Alternatives urged for Beacon St. ‘cycletrak’

On November 28, 2012, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

By Jim Clark

During the Somerville Board of Alderman meeting of November 20, a resolution was put forward that the City of Somerville’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development consider alternative plans to deal with the public safety and traffic concerns of pedestrians, business owners, residents and cyclists regarding the Beacon Street reconstruction project, specific to the proposed “cycletrak” installation detailed at the November 13, 2012 community meeting.

Speaking on behalf of the resolution, Ward Two Alderman Maryann M. Heuston said at the BOA meeting, “Everyone wants to see bicycle safety in the city. No one would argue with that. We need to make our streets safer for our cyclists. On the other hand, the residents and business owners of Beacon Street do have a legitimate concern. A good chunk of parking is being removed.”

The currently proposed “cycletrak” would eliminate some 111 parking spaces that residents and merchants maintain are needed in the area.

The resolution, sponsored by Aldermen Connolly, Heuston, Taylor, White, Sullivan, and Desmond, was adopted by the Board without opposition.

 

48 Responses to “Alternatives urged for Beacon St. ‘cycletrak’”

  1. Charlie says:

    “The currently proposed “cycletrak” would eliminate some 111 parking spaces that residents and merchants maintain are needed in the area.”

    This is a little misleading. Approximately 60 of these parking spaces will be eliminated regardless of whether there is a cycle track or not: 40 or so will be eliminated in order to create a sidewalk where there currently is none in front of the Academy of Arts and Sciences; 20 or so are “illegal” spaces that are too close to intersections or crosswalks that will be eliminated.

  2. Brian says:

    But those 40 parking spots might as well not exist, anyway. They’re metered spots. No residents park there, anyway, unless they want to spend their lives going outside with quarters. When the study suggested that Beacon Street parking was only 41 percent occupied — or whatever it was — they included those effectively nonexistent parking spots as part of the 59 percent vacancy. That skews the data significantly.

  3. Sam says:

    Misleading? Charlie, aren’t you the guy who was spouted: “The City did the best they could with the money and resources they had available to do their parking study. They tried to get as complete data as possible by measuring parking utilization during the day, at night, and overnight, as well as when colleges are still in session vs when they are not. Getting perfect data is nearly impossible but I do think what they were able to collect is accurate and useful.” The entire parking study was more or less invalid because it gerrymandered statics, didn’t take into account snow emergencies or street cleaning, lied about colleges being in session, didn’t actually do a count after 8pm, and made a slew of false assumptions about parking usage among residents and patrons? Glass houses, Charlie…glass houses. I’m honestly beginning to believe that the only reason you’re pushing so hard for the cycletrack is to get a big win for Liveable Streets and your own resume. You’re not even listening to people who actually bike on Beacon and live on Beacon Street other than Alex Epstein [who seems to be more concerned about his own commute rather than the needs of the Business and property owners who have invested their lives here…correct me if I’m wrong on this but that’s how he came off at the meeting]. There are several reasonable alternatives for improving bike safety on the street that don’t involve such drastic parking eliminations that will hurt merchants and residents. Heck, I’m in favor of getting rid of some parking spaces so Beacon Street has actual turning lanes at Park and Washington (where most of the accidents are…cycling and car) which will make it much safer for everyone! Or how about putting bike rack corrals 15ft in front of the intersections so people can have better visibility for turning and a place to lock up bikes without cluttering the sidewalks? These are the kind of alternatives that accommodate everyone without screwing over businesses and residents, but you’re so overzealous about the cycletrack being the only way to go that you’re not even considering them.

  4. j. connelly says:

    Sam… “so Beacon Street has actual turning lanes at Park and Washington (where most of the accidents are…cycling and car) which will make it much safer for everyone! Or how about putting bike rack corrals 15ft in front of the intersections so people can have better visibility for turning and a place to lock up bikes without cluttering the sidewalks?”

    Excellent ideas, great safety point too. Let’s remove Epstein and put Sam in charge. Sam has what Epstein lacks…common sense & fairness.

