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Explanation of Hancock and E. Squantum Intersection

After we shared the photos of the new intersection bike lane at East Howard Street and Quincy Avenue some are asking why there is no bicycle infrastructure at the newly renovated intersection at Hancock Street and East/West Squantum Streets.

Quincycles learned that the design did not include bike infrastructure at the final public presentation in the summer of 2014 just before construction began. We immediately researched the situation and found that the project began in 2006 with a safety study and had been at the 100% design stage before Quincycles was even formed.

It is very difficult to make changes to a project once it reaches 100% design, but not impossible. The Boston Cyclist’s Union successfully changed the Commonwealth Avenue design to include a cycle track after 100% design was reached. That accomplishment required a strong advocacy campaign and immense citizen involvement.

Secondly, we found out that Quincy would most likely have had to take a right of way for space to put bike lanes in the design. Because MassDOT requires that Complete Streets be considered in all roadway design projects, the city probably filed a Design Exemption Request to forego the bike infrastructure requirements due to the right of way issue. We at Quincycles do not have a record of that to share with you at this time.

More recently, during our research about the East Howard Street lane, Quincycles discovered that a “useable shoulder” qualifies as acceptable bike infrastructure according to the most recent AASHTO guidelines (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials). In fact, our new intersection at East Howard and Quincy Ave is preceded by just that – a “usable shoulder” style bike lane – and one without any bike markings such as there are on Adams Street. We applaud the intersection design, not as much the lane leading up to it.

If bicyclists in Quincy want better infrastructure then we need to advocate now and be involved in the design process much sooner. Quincycles is already a more active participant in the redesign process for Sea Street, but we need all our members to step up as well. These redesign opportunities present our greatest chance for getting the best bike infrastructure throughout our city, even while we advocate for the simple MAPC recommendations to be implemented prior to roadway redesigns.

Our disappointment about the North Quincy intersection’s lack of bicycle accommodations should make this the last time Quincycles is taken by surprise by a roadway design that does not meet all road users’ needs. Please join us as we work to change the transportation culture in our city to one that considers all road users and creates roadways that are safe and welcoming to all – drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

The city’s first informational presentation about the Sea Street redesign is currently scheduled for Wednesday, October 28 at 7PM. A location has not yet been announced, but we will post the details when we have them.

Irene Lutts

President

October 2015

 

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