Our friends over at Newton Streets and Sidewalks share some exciting news: Newton is taking its first baby steps to follow Boston’s lead on installing a bike lane on Beacon Street, from the Boston city line up to the stoplight at the top of the hill. This is only approx. 1/4 mile, but it is some of the busiest 1/4 mile on the entire street; more importantly, this sets a precedent and raises our expectations that the rest of Beacon street, with much low hanging fruit for bike accommodations along its 4.5 miles, will be next.
MARCH 28 11 am-2 pm BIKE NEWTON’s “NEWTON UNPLUGGED & CONNECTED” EVENT (all ages)
WAR MEMORIAL CIRCLE. We’ll help you get your bike ready for spring – lube, air, we might even help you degrease your chain. See bikenewton.org for more info.
The Bike Newton General Meeting and Smart Cycling Clinic on March 21 was a huge success! 50+ attendees discussed how to make Bike Newton a more Bicycle Friendly Community. There were Aldermen, City officials, the Bike & Pedestrian Task Force, the Bike Newton Steering Committee, Newton Police, members of Bike Newton, and interested citizens.
called the meeting to order,
and Bob Rooney, the City of Newton Chief Operating Officer
and John Siemiatkoski, President of the Board of Directors of MassBike and Board Member of the League of American Bicyclists
both addressed the group about the great potential for Newton as a bike-friendly community. Everyone divided into groups to discuss
and Evaluation and Planning.
Meanwhile, Steve Heinrichs of Bike Newton, a certified instructor for the League of American Bicyclists, led a dozen youth through their paces in a Smart Cycling workshop.
Group leaders reported back to everyone about the highlights of the group meetings. Alderman Ted Hess-Mahan put it well when he said his group, education, had the same chicken-egg problem as the rest of the groups: which comes first, education or bike lanes? There was a broad consensus among the breakout groups that instituting the Transportation Advisory Committee could get many bike-friendly projects moving.
Steve Miller of Livable Streets has gathered some remarkable data, all of which says: Biking makes economic sense.
According to one study (based on 2006 gas prices and a 10 mile round trip commute), a person who bikes to work for a year will save $1,825 in auto-related costs, reduce carbon emissions by 128 pounds, conserve 145 gallons of gasoline, avoid 5 hours of gridlock traffic, burn 90,000 calories, reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke by 50%, and enjoy 14% less claims on their health insurance.
…it doesn’t take much to attract more riders – a US study found that each additional mile of bicycle lane is associated with an approximate one-percent increase in the share of bike-to-work trips.
Subsidies for drivers amount to up to $3,000 per driver per year.
Not even including the cost of the land, it costs up to $5,000 to build a flat-surface paved parking spot and up to $50,000 for a single space in a decked garage.
Google Maps has finally rolled out the long-asked-for bike route function, with details about useful bike routes in 150 cities nationwide. You can take a look at your area by going to google maps and checking “bicycle” in the “more” menu. Here’s what Newton looks like:
Hmmm… a lot of those green lines pretty much end at the Newton border. Why? Because the map’s “only as good as the data it’s been fed”(Heinrichs 2010), and the makers of these maps consulted with leading bike advocates in major cities. Hence, the Boston Bike Map routes, which pretty much end at the Newton border, are included.
We intend to put Newton on this map! Starting April 1, you can sign up to help with the “Bike Routes/Trips Mapping project” at the upcoming Newton Serves on April 25, where teams will collect data on the number of cyclists using different routes all over town. These numbers will provide firm ground for proposing bike routes for google maps, for portable Bike Newton maps, and for influencing where routes are marked on real streets.
This spring is hopping!
Bike Newton general membership meeting, March 21.
Newton Serves mapping project, April 25
And watch for announcements about this year’s Rally and Ride!
Bike Newton, working hard all through the winter, has applied to the League of American Bicyclists to be designated a Bicycle Friendly Community. A Bicycle Friendly Community succeeds in fostering bicycling in five areas: Engineering, Encouragement, Education, Enforcement, Evaluation & Planning.
On Sunday, March 21 from 2:00 – 5:00pm, you have a chance to help shape how Newton moves forward in all five areas at the Bike Newton General Membership Meeting. Mayor Warren will be there, and so will at least 5 aldermen. Newton is really taking bikes seriously, folks! This meeting may be a formative one for policy in this new administration, and you could be part of it!
Location: Newton Cultural Center, 225 Nevada Street, Newtonville
There will also be refreshments, loads of information about biking in Newton, and a Smart Cycling Clinic for kids at 3pm (BYO bike and helmet).
RSVP for the meeting: bikenewton at gmail dot com
RSVP for the Smart Cycling Clinic: Steve Heinrichs, sheinr4143 at aol dot com
Hope to see you there!
I have quite a stable of vehicles in addition to the 10 year old Honda, so we can get everything done that a suburban family needs to get done.
And yet another, for errands, and for commuting when the weather’s above freezing:
And finally the “wagon” for trips with the offspring:
The best part is the cost for all these vehicles. The charliecard runs me just over $200 a year. The shoes were $69 about 10 years ago, and another $30 for a few re-solings. (Yes, it’s time for a new pair.) The bike was $100 used (craigslist), and the trailabike was $75 used (craigslist). I spent another $250 or so tuning and outfitting the bike for commuting. Another $200 for helmets, lights, reflectors, and the bright yellow bag.
With legs, shoes, a bike, and access to mass transit, I am my second car. Man, that feels good.
The Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP) has come out with an excellent report on parking policies across the US. Parking minimums have created nightmarish car-centric landscapes out of many of our suburban areas. Newton has been spared the worst of excesses, but could improve. A lot. Let’s try to redesign Newton with the idea that parking should be part of a transportation strategy that helps more people arrive at and use our downtown areas. Here are the report’s recommendations (if you want the whole report as a .pdf, click on “report,” above):
1. Eliminate minimum parking requirements and encourage developers to ‘unbundle’ parking.
2. Coordinate on- and off-street parking management and charging.
3. Charge a price for on-street parking to ensure performance standards, including occupancy rates, are met.
4. Create parking benefit districts where the revenue is returned to the community.
5. Use parking technologies that offer customers and policy makers the maximum flexibility.
6. Reclaim street space from car parking for other needed public uses such as bike sharing, cycling lanes, widened sidewalks or shared spaces.
7. Design parking facilities that are well integrated with surrounding buildings and walking environments.
8. Incorporate parking policies into metropolitan transportation plans.
9. Include innovative parking management in statewide livability initiatives, congestion management, air pollution control strategies, climate action plans and innovative financing programs.
10. Promote parking and commuter programs that expand travel choices for employees and customers.