Posts about Cambridge
As American cities become more cycling friendly, bike lanes themselves are becoming more diverse. The toolbox of street design options available to planners is broadening to include new tricks and layouts. One such new bike facility is the "bike bay," which make left turns across traffic safer.
Bike bays, also sometimes called Copenhagen Lefts, combine the functions of a bike box, which provides a waiting zone for turning bikes, and a bike sneak, which directs cyclists onto a particular riding angle. The idea is to have cyclists who want to turn left exit off the main bike lane and onto a separate slip lane on their right, which then curves around 90 degrees and allows them to cross perpendicular to the original lane.
Another example of a bike bay can be found in Cambridge, Massachusetts, right outside Harvard University at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Church Street. There a median separates the northbound lanes from southbound, preventing cars from turning left. Rather than forcing left-turning cyclists to cross over 2 lanes of cars and rush to make a sharp turn at the curb cut, it's better to have them cross perpendicularly, with the crosswalk.
But since the crosswalk is at a major entry gate to Harvard, there's a lot of pedestrian traffic, making it desirable to separate bikes from both cars and pedestrians. Thus a bike bay, which gives cyclists their own space right next to the crosswalk.
So far there are no bike bays in the DC area, at least as far as I know. But it's one more potential tool to use at complicated intersections. With more bike lanes and more streetcars on the way, it's possible this may someday be a useful concept for our region.
Cross-posted at BeyondDC.
I stopped to eat in Harvard Square today on the way to my parents' from the Boston airport. Modern thinking on street design has made its impact on the Square. Bike lanes have erupted all over the place since 2000, and the small Palmer Street alley, which runs between the Harvard Coop's two buildings, has become a pedestrian-friendly, woonerf-like "shared space" where pedestrians mix with occasional traffic and loading trucks. Here's the old alley, and this is what it looks like today.
Not all is rosy for Harvard Square; sadly, the iconic Out of Town News is closing, a harbinger of imminent social collapse.
However, municipal parking is still too cheap. As Greater Greater Mom and I were driving into the Square for lunch, we tried to find parking at the municipal parking lot by the Harvard Square Hotel (price: $2 per hour). Unfortunately, it was full, and private garages charge closer to $20 for two hours. She recommended that if we couldn't find parking, we just ditch the Square and drive on home to eat. She didn't want to drive around for a long time looking for a space.
Fortunately, we found a curbside space (price: $1 per hour), but Cambridge is missing a big opportunity. Greater Greater Mom decided she'd have been willing to pay $4 per hour to be assured of a space to park. Cambridge could be making more money, and drawing in customers who don't want a big hassle to find parking, by charging that much for these municipal spaces. Instad, Cambridge is underpricing their public parking and curbside spaces, missing out on revenue and scaring away potential customers who'll dine elsewhere.
- Community stories show the shift to a walkable lifestyle
- Young kids try to assault me while biking
- Focus transportation on downtown or neighborhoods?
- Some are pushing to limit sidewalk cycling
- Metro bag searches aren't always optional
- Endless zoning update delay hurts homeowners
- Where is downtown Prince George's County?