Letter to the Editor – February 13

On February 13, 2013, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The Somerville News belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville News, its staff or publishers.)

Dear Sir/Madam:

Beacon Street Reconfiguration Plan – Unworkable and Dangerous

The last few days have given us a picture of what Beacon Street would look like if the Curtatone administration has its way in re-configuring Beacon St., Somerville.  It’s not pretty.  Indeed, it is unworkable and dangerous.  Over the objections of residents and businesses, the City plans to install cycle tracks that will narrow the road and reduce parking by half.  With this storm, Beacon was narrowed to approximately the width the City’s plan calls for and it looked more like a parking lot than a main artery.  Every delivery truck that double parked turned Beacon into a one lane road.  Every resident that parked to unload groceries did the same.  If two vehicles double parked in opposite lanes,  Beacon would be literally impassable.   This is the future that Beacon St. faces 24/7/365 if the Curtatone plan goes through.

So for a cycle track that runs for less than a half mile (yes, you read that correctly), the Mayor will degrade the livability of the Beacon St. neighborhood, but be able to tout “the first federally funded cycle track.”  Nice line on an ambitious pol’s résumé, but a disgraceful price to be paid by his constituents who live and have businesses on Beacon St.   The Mayor is as tone deaf to his constituents worries as he is to the complete lack of feasibility of this plan and the several viable alternatives available.
Thank you.
Domenic J. Ruccio, Jr.


9 Responses to “Letter to the Editor – February 13”

  1. Gotye says:

    it is an election year

  2. James F says:

    As a bicycle commuter along Beacon street I too have major reservations too about this plan. It flies in the face of cycle track best practices; a cycle track with this many side streets and driveways is likely to actually raise the danger to cyclists and pedestrians. Most of the arguments for it are along the lines of ‘bicycle tracks are good because bicycle tracks are good’. If the track does appear I expect to alter my commute to go via Somerville Ave and Union Square because it will be safer and more pleasant.

    Beacon St cyclists and others would be best served by a simple repaving and some intelligent simple restructuring for visibility at intersections.

    Here is some interesting commentary from others along these lines:



  3. A. Moore says:

    It’s unfortunate the city was not laid out for all this stuff when they built it, but this project was obvious to the naked eye it just does not fit. Space is not there to make it work. Regardless of the extra costs we cannot afford in these times. It’a juat reality. Just good old common sense. Curtatone has over the years been an antibusiness mayor so we know he is not concerned about that part. He is the ceo of Somerville, therein lies the problem.

  4. bikerbill says:

    In the nice weather I ride my bike from Davis to Beacon and into Boston every weekday. What is the mayor thinking? enough is enough!

  5. Blood Hound says:

    Hey they voted for him and they have got him, they said he can do no wrong, he is the second coming. Resume, Mikey found out, Dot Gay found out, statewide aint easy. So go ahead Joey Cakes you will find out, RUN BABY RUN.

  6. hugo says:

    The cycle track is a very good prosposal. It mirrors cycle tracks similar in most bike friendly cities – which boston and somerville are not. In the light of recent bicycle deaths around the city, shame on you for protecting 30 parking spots instead of saving lives. Pained on bicycle lanes do nothing, I was door jacked 2 on beacon street while riding in the bike lane.

  7. Mark says:

    My understanding is that over 100 parking spaces and two handicapped spaces are being given to bicyclists. What makes the least sense is not simply doing this with paint, so it can be easily undone if it doesn’t work out. No, Curtatone and the planning department wouldn’t get the resume and career enhancement at the expense of taxpayers unless the bike track area was raised and made difficult to plow snow off! Boston took over 70 parking spots on Mass Ave for cyclists, but at least did it with paint so any changing needs in the next 30 or more years would not cost millions to restore the lane.

    What also makes no sense is that the bike lanes and curb (snow bank) extensions installed in the $22M Somerville Ave project are not drawing cyclists there from crumbling Beacon. Bike lanes must not be the draw some claim, so why increase suffering to create more? Its not like a short span of bike track will suddenly make it safe for kids to play in traffic. Cyclist safety will most come when MBTA buses are banned. Want that? Until then, the Mayor and planning department only serve themselves.

  8. j. connelly says:

    Most of the other cities are more modern and a lot of there streets go north/south, east/west, not like the streets here that followed the old horse trails here and are a lot narrower and helter-skelter shaped.

    Some of the recent bike fatalities were bike operator caused. The bike/bus incident in Brighton, A couple in Boston/Cambridge where the tractor/trailer trucks were already turned into the intersection and the bike collided into the side rear half of the trailors. Some of the “accident” victims have lost their driver licenses for DUI and now use a bike as a weapon while they are drunk.The legislators failed to do there job by not enforcing regulation for bikes.

    Common sense equals caution by both bikes and motor vehicles. Though the mindset of some city officials/bicyclists that we are going to eliminate vehicles and Kidder Ave, some other streets, especially Beacon Street designs are unsafe place it as Cycletrack = Cyclecrap.

  9. A Moore says:

    To prevent door jack drive slower and look for people in cars about to open doors. After my first one that was the lesson. As a driver I check carefully before existing vehicle. It’s as bike friendly as the drivers and bikers alike. Cycle tracks are great where they fit.

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