Activism Alert: Commander Shea Boulevard

Posted by on Mar 16, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Activism Alert: Commander Shea Boulevard

Hello Quincyclists,

A few times recently, I have told engineers and city officials that I do not advocate for myself or for cyclists like me, who are riding by choice and with confidence on our streets.  I advocate for the people who want to ride a bike – for whatever reason – but cannot bring themselves to do so because they feel unsafe on our roads.  I advocate for the people who ride because they have to, regardless of the road design.  I advocate for my neighbors and their children who want to ride bikes for transportation or recreation, but see our roads as hazardous.  I advocate for the right to ride a bike and to be safe while doing so.

Commander Shea Boulevard has played an important role in Quincycles’ rides over the years – for its beautiful scenic views of the Neponset River; for its connection to Marina Bay, Squantum Point Park, our amazing coastline, and views of the harbor; for its access to the Neponset Riverwalk and from there to the Neponset Bridge and Boston.  Commander Shea Boulevard is a key connection for commuters who bicycle, drive, and walk to the North Quincy MBTA station.

Our city has plans for Commander Shea Boulevard.  Quincy intends to take ownership of this privately owned road soon.  Our city and the MBTA plan to extend this road to Squantum Point Park and future ferry service. Our city is working with the developers of the transit-oriented development at North Quincy MBTA station to reconfigure the connection of Commander Shea Boulevard to the transit station and Sagamore Street.  Our city is working with FedEx to create access for large trucks to utilize Commander Shea. These changes are important and potentially good for our Quincy, but they cannot be made at the expense of bicycle and pedestrian safety.  They cannot compromise the ability of bicyclists and pedestrians to safely access public transit, recreational parks and paths, and the attractions and restaurants of Marina Bay.

Unfortunately, the designs we have seen do just that.  There is no space for bicycles included.  The designs expect potential cyclists to share the road with large trucks – from FedEx tractor-trailers to service vehicles for the MBTA development.  Shared lanes and trucks do not mix. Cyclists and trucks do not mix. The tragic death of Anita Kurmann in Boston emphasized the need for cities to separate trucks and cyclists, not force them together.

We are working with city officials via the Mayor’s Bicycle Commission to request a safer Commander Shea Boulevard, but we are latecomers to the process. Designs are close to complete and we need to make our voice heard.  The proposed designs do not recognize the right of the young, the old, and the would-be cyclist to have safe access to all areas of our beautiful city.  The proposed designs create barriers to our beautiful coast. Please consider using the letter template below or write your own letter to our state delegation and city officials to let them know how important safe bicycling access is to you.  Tell our representatives that you ride a bike, or would like to, in Quincy and want to feel safe on our roads.

We are a volunteer organization — every one of us who spends time planning rides, leading rides, and attending meetings. Each Quincyclist who works to make Quincy a safer more welcoming place for bicyclists gives their time out of generosity.  Please take some of your time to stand up for those who do bicycle, who want to bicycle, and who must bicycle in Quincy.

Thank you!

Keep Pedaling,

Irene Lutts, President

March 16, 2018


Dear [Elected Official]:

I ride a bike in Quincy.  [Please share your experience of riding in Quincy. Tell a story of riding on Commander Shea Boulevard.]

I am pleased to know Quincy is initiating a dockless bike-share program with ofo bike this spring and I look forward to many more bicyclists joining me on Quincy’s roads. I celebrate the city’s coming Complete Streets policy that will guide our city to safer streets for all users.

Unfortunately, I recently learned of the City’s plans to change portions of Commander Shea Boulevard and that these changes will negatively impact my and other bicyclists’ ability to ride comfortably and safely on that road.  These changes will compromise the ability of bicyclists and pedestrians to access public transit, recreational parks and paths, and the attractions and restaurants of Marina Bay via Commander Shea Boulevard.

The proposed designs for Commander Shea ignore bicyclists entirely and make no accommodations for them, despite the North Quincy MBTA development’s intended goal of reducing dependency on motor vehicles. The proposed designs include vehicular lanes that exceed the 11 foot width recommended by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO).  Wide lanes endanger drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists alike by creating an atmosphere of comfort that encourages speeding drivers.

The proposed changes to Commander Shea Boulevard will increase truck traffic with FedEx trucks and service vehicles for the development at North Quincy MBTA. This will make bicycling on Commander Shea Boulevard uncomfortable at best and possibly dangerous.  Rather than encourage bicyclists and pedestrians to take advantage of this connection, it may discourage them.

I understand that there are space limitations under the Hancock Street Bridge by which Commander Shea reaches the MBTA Station.  However, even with 2-way traffic there is enough space for a sidewalk level, shared-use path as recommended by the MAPC in its Bicycle and Pedestrian Network Plan of 2014, a plan endorsed by City Council. Pedestrians and bicyclists share space more safely and comfortably than do trucks and bicyclists.  Please use this opportunity to create a shared path, so that both pedestrians and bicyclists may feel safe and comfortable accessing the transit station.

Our city’s annual bicycle count consistently shows the highest count of bicyclists at the Neponset Bridge – a commuter route that Commander Shea provides access to via the Neponset Riverwalk. However, Commander Shea Boulevard does not provide a safe crossing for pedestrians or bicyclists at the entrance to the Neponset Riverwalk from the sidewalk adjacent to the driveway for Edgewater Place Condominiums. This unmarked, unsignalized crossing is at a curve in Commander Shea Boulevard and the sightlines are inadequate, creating a hazardous situation for the vulnerable pedestrian and bicyclist.  Please install a safe crossing at this location as part of these design changes.

By welcoming ofo bike and working toward complete streets, our city is trying to encourage the potential bicyclists of our community to choose not to drive.  I want to ride with these potential bicyclists, but I want them to be safe. The safety of any bicyclist is in question with the current proposed designs for Commander Shea Boulevard.  Don’t just bring ofo bike to Quincy, make bicycling safer in Quincy.

Thank you.


[Your Name]


Mayor Koch

Councilor Harris, Ward 6

Councilor-at-Large DiBona

Councilor-at-Large Liang

Councilor-at-Large Mahoney


Chris Cassani, TPAL Director

Al Grazioso, DPW Commissioner


State Senator John Keenan 617-722-1494

State Representative Ron Mariano 617-722-2300

State Representative Bruce Ayers 617-722-2230

State Representative Tackey Chan 617-722-2080

State Representative Dan Hunt 617-722-2263






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