  5. Harry says:

    I still don’t get why the push to prioritize bicycles over cars in a city that is densely crowded, has poorly designed roadways that weren’t built with bicyclists in mind way back when and prone to hard & long winters. IF you have no car and rely 100% on bicycling then there will be days you ain’t leaving your house. You know rainy, snowy days where jumping on a bicycle isn’t too bright.

    All this is about is another special interest group with a disproportionate amount of say/power over our corrupt, stupid mayor/aldermen. The majority of people in this city DO NOT use bicycles as their primary mode of transportation. Maybe 1% do — the rest of (99%ers!!!) don’t, but we have to foot the bill for the loud, whiney crowd.

    I have an idea – instead of wasting money with studies and taking out parking spaces how about reducing the property taxes??

  6. Akpelo says:

    I hope the city has the courage to do the cycle tracks– That said it would be best to switch the side of the street that the tracks are on so that the side of the tracks with the least amount of total parking keeps it’s parking– this would be the other side from Star Market.

  7. A. Moore says:

    Harry, 3.85% of Somerville residents are bikers. So it makes no sense to spend that kind of money for so few.

  8. Jeff says:

    “.. poorly designed roadways that weren’t built with bicyclists in mind way back when.. ”

    They were likely built with horse and buggie and bicycles in mind. Most Somerville roads were in place long before the automobile took over.

    Look up the “Good Roads” movement – roads were initially paved for bicycles.

  9. Boston Kae says:

    “I hope the city has the courage to do the cycle tracks”

    I don’t consider that being courageous; I think it’s regressive and a waste of money.

  10. Boston Kate says:

    “the automobile took over”

    Exactly – the automobile too over, and it, along with public transportation, is still the preferred mode of transportation, by the majority.

  11. Boston Kate says:

    “the automobile took over”

    I don’t call wasting money and catering to a very small group courageous.

  12. j. connelly says:

    In this tough fiscal economy there are way more important uses for limited funds than cycle tracks. Millions have already been spent on bike paths.Those who do not understand that are in another world.

    Public safety, education, are among some of the important items that should be the priority with the limited funding available. Cycle people should be pushing for private funding by corporate sponsors or giving up their weekends to take time in building the track with their own labor if it is their priority. There is no time or space available for the “I”… “ME”…”MYSELF” generation when we are headed for another recession.

  13. Domenic says:

    This is a deeply flawed piece of urban design. While everyone is in favor of safer streets for pedestrians, cyclists and cars, this plan will not achieve that goal. As currently drafted this plan will:

    1. force disabled individuals to cross Beacon St. to get to their homes or businesses on the even-numbered side of the street where the parking is being eliminated. As we all know, traffic on Beacon St. can move very fast and there can be a lot of it. Adding to the danger is the fact that the disabled will have to cross the cycle track when they manage to make it across the street. Is this really how the City of Somerville shows its concern for its disabled citizens? All of the foregoing is equally applicable to the elderly, of whom we have quite a few on Beacon Street.

    2. force dry goods delivery trucks to park across the street and move goods across on two-wheelers. With available parking reduced, they will be lucky to find a parking space at all and will most likely double park – or park in the cycle track – to make their delivery. Nothing about that scenario sounds remotely safe. How long before one of those delivery people is hit by a fast-moving car on Beacon Street at dusk?

    3. prevent oil delivery trucks from parking on the side of the street closest to their delivery points. Are they supposed to park across the street and run a hose full of home heating oil across Beacon Street?

    The list goes on. But rather amazingly, the Planning Department seems very short of answers to these questions. Perhaps most conspicuously, as for snow removal-related questions, the City has drafted a plan more suitable to Somerville, Florida than Somerville, MA. Beacon St. is sandwiched between a railroad track and Cambridge – there is no viable parking alternative available to residents of Beacon St., particularly during snow storms, whether declared emergencies or not.

    This plan obviously needs to be re-designed to better address the needs of pedestrians, the disabled, the elderly, cyclists and automobiles. Send this plan back to the drawing board.

  14. MarketMan says:

    A. Moore: The 3.85% that you mention (I don’t know if that’s the correct number) are the brave ones that are biking with little supporting infrastructure. If you build more bike infrastructure, there will be many more bikers. The city should not be building only for is in active use, they should build for what people want/need to use.

