Two cycle tracks

January 22, 2012

One is officially inbound to Cambridge, the other is officially outbound from Cambridge. The two tracks are on opposite sides of Concord Ave.

On one side, we have an almost completely unbroken cycle track adjacent to a sidewalk. There’s only one place on the whole stretch where a car might drive across it. Together they make a great wide flat space, and when it snows, it is plowed.


On the other side the cycle track is cut several times by cross streets and driveways, and sometimes it is level with the sidewalk, sometimes it is level with the street. It is not plowed.


And they could have plowed it, but just decided not to:


The plow didn’t fit on the sidewalk, so they plowed the cycle track here, but only as long as they were forced to.

I have to wonder, what they heck were they thinking when they built this second cycle track? Running bicycles across driveways and cross streets is a recipe for accidents, and after spending all the money to build this thing, they don’t even plow it (and when it’s not covered with snow, it’s often full of gravel and sand). Why waste the money? Why put those arrows on both sides to attempt to guilt cyclists into doing something unsafe? The inbound side is safe and attractive, why not just shift the whole road a few feet and put both directions over there?

4 Responses to “Two cycle tracks”

  1. MarkS Says:

    I don’t know why they wasted the time and money to put these tracks in in the first place. I find a bike lane much more convenient, and in some ways safer — clearly safer than that abomination on the north side of Concord Ave — the “outgoing” side. And, if ever we decide to re-design the situation, the expense of doing so will be significantly — and that’s an understatement — more than it would be to just re-paint the lines where the bike lane would have been.


  2. This was predictable. And this is only one of many problems. Please see this.


    • dr2chase Says:

      It was easy to predict your take on this — I know the effective song and dance (I learned it before the book was published), and the west-bound side is about the most ineffective botch I have ever seen. But the eastbound side is quite nice (with the exception of the scary-high curbs). One extremely-low-traffic intersection, no driveways, hence none of those risks, and so wide that (with current bike/ped traffic levels) there is little harm in riding the wrong way on the good side. Technically illegal, but vastly safer, and I cannot fault someone for making the safer choice.


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