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Boston’s First Bike Lanes a Hit With Drivers

1:51 PM EDT on September 8, 2008

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Last month, Boston moved toward shedding its rep as one of the country's least cycling-friendly cities by installing its first-ever bike lanes on city-controlled streets. According to the Boston Globe, the lanes -- on Commonwealth Avenue and American Legion Highway -- will be accompanied by some 250 bike racks around the city, and represent the first phase of what Mayor Thomas M. Menino sees as an eventual citywide bike network (though specifics remain unclear).

If these photos, sent to us by Boston University grad student Aaron Manders, are an indication, traffic enforcement and driver education are lagging behind the new physical infrastructure. Writes Manders:

Everyone was happy that Boston government is finally "embracing" bike culture, but there is still so much room for improvement.

Unfortunately, the first/only bike lanes in Boston are constantly blocked by idling and parked cars. There are two sections (one on the inbound, one on the outbound sides of Commonwealth Avenue) of the bike lane that hug the curb. The inbound portion is right next to Warren Towers, which are the largest dorms at Boston University. The outbound section of the lane where it hugs the curb is in front of BU's George Sherman Union. Since school started I have not ridden past either section of bike lane without at least one car or delivery truck blocking the way. Usually multiple cars block the lane ... even though there are clearly visible "No Parking Anytime" signs.

I guess it's tough for the police to do anything when they ride around campus on standup gas- or electric-powered tricycles.

The Globe reports that Boston bike coordinator Nicole Freedman says the city is also looking into the possibility of a bike-sharing program, with a potential launch date of 2010. Here's hoping that by then Boston will have figured out how to coordinate the missions of its transportation and police departments. Who knows, maybe it can even pass that know-how to its southern neighbor.

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