  15. Sergio Reyes says:

    I am a Beacon Street resident and don’t appreciate the street parking ellimination. As it is now is a hasle with street sweeping Tuesdays on the odd side and Thursdays on the even side. Then when there is snow emergencies, the even side must be vacated. No business except the Star market has its own parking. The two hour parking seems to work fine for non-residents who conduct business in the area. In the end what is a stake is a large amount of money coming from the feds. The city wants to do something “different” to impress the feds and in passing benefit contractors and subcontractors. Why didn’t the do the same in Somerville Ave?

  16. Domenic says:

    The City and cycle activists frequently cite safety as a need to implement this misguided plan. To hear them, Beacon Street is The Highway of Death. I do not know where the city and the cycle activists get their accident statistics, but a report by the Somerville Police Department covering accidents on Beacon Street for the 28 months ending April 2012 lists 36 accidents involving cycles over that 28 month period. Of those, over 60% occurred at intersections. Of the remaining dozen or so accidents, the majority by far took place much closer to Inman Square. So why are we putting two 7′ cycle tracks at the opposite end of the street where relatively few accidents appear to take place?

    When you start to peel the layers back on this project, the rationale gets weaker and weaker. Skewed parking study, unreliable alarmist cycle accident statistics, no answers to obvious practical questions around snow and trash removal parking restrictions, no apparent concern for the economic damage to local small businesses, creation of unsafe conditions for the elderly and disabled ….

    Yet in spite of vocal and strenuous opposition from its own citizens, the City continues in its efforts to foist this plan on its own residents and businesses. Not a word from the city that it is even considering modification of their design. (In fact, after listening to two jours of objections from Beacon Street residents and business at a Nov. 13th design review meeting, the Planning Director for the City of Somerville reiterated three times in her closing remarks that “the current design remains the one favored by the City.” Difficult not to conclude from that that all those objections went in one ear of the City and out the other. )

    Why? That’s a pretty fair question at this point. I would certainly like to hear an answer from the City of Somerville. But given their demonstrated lack of transparency on this project – try getting any real answers out of the Planning Dept. – I doubt any answer will be forthcoming. If this is representative governance, whose interests are being represented with this flawed and highly project?

  17. MarketMan says:

    Boston Kate: One of the reasons the automobile took over was because of car companies paying lobbyists to push for policies that went against public transit. Somerville is an example. So is LA. Once you have cities and towns that are car dependent, then of course most people want to use a car. Public transit in those environments are inconvenient. In cities where there is good public transit, most people probably prefer to use public transit over cars. ie, The preference depends on what infrastructure is available.

  18. A. Moore says:

    Market Man, should not have quoted using my mind. 3.97%.
    http://www.governing.com/blogs/by-the-numbers/bike-to-work-map-us-cities-census-data.html

    I have no problem with what you are saying, but there really is no room and money is a major problem. There are oly so many people that can bike. Not all of us are able bodied enough to do so or brave enough on streets where there is not enough room for everyone creating a dangerous situation. Bike track is fine if building a new development with room in mind for everything. Streets are too narrow here. I personally would love bike tracks all over the city so I can bike here but the reality is it won’t work or fit. Square peg in a round hole theory.

  19. Harry says:

    Marketman, are you damp? WTF do people do when they work 30 miles or > from their house? Good lord, not everyone sits around in their birkenstocks and just bikes to whole foods. Some of us have to work and that work means we travel (drive!!!). No sane person prefers public transit – public transit gets used in cities where its’ the only game in town because driving is too inconvenient or expensive (think NYC).

    Bicycling is a means of trasnportation for the stupid and selfish amongst us who think the world revolves around them and cars can magically stop on a dime and see them when they’re wearing dark clothes. Newsflash: we can’t see you and if we road pizza you then tough luck for you all.

  20. A Moore says:

    Domenic, this what has burned me for years. They are our employees, they are supposed to do what we want, not what they want. In spite of what the majority of the people want they will do what they say is best for us. Like we are stupid. All one needs to do in this case is use some common sense. I used to live in that area for many years, I know the street well. One just has to look at the size of the street to know we don’t need to spend a ton of money for something that is not feasable and hurts all the people and businesess in the area for something that is really not a problem to start with. Simple resurfacing of the road will suffice. We have many other problems in the city that needs attention plus we have a ton of debt that needs to be paid down than to spend on frivolous things that do nothing but create a hardship on the neigborhood.

