New Bike Lanes on Cambridge Street Spur Mixed Reactions

Pictured%3A+The+protected+bike+lane+on+Cambridge+Street.
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New Bike Lanes on Cambridge Street Spur Mixed Reactions

Pictured: The protected bike lane on Cambridge Street.

Pictured: The protected bike lane on Cambridge Street.

Maeve Reilly

Pictured: The protected bike lane on Cambridge Street.

Maeve Reilly

Maeve Reilly

Pictured: The protected bike lane on Cambridge Street.

Shuvom Sadhuka, Contributing Writer

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Last fall, bicyclists all over Cambridge began expressing their concerns over bike safety after an accident near Porter Square left a cyclist fatally injured. In response to both the increased bicycle traffic and the lack of bicycle friendly roads around Cambridge, the City Council voted to establish separate bicycle lanes on many of Cambridge’s major throughways—Mass Ave., Cambridge St., and Brattle St., to name a few. The resolution came on the heels of another bicyclist protection measure implemented earlier in the year to reduce the speed limit on all city-owned streets to 25 miles per hour.

The city began implementing the lanes earlier in the summer, with new lanes being created on Brattle Street and Cambridge Street. A full plan is expected by October, with all the lanes possibly being finished by next spring.

The decision was met with mixed reactions, with some stores complaining that the lanes will decrease peak hour business. However, many of CRLS’ 200+ daily bikers celebrated the changes and articulated their newfound confidence in road safety.

“It’s a good change; my morning ride definitely feels safer, as I don’t have to be worrying about looking over my shoulder for oncoming traffic,” said senior Jeremy Klein. “Biking to school should be encouraged, and this step certainly does that.”

Maeve Reilly
Many CRLS students bike to school everyday.

Junior Max Katz-Christy concurred, noting that he “thought it was a good move, although a bit too late.”

He added, “You have one person sitting in a giant one ton machine capable of going a hundred miles an hour and another person pedaling at a maximum of 30 or so miles per hour. I don’t understand why cars are usually prioritized on the streets over bikes. If I had it my way, cars would be banned in Cambridge.”

Klein agreed that more safety mechanisms could be added in Cambridge, although he didn’t go so far as to suggest a ban on cars. “There are a few intersections in particular that need better bike crossings. … Where Mt. Auburn [St.] meets Fresh Pond Parkway is a great example. … That intersection is like five intersections in one.”

Nonetheless, some CRLS teachers, already plagued by commutes through heavy traffic, weren’t so eager to throw in their approval.

“It’s already dangerous and narrow on Cambridge Street,” said ceramics teacher Jon Baring-Gould, who bikes and drives to school.

“If the street were five feet wider, then it might work, but there are just too many people sharing the street.”

Concerns over narrow streets will inevitably escalate in winter, when the already narrow shared roads will grow skinnier from the snow banks piled on either side.

For now, drivers and riders will have to find some compromise and share the road for each other’s safety.

This piece also appears in our September print edition.