Centers And Squares
It was announced today that the Davis Square bike path will be heading to Boston. Currently scheduled to be extended to Lowell Street soon when construction ends at the Maxwell Green complex, the MBTA will be extending the bike path along the path of the planned Green Line extension.
When finished, the bike path will connect to paths along the Charles River, connecting 11 cities and towns over a 48 mile stretch. It’s an amazing prospect and sounds like the nicest commute possible into the city and beyond.
The announcement from the city of Somerville is well worth reading with interesting details about Somerville’s efforts that have landed it top rankings in bike-friendliness and walkability.
With my new listing at 31 Adams Street in Somerville, I’ve been looking more closely at plans for the Green Line extension. These are exciting prospects for Somerville, too long a very dense city with too few top notch transportation choices. Kudos to the city government and Mayor Curtatone for their extensive efforts to improve the city’s transportation options.
I was at BU a week ago or so for the Wordcamp conference and came across these bikes on Comm Ave. I had heard about the new rental bicyles but this was the firt time I’d stumbled across them.
With Boston University students home for the summer the Hubway station was full of rental bikes.
Hubway’s bike sharing program debuted in Boston last year. Here’s a great post about one bike rider’s experience with renting bicycles by BU and from other kiosks. From the sounds of it Hubway is very popular and the BU bikes are well used when classes are in session.
It took a flyer on a condo building bulletin board (note: if you’re looking for a condo to buy you should always read the bulletin board notices – you never know what you’ll find out about the condo association) for me to figure out that the new bike parking post outside our office is part of a city-wide project in Cambridge.
Hundreds of bike parking posts are being installed all over Cambridge. Actually the city calls them post-and-ring bicycle racks.
Bicycling is a popular mode of transportation in Cambridge and Somerville. Chances are good too that you’ll see some pretty funky bicycles around town.
Some of the more unusual bikes you’re likely to spot include:
- Recumbent bicyclists – cyclists ride close to the ground, on an elongated low bike – it’s sort of a cross between a bike and a recliner
- Bikes that are a mix of exercise equipment and bicycle – the pedals look like those big oar-like things – and the bicyclist stands up – there is no seat. It’s like a traveling elliptical machine according to someone who knows quite a bit more about gym equipment than I do
- Big wheel bikes – these are amazing – and a bit scary – to see since the riders are way high up with one enormous wheel and a much smaller one behind. The correct term for these – and it’s not uncommon (but always fun) to see them around Cambridge – is high wheel bicycles or high wheelers.
- And watch out for the bicylist we spotted the other day – his bike seat is a vintage plastic rocking horse
It feels like summer … well, maybe spring in Cambridge this weekend. It’s been a welcome reprieve from snow and cold temperatures for a couple of days. Funny how high 30s and low 40s can seem so warm.
Many Cambridge residents took advantage of the milder temperatures and finally started digging out cars encased in several feet of icy snow.
This bicyclist however has yet to get back on the road. Wise move probably – many streets still don’t have full lanes cleared yet making city bike riding even more treacherous than usual.
Maybe you noticed the TROMP banner outside Harvard Square and wondered what the heck is TROMP? I know I did when I spotted the button at right at Cambridge City Hall. Turns out it’s a new Cambridge transportation program.
TROMP stands for Travel Responsibility Outreach and Mentoring Project. It’s a collaboration of city departments, local organizations and citizens. The aim of the year-long project is to educate all who travel in and through Cambridge – by foot, by bike, and by car – about how to do so responsibly.
Getting around Cambridge can be a challenge. Jaywalking gets worse and worse, bicycles can be both a menace and a vulnerable target of careless or aggressive drivers, and when not stuck in traffic cars sometimes drive as though Cambridge’s streets are a raceway. Everybody’s got stories including my family – my dad was hit by a bike on the sidewalk, my mother knocked to the ground by a car in Porter Square.
Cambridge is always working on improving travel in the city. Traffic calming street modifications, marked bike lanes, newly modified crossing signals. TROMP hopes “to alter the culture of traffic in Cambridge Massachusetts” according to the group’s website (hint: click the letters on their homepage) through four phases – orientation, education, warning and enforcement. They’ll be meeting with community groups, talking to school kids, distributing flyers, and encouraging participation. Let’s hope they’re successful.
Here’s a video about TROMP:
Next Saturday’s bike tour – Literary Cambridge By Bike – offers the opportunity to indulge in two of my favorite things – exercise and literature. OK – one of my favorites.
But for those who want a chance to explore Cambridge by bike, the ten mile tour gives cyclists the chance to travel as a group through the city accompanied by Cambridge Police Bike Patrol officers. There will be several stops along the way for brief talks about Cambridge literary landmarks and free refreshments at the end.
The bike tour is sponsored by the Cambridge Bicycle Committee, a group the Cambridge City Council formed in 1991 to work to improve conditions for bicycling in Cambridge.
The Bicycle Committee has a reading list of books, mainly novels, that are set in Cambridge. Harvard figures prominently in many of them. Books on the list include:
- The Good Mother, by local author Sue Miller, set in Porter Square
- Linda Barnes’ series of detective novels feature private detective Carlotta Carlyle who calls Harvard Square home
- The Memorial Hall Murder one of Concord author Jane Langton’s books in her series featuring Detective Homer Kelly
- Matthew Pearl’s The Dante Club (one of my favorite books) in which Longfellow, Lowell and Holmes (Oliver Wendell not Sherlock) try to solve a series of 1865 murders
For the reading list and more information about this tour and previous tours see the bike tours of Cambridge website.
The Literary Cambridge by Bike tour will take place Saturday, May 16, 2009.
The starting point is the plaza between the main entrance to the High School and the construction site for the new Cambridge library between Broadway and Cambridge Street.
The program begins at 10:15 am and the tour starts at 10:30 am.
In case of inclement weather the rain date is May 17, 2009 at the same time, same place.
There is no charge for the tour.