  21. Eric says:

    Harry,

    People working 30+ miles from home is part of the problem these plans are intended to solve. The cycletrak is not mainly about safety, but about making Somerville a more pleasant city to bike in. The hope is that this will attract new, forward-thinking businesses and residents to the city who seek it out because it has something that neighboring towns do not.

    Yes, it’s true that only a tiny percentage of people currently bike. But if you ask around an urban workplace you quickly find that there are a great many more people who *would* bike if they felt safe doing so. That’s where the cycletraks come in.

    The trouble with many of the counterarguments is that they mainly favor the needs of one group (drivers) over just about everything else. Somerville, and many other forward-thinking cities, are currently looking for ways to encourage people to use cars less. It is all but inevitable that this is going to require some sacrifice on the part of drivers, but it is for the greater good.

    And you should really try biking to get around some time before you knock it. I think you’d find it more appealing than you realize. Especially the part about never having to look for a parking space again.

    And A Moore,
    We have some of the largest roads in the world here in the United States, and Beacon street is one of the larger ones in MA. Way larger than it needs to be for the average driving speed according to Massachusetts regulations. There’s definitely room enough for a few bicycles. And the free parking is nice for those who use it, obviously, but it is provided to the residents at great expense to the city, in terms of usable land. Why should the city spend all of this capital to accommodate the storage of massive pieces of private property? It is much more economically efficient to use it for transportation instead.

  22. Ray Spitzer says:

    “Like we are stupid”

    But the masses ARE stupid, on average. Bu definition, they have an average IQ of 100.

  23. Domenic says:

    A Moore: “One just has to look at the size of the street to know we don’t need to spend a ton of money for something that is not feasable and hurts all the people and businesess in the area for something that is really not a problem to start with.” Thank you; I have been trying to sum this whole mess up for a while now and haven’t come up with anything that says it better than you did right there.

    The City repeatedly says that it is balancing the interests and needs of a number of constituencies in the design of this project. By constituencies they mean cars, cyclists, residents, businesses and pedestrians. I have asked the Planning Dept., in writing, twice to tell me what weight is given to the interests and needs of each constituency in the design process, or are all weighted equally? I have yet to receive an answer. And I doubt I will since the city is clearly discounting the interests and needs of the people who spend seven days a week living and working in Somerville, investing life savings in small businesses, and paying real estate and excise taxes to Somerville in favor of people who spend 10 minutes a day riding through Somerville on their bikes. That’s really what this all boils down to. And to insult us by ginning up a bunch of massaged data as the rationale for doing this to the neighborhood is disgraceful. (It kind of feels like the lead-up to the Iraq war: lots of skewed data, cherry picked information, smoke and mirrors, with a very suspect political motivation.)

    Enough. The City has been presented with a petition signed by 780 residents, business owners, and business patrons opposing the elimination of parking, and the City heard a loud chorus of opposition from the Beacon Street neighborhood at a design review meeting on Nov. 13th. How high does the decibel level have to get to make the City of Somerville listen to its own citizens?

    Redesign the project. Make it safe for cycles and keep the parking. If the Planning Depart and its consultants can’t do that, get someone who can. This divisive, ham-fisted, all-or-nothing plan needs to be scrapped.

  24. Domenic says:

    PS: Decibel level: The Board of Aldermen approved a formal Resolution to request a redesign of the current plan on Nov. 20th. (The Board of Aldermen has no voting power over this project, so a Resolution is pretty much the strongest measure they can take in this matter.)

    At least someone in city government in Somerville is listening to the citizens of Somerville and functioning in a representative capacity. The Board could have easily sat this one out, but didn’t and for that many of us are thankful.

  25. Scott says:

    “IF you have no car and rely 100% on bicycling then there will be days you ain’t leaving your house. You know rainy, snowy days where jumping on a bicycle isn’t too bright.”

