While I’ve been known to avoid riding bikes in Boston largely due to safety concerns, it looks like I may be hopping on a Hubway sooner than expected.
According to an article from the Boston Herald, two-thirds of a mile stretch of the bustling Massachusetts Ave. will lose 71 parking spaces to make room for a brand new bike lane. The northbound side of Mass Ave. from Symphony Hall to the Charles River bridge, will be shut down by the end of 2011 and replaced by the new bike lane.
As Hubway stations continue to pop up across the Hub, the move to increase the city’s bike lanes falls right in line with Mayor Menino’s push to make Boston a more cyclist-friendly place. “The city has decided… the car is no longer king,” Nicole Freedman, a spokeswoman for Menino’s bike initiatives told the Herald. “Mass. Ave. had the highest rate of bicycling accidents in the city. How can you weigh a parking spot against a cyclist’s life?”
So far, Transportation Commissioner Tom Tinlin tells the Herald these 71 spots on Mass. Ave. are the only metered spaces in the city that have been cut for the sake of bike lanes. “It’s a small price to pay to create a healthier city,” he adds.
Businesses on Mass Ave., though, see it more as a matter of stifling their storefronts. With less parking spaces in front of their shops, business owners are arguing the new bike lanes will cripple their businesses. Bruce Sabo, owner of Fern Florist and Pita Mediterranean, both on Mass. Ave. told the Herald, “The businesses always come last. It’s crazy, it really is. We pay a lot of sales taxes and revenue taxes, we generate a lot of money, but the city doesn’t care about that.” Another business owner said, “It’s sending the wrong message.”
Um, we’re not so sure we agree with that. The bike lanes are completely necessary. For example, this Ride the City map from the City of Boston shows that Boston is seriously lacking in bike lanes. In order to encourage a greener city, the City of Boston must first put the proper infrastructure in place. Designated bike lanes would make me much more comfortable as a cyclist next to giant FedEx trucks, crazy taxis and other Massholes out there on the road.
What do you think about the elimination of parking spots for bike lanes? Let us know in the comments!
Images via Hubway