City Set to Improve CRLS Bike Routes to Danehy, Russell Fields

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Kate Wheatley

Cambridge funds new project designed to improve bike safety.

Hannah Erickson, Contributing Writer

By the end of 2022, Garden Street will be converted into a one-way route towards Harvard Square. This initiative is part of the city’s broader effort to increase safety for cyclists and improve environmental sustainability.

Garden Street, which connects Harvard Square with North and West Cambridge, is a key east-west route for vehicles and cyclists. It’s also a major corridor for CRLS students commuting to and from home and extracurriculars. Stephen Meuse, the project’s director, intended to make biking safer for students, telling the Register Forum, “We identified early on that this project could improve the biking connection between CRLS and sports facilities at Danehy Park and Russell Field, as well as access to and from school.”

The primary motivations for this project are safety and accessibility for people.”

 

Following the installation, Garden Street will have one-way protected bike lanes on either side of the street, as well as traffic signal modifications and shorter crosswalks intended to improve safety for pedestrians at crossings. Protected bike lanes, designed for reducing crash and injury risk to cyclists, are separated from vehicular traffic by street markings and flex posts. The addition will also eliminate the threat of “dooring” from parked cars, a constant fear for many CRLS bikers.

This renovation project is being implemented in accordance with the City Cycling Safety Ordinance, which promises over 26 miles of new bike lanes across Cambridge by 2026. The goal of this project is to meet the city’s aggressive climate change goals, as prioritizing the convenience of bikers over vehicles encourages Cantabridgians to employ environmentally sustainable ways to get around town. 

When asked, CRLS cyclists readily described to the Register Forum numerous near-misses from their daily bike routes on Garden Street. “I was biking down the street, and a car randomly opened their driver’s side door and nearly hit me,” says Chiara Tullius ’25, a student who rides Garden Street as part of her daily route. “I swerved but there were cars coming up the street, and I almost got hit by them as well.” Max Darrah ’24 also expressed frustration at the current street layout, saying, “When I’m biking on the street, I feel like I’m slowing down the car behind me or that they’ll run me over.”

The city made it clear that the primary motivations for this project are safety and accessibility for people, rather than their vehicles. “We do not prioritize eliminating delay for people driving alone,” the city’s transportation department wrote in slides shared at a public meeting in September. 

The community reaction has been positive. Joe Poirier, a member of the community group Cambridge Bike Safety, noted to the RF, “There have definitely been some people that are upset about needing to drive further to get to certain places, but most people seem excited.”

CRLS student bikers have also expressed enthusiasm for the upcoming improvements to their safety and comfort. Piper Ullmann ’24 told the RF, “Bike lanes in other parts of the city have helped me feel a lot safer while getting around, and I believe this project will encourage more people to bike around Cambridge.”

This piece also appears in our October 2022 print edition.