    Many cities that have safe cycling infrastructure (Montreal, Portland, Amsterdam, Copenhagen) have a lot of cyclists that cycle in all weather conditions. Having cycle tracks that are removed from car traffic makes it safer for both cyclists and cars to operate in poor weather conditions. A large part of Somerville is off the bus line so a lot of residents use bikes as a main source of transportation instead of relying on the MBTA. The amount of cyclists in Boston is growing every year and cycle tracks will soon become more of a necessity. It is unfortunate that Somerville could not have been a leader in the Boston area with being the first to install cycle tracks.

  26. A. Moore says:

    Many people are not going to understand the small business problem if they have experience with it. Before I started I was in the union and also non union jobs. Being self employed is another story. It is really hard to run a business here when the city does not work with you but against you. I have seen this over and over. And these construction projects like this one is no different than others going on in this city which just hurts the little guy. No common sense is used at all.

    Eric, don’t look for my father to be peddling down Beacon Street anytime soon as his crutches are not very usefull to peddle as he is going on 90.

  27. Harry says:

    Eric (or MarketMan), seriously? For the “greater good”? Who are the elite that gets to decide what is “good” for the “greater good”? You and your liberal, trust fund buddies? I’m all set with that.

    None of you bicycle advocates have yet told me how the average person who depends on bicycles for their transportation can get to and from work when there is 2′ of snow/mud/slush/crap on the streets and/or it’s -2 deg below zero. Now… I understand that some of you bicyclists are so messed up in the head that you NEED to ride, but for the average shmuck – who you fools are pushing to bike — that isn’t going to work or at least for not long. I did see some nitwits even today with the flurries flying trying to bike around — I just roll down my windows and LMAO at them.

    And I do bicycle – a lot – I just do it when the weather is nice and – on the BIKE PATHS that we already paid for specifically for bicycling!! Our streets are for cars — not for bicycles! Why did we invest all that tax money to build bike paths if our streets are now going to be bike paths!?!

  28. Charlie says:

    Sam, I have been considering many different options for Beacon St and I trying to keep everyone’s needs in mind. There are certainly people out there who would say “put in the cycle tracks, screw the drivers” by just removing the proposed parking and not trying to do anything to make the remaining parking more available for residents and customers. But I’m not saying that. I’m saying let’s look at the need for car parking and see if we can meet that need with parking on one side of the street, better regulations, and additional off-street parking.

    There are a lot of constraints with Beacon St. We can’t narrow the sidewalks because of the utilities. We can’t narrow the travel lanes (in fact MassDOT is requiring them to be wider than they are today). The City is narrowing the parking lane by 1′ but that doesn’t really gain us much because the travel lanes will be wider. So if we want to create more space for bicycles, the only thing left is the parking. If you can’t remove parking from one side of the street, you can’t make any additional space available for bicycles, meaning that you’re stuck with bike lanes that are the narrowest that bike lanes can technically be. While personally I am fine with that for my own needs, there are many people who would benefit from having cycle tracks separated from car traffic.

    It saddens me that some of the other commenters see this is a “everyone must ride a bike” proposal. No one is proposing banning cars from Beacon St or saying “driving a car is evil”. If you work 30 miles outside the city, of course you’ll likely need to drive. But of course not everyone works 30 miles outside the city. There are a ton of people who walk, bike, or take transit in Somerville. There are people who would bike if it were safer and more inviting. If more people decide to bike because we make the streets friendlier for biking, it should in many ways make it easier for those who do have no choice but to drive. But no one is saying “you must bike”. That will always be your own personal decision.

  29. j. connelly says:

    Well Scott in a city that is about 50% TAX EXEMPT, which climbs higher when the “T” is given more land to become TAX EXEMPT for future expansion. Everytime Tufts or a TAX EXEMPT organization purchases a home in the neighborhood, Like Hahvud, for a group home, the amount of TAX EXEMPT land in this city pushes toward the 60% TAX EXEMPT mark.

    Somerville with less taxable land and the current fiscal economy, cannot afford to be a ‘LEADER’ period. The “T” is needlessly spending 90 million dollars to redo the Government Center stop. A true WASTE of taxpayer dollars. The economist say if Europe doesnt get their act together it will force the USA into a recession, which will trickle down to the local cities and their citizens. Millions have been already spent on Bike Paths, Cycle tracks are the last thing to worry about while bridges in this country are crumbling and people are homeless.

