shared parking can also be used during the day for customers and businesses without infringing on residents’ ability to park at night.

People want to work together, and our petition has been cited and referred to by other sources. Any flyer we distribute has been clearly marked that it has been sent by Save Mass Ave. Our petition only asks for a chance to be heard. It states: “We are requesting the City Council to allow for meaningful engagement and planning with all stakeholders on Massachusetts Avenue, to develop a long-term plan that supports businesses, reduces traffic, protects bicyclists and pedestrians. The City Council should mitigate any negative economic impact to our small businesses and support our city.”

We want to make it clear that our goal at Save Mass Ave is to get a better design for the protected bike lane that will work for everybody.

Annette Oster for Save Mass Ave

Annette Oster is retail manager and lesson program coordinator at Guitar Stop