Re: Should Mass. Avenue in Arlington be reduced to make way for sidewalks, bike lanes and pedestrian crossings?
posted at 3/9/2013 11:34 PM EST
In response to ddsuburbs' comment:
The town currently envisions a $6.8 million project to reconfigure Massachusetts Avenue along a mile-long stretch in East Arlington. The busy thoroughfare now has two travel lanes for cars and trucks in each direction. Arlington officials have proposed reducing the number of vehicle lanes, mostly on the westbound side of the avenue, in order to install bicycle lanes on each side of the roadway. The project will also include sidewalk and pedestrian-crossing improvements. The East Arlington Concerned Citizens Committee collected more than 3,000 signatures to get a nonbinding question on the town election ballot April 6. The measure asks residents whether they think Massachusetts Avenue should have four lanes as it does now.
This question is worded irresponsibly, with an anti-project bias. The organization that collected these signatures is supported by money from the Big Oil and Big Auto industries, via the lobbyists that they pay. See this post regarding the ludicrous letter sent to the MassDOT from one such firm:
Call the company that sent this letter - ask who funds them. Then ask 10 more questions.
After years of getting this project through regulatory hurdles, and the vast majority of the money being offered as a one-time, now-or-never federal grant, a few paid "plants" who do not think of the greater good are attempting to sow fear and anger into people. These tactics are transparent, and the proponents unrepentant. I consider any online comments against this project to be bought and paid for by disgusting immoral men looking only to sow grief and fear in order to hoard the last of the resources, and therefore enormous profits, into the infinite and un-quenchable depths of personal greed. Or else they aren't interested in anything other than their own bellybutton.
This plan is an upgrade to the beat-up old street, and will make the well-used corridor safer for every single mode of transportation used thereon. A continuation of the bike lanes from Cambridge into Arlington makes perfect sense to allow easy access to Porter and Harvard Squares. The Minutman Bike Path is almost perpendicular to Mass Ave in terms of final destination. One doesn't take the Minuteman to get to Porter or Harvard from Arlington, because it goes to Alewife, where it then connects more easily to Belmont and Fresh Pond. The reality is that Mass Ave. in Arlington is used just like the tri-mode (walk, bike, car) alignment is used as built on Mass Ave. in Cambridge. Its just because there is an imaginary town line on the street that there's not a bike lane and better asphalt on there now. In other words, if this was thought of when Cambridge was adding bike lanes, and was considered part of a "Federal Highway Rt. 3" project, we'd already have an excellently functioning tri-mode design built in Arlington by now.
I have just moved to Capitol Square in Arlington after living in W. Somverville and N. Cambridge for the past 15 years without a car, and biking everywhere with a helmet. I have personally noticed the ludicrous speed of traffic on and very poor quality of the Mass Ave. road surface in Arlington, and both will be solved with this plan. In fact, I think there's enough space to fit 2 bike lanes and 4 traffic lanes, but that will absolutely not make the area safer for people other than those encased in giant metal boxes. It is an absolute FACT, bourne of 4 in-person, on-location surveys of traffic, that there is not as much traffic heading out of Cambridge as there is heading in, even at pm rush hour. I can also say, from my own first-hand knowledge of every day of the week and at all times of day, that it is true. The new plan will make turning into side streets easier, and make crossing the street safer for walkers, by slowing traffic down. Alot of the complaints from drivers are baseless and selfish. Cars have the least right-of-way BY LAW, and must yield to bikes and Pedestrians BY LAW. Drivers need to SLOW DOWN in densely populated areas for everyone's safety, including their own. Bikes are everywhere, and IT IS UP TO EACH AND EVERY INDIVIDUAL DRIVER to watch out and act safe when near a bike. DRIVERS HAVE THE MOST OPPORTUNITY TO CAUSE INJURY AND DEATH TO A WALKER OR BIKER. Vice-versa? that's a big "no-contest".
So anyone who is against this progress toward the future, who is against this improvement in the quality of life of everyone who passes through the area and who lives in the area, who is against the acceptance of something they can't control, and anyone who is against it because you just instinctually want to hate..... well, you are not a valid member of a productive dialog and positive societal outlook.
It is you, who should come to the area to see how great it is, and how much greater it can be, with these wonderful improvements. See a brand new movie in 3D with real butter on your popcorn and a glass of beer or wine with no lines and short money at the Capitol Theater & Ice Cream Parlour! Have an elegant dinner at Flora or Olivio before your movie, or for a celebration. Grab incredible pastries, breads, and frosted items at Quebrada Bakery. The best coffee in Boston is at Barismo. Choose from 4 completely different types of asian cooking, including Hot Pot! Bring your kids to one of the 3 totally different arts & crafts studios. Or the kids-related Fox public library branch. Have 3 totally different kinds of Pizza! Get your hair cut or nails done at 6 different places. Do more stuff I don't even know about.
This place is a great place to live, and will ony get better with this project. Then it will be even better when you come visit!
Here are some photo-realistic views that simulate the new alignment:
Its perfect, its better, and its the future.