  30. Eric says:

    Harry,

    “The Greater Good” refers to things like land conservation, building parks, preventing obesity, keeping peace and quiet, making more breathable air and more pleasant cities. All of the things that make a city “great” instead of just “good enough.”

    As Scott pointed out, in cities where bicycling is safe and easy, cold weather does not stop people from commuting that way. I usually choose to take the train on days when there are ice pellets falling from the sky, but those days are (thankfully) fairly infrequent (numbering less than 10 per year). And besides, the new plan will actually make driving on that road even easier during snowy weather. This debate is really between the few dozen people who store their cars on that road and the hundreds who commute on it by bicycle every day. The number of people who would be negatively impacted by not building this cycle trak definitely far outnumbers the tiny handful who might be inconvenienced by it.

    And the streets are for whatever we design them to be for. Once upon a time they were optimized for horse carriages, pedestrians, and bicycles. For a brief stint in the latter half of the twentieth century, we designed them one hundred percent around the car. Thankfully, that period is coming to a close.

  31. Brian says:

    Charlie: No, no one is saying that “driving a car is evil.” But parking is a totally separate issue than driving. Driving on Beacon Street at most hours already is a mess that is to be avoided if at all possible — and I do. But I work both downtown and outside the city, and I have family outside the city. I take public transportation as often as I can when I go to work downtown, but I have to drive when I go outside the city. That means I have to have access to my car. That means I have to have somewhere to park my car. I moved to my current apartment with the knowledge I’d have access to street parking. If I can’t park my car nearby, I’m not going to be willing to pay as much for rent as I am now because I’m going to have to pay for parking somewhere, too.

    If this proposal is enacted, there will be one day every week — the street-sweeping day for the odd-numbered side — when there will be no parking on Beacon Street whatsoever. As previously mentioned, Beacon Street is between a railroad track and Cambridge. It already can be incredibly difficult to find street parking elsewhere on street-sweeping days as it is, and those days — with parking on one side but not the other — replicate what the situation would be with the cycle track. That means one day every week when those of us who sometimes get home at 10 or 11 p.m. (or later) are parking up to a mile from home and walking home down side streets in the dark. If the goal is to improve safety, that’s not accomplishing it.

  32. Charlie says:

    Re the street cleaning issue, the City has stated at the last public meeting that they would implement zoned street sweeping if all the parking was on one side of the street. So one half the parking would be swept one day and the other half on another day. I’m not sure exactly how they would break it up, but the assured everyone that there would never be a situation where there was no parking for the entire length from Oxford St to Washington St.

  33. Sam says:

    Charlie, do you realize that doing zoned parking for Street Cleaning on the only side of the street people can park on is going to create a shortage within a significant shortage, twice a week? Residents barely make do with parking on one side of the street here as it is for biweekly street cleaning 9 months out of the year. Most Beacon residents already have to walk far, far more than the .25 miles recommended by the city engineers because we lack proximity to alternate parking on side streets thanks to the railroad, Cambridge border, and earlier parking reductions on Somerville Ave. But of course since you don’t live in this neighborhood you have no qualms with continuing to squeeze us out…

  34. Ray Spitzer says:

    Here is an idea: Why do we need street sweeping after all? To make sure leaves don’t block drainage? If so, just do it a couple of times a year in autumn. I’m serious here. What are the benefits of frequent street sweeping, other than giving some guys a job to do?

  35. j. connelly says:

    Yup and then when the snow/ice hits the “3.87% Braintrust” pushing bicycles will demand that the city “contract out” (Lego’s favorite term = more “White envelopes puhleeez”) and hire people with special machines or by hand to plow and sand the cycle tracks.

    Meanwhile Families with homeless hungry children in this bad economy and SOME of these (3.7% of city population) bicyclists care more about is their own miniscule selfish goals…shame on all of them.

  36. j. connelly says:

    So I guess

    A] the 96+% majority of the population should just get a law (ACLU, etc) group to represent them and sue the 3+% for violating the rights of the majority of the citizens.
    or
    B] maybe a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department for blatant discrimination against the taxpayers by Lego and the gang & company. Then again that could open up a whole lot of other (indictments pending?) issues.

