Somerville improves cyclist and pedestrian safety with new infrastructure
The City of Somerville is redeveloping and installing protected cycle paths and floating bus stops in various locations to create a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as a city that is more conducive to walking and more environmentally friendly. ‘environment.
The city is implementing major infrastructure improvements to Somerville Avenue, Washington Street and Circle of the Powder Magazine.
Tom Lamar, Chair of the Somerville Cycling Advisory Committee, who advises the city on improving cycling conditions in Somerville and promotes cycling safety, explained that bike lanes are elevated to sidewalk level on Somerville Avenue to create distance from cars.
“Probably the most important [thing] is physically separated from the cars, âLamar said. “In this case, being raised to the sidewalk or to the level of the nearest sidewalk [and] have a sidewalkâ¦ as well as a small pad about two feet wide.
There are also now signposted crosswalks that warn cars to slow down for cyclists and pedestrians.
Lamar noted that floating bus stops create an island in the street with a sidewalk and a cycle path behind, providing a safe place for cyclists and for passengers to wait for the bus.
Arah Schuur, co-founder of the Somerville Bicycle Safety group, which aims to organize people for bicycle safety, discussed improvements to Circle of the Powder Magazine. The city has set up flexible poles and protected cycle paths, and demarcated previously unmarked lanes. He also repainted crosswalks and installed pedestrian-initiated buttons at crosswalks.
Various other locations are making similar changes, including Broadway and Wellington Bridge. Many of these locations also add improvements to bus mobility and driving safety.
These changes have greatly improved the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. Noah Mills, senior at Tufts, Lives in Alewife and commutes around fifteen minutes a day by bike. He often passes by Powder Circle.
“I was researching over the summerâ¦ I would walk into that intersection and kind of compete with the cars, âMills said in an interview with The Daily. âNowâ¦ you’re protected by some sort of barrier against the carsâ¦ you’re not one-on-one with other cars, which is a lot nicer. “
Schuur explained that the purpose of these improvements is also to promote a more walkable and environmentally friendly community.
âA large portion of Somerville’s emissions are transportation, and a primary source of that is vehicles. So there is absolutely no way to meet our climate goals with our current modal share, which means how many people are using which mode of transport, âsaid Schuur. âOur guidance documents say that we need to move people from their private vehicles to buses, on bikes and on their feetâ¦ This also has quality of life benefits.â
Voters in the Boston area generally support these infrastructure changes. The MassINC poll group reported that 75% of residents were in favor of creating cycle lanes separate from cars.
While Mills partly chose to ride a bicycle for financial reasons, he also recognized the environmental and health benefits.
“T‘Environmental impact was certainly part of the decision as well,’ said Mills. âIt really makes me feel good to be able to ride a bike, and it’s also for my body. It’s so much better to exercise and move.
Lamar explained that many of these improvements were implemented alongside the utility works that needed to be done.
“[For] Somerville Ave, the main motivation was the underground utilitiesâ¦ they needed to upgrade massivelyâ¦ rebuild everything from scratch with much bigger pipes and full separation, âLamar said. “And if you’re going to rebuild the streets from scratch, you really want to take the opportunity to put them back better than before.”
George Schneeloch, co-founder of Somerville Bicycle Safety, said the group continues to organize behind initiatives to improve safety, including the creation of a bicycle network plan, which is currently underway.
“It’s a visual of the changes that would be made to the streets to produce a network where people of all ages and abilities can travel from A to B, anywhere in Somerville to major destinations like schools, grocery stores and so on, “Schneeloch said in an interview with The Daily. âWe lobbied a lot for a bicycle network plan to be produced, and the city took off.