Urban Fold

Can Boston Become a Bicycling Mecca?

Efforts to expand bicycle-friendly infrastructure across the country have revealed the importance of comprehensive planning. Peter DeMarco reports on ways in which planners in the Boston area are trying to fill in the gaps in their emerging network.

The Boston area has caught bike fever. With biking on the minds of politicians and residents throughout the region, DeMarco asks what it will take to transform Boston into a world-class bicycling region like Copenhagen.

Perhaps the largest barrier to creating more bicycle-travel incentives is a lack of comprehensive planning. Like our highways, mass transit systems, and even our pedestrian pathways, bicycle transit operates on a network, and for that system to operate efficiently, gaps and bottlenecks need to be eliminated. In the Boston region, "the area has a bicycling network that is hardly a network at all. Filled with interrupted paths and lanes and incomplete trails, it's a system of stops and starts." Bridging the gaps in Boston's system, like the nicely-named "Lost Half-Mile," could be "[t]he biggest boost to regional cycling."

DeMarco explains what it will take for Boston to become a bicycling mecca: "it will take more than just better infrastructure...We'll need workplaces that provide showers, developers to incorporate bike access from the street and storage racks into design plans, cooperation and respect between cyclists and motorists, police enforcement of cycling rules, bigger trail maintenance budgets, better signage, more cycling education programs, and a mental shift toward making bike trips, be they long or short, part of our daily lives."

Full Story: Biking to the future in Boston

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