    How about the Somerville News making this a “Poll” subject?….probably
    slim as the publishers have attachments to City Hall….LOL

  37. A. Moore says:

    IF I had my way there would be no street sweeping in Somerville. I would have the barrel on wheels with pushbroom and shovel and all the people that are perfectly okay we pay to stay home would have to go out and sweep up the streets.

  38. A. Moore says:

    It would be better if a cycle track is needed to do Mass. Ave. Look at how far it goes. Not a small section of Beacon Street. It would be perfect. That makes more sense, but you know that will never happen.

  39. j. connelly says:

    Well I see that despite the mayor’s bull to the BOA, bout hiring the private contractor for street sweeping cause the DPW’s Stan Da Man said it was so.o.o. costly to maaintain city owned street sweepers….

    That the city still is operating a city owned sweeper…..and why?????
    Cause the contractor (like all city hired contractors) does the minimum and everything else co$t$ EXTRA. Plus the private sweeper contractor’ss price increases each additional year of the contract.

    What else is new..the taxpayers have been scammed again…

  40. Harry says:

    A. Moore, you got it right. Putting a cycletrak on Beacon would benefit just a very small percentage of that 3.7% that say they bike. And I bet of that 3.7% the ones who responded are mostly the ones who use their noggins and use the bike paths as much possible. Not the hardcore kooks who think they’re training for the Tour de France when they bike their 700′ for their starbuck’s lattes.

    For the most part they’re just selfish. snot-nosed brats who think they’re entitiled to having the taxpayers foot the bill for their hobbies because mommy & daddy obviously didn’t smack them enough when they whined. I even wouldn’t blow my nose in their general direction as that’s how useless they are to society as a whole.

    Also – it’s disgusting to see some fat slob on a bike all geared up like Lance Armstrong. Just stop with that. That in and of itself is enough reason to not build the damn thing.

  41. Charlie says:

    Good question Ray. I wonder if the frequency at least can be reduced to once every two weeks or once a month.

  42. Sam says:

    Somerville has these a ton of things called “trees”. The reason why we have street sweeping more than Boston and Cambridge is because we have significantly more trees. Reducing street sweeping on major roads, for many of them, can be a major flood risk. Also for people who whine about bike lanes in Boston and Cambridge not being clear of debris …. our bike lanes are usually clean as a whistle BECAUSE we street sweep so often during the non- Winter months.

  43. Ray Spitzer says:

    There aren’t that many trees in Somerville, actually…

  44. Sam says:

    Ray – are we living in the same city? According to city collected data Beacon St alone has 85 trees – the entire city has over 11,000…. http://www.somervillema.gov/departments/ospcd/parks-and-open-space/urban-forest/inventory It’s no secret that some parts of Somerville have more trees than others, but the overall number of trees compared to other densely populated areas is kind of remarkable and one of the things I love about living here.

  45. Ron Newman says:

    Somerville has lots of trees but it doesn’t have more than Cambridge — which sweeps each side of the street only once a month.

  46. Ray Spitzer says:

    Thanks, Ron. Probably you can also do it once every 3 months with the exception of the leaf falling months (during which it could be done every month). It seems like an unnecessary job which also creates a lot of inconvenience.

  47. Citizen says:

    One great alternative I have not heard discussed publicly is to make Beacon St one way. Inbound, outbound, I don’t care. We can use Somerville St, Medford St, McGrath Hwy, Mass Ave, etc – every one of these roads moves much faster than Beacon anyway.

    This would allow an expansion of parking – parking along the whole route.

    This plan would appease the cycle zealots, let them have their cycle thingy. I want PARKING!!!

    Make Beacon ONE WAY! Everybody wins!

  48. j. connelly says:

    Tough financial economy, politicians take outragious raises, taxpayers suffer. In times like this Cycletrack = Cyclecrap. Everytime a cyclist (a lot from out of town) drives erratically & causes an accident, the people in Somerville PAY. For Emergency reponses, Insurance rate increases, etc.

    Meanwhile the City Hall crowd & Epstein chuckle as they pulled this Scam on the taxpayers, who will still be here and they wont, so why should they care.

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