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Letter to the Editor: Bike lane issues remain

by | Nov 27, 2019 | Letter to Editor

To the Editor:

I write in response to the Select Board’s press release of 6 November 2019.

With respect to the fifth point of the press release, wherein it states, “In addition, taking bicycles out of the stream of car and truck traffic and putting them in a separated lane improves safety for both bicycles and vehicles.”  While, in principle, this could be true, the elephant in the room is the fact of Hopkinton’s terrain, and the exceedingly large quantity of driveways and intersections (approx. 30) over the approximately three-quarters of a mile of the project. Further, below.

The 11th and final point is that, “Two-way bike lanes along roadways are indeed uncommon in the United States, but they do exist — and they are a fairly new concept.”  Further along, “It is not anticipated that a two-way bike lane here would be any more unsafe that the two-way Upper Charles Trail in Milford, for example.”

I’ve ridden many miles of two-way bike lanes. Several times on the Cape from Harwich to Nauset Beach, the Minute Man from Bedford to Chelmsford, and the entirety of the paved portion of Milford’s Upper Charles.

Common to each of them:

— They are FLAT for 99-plus percent of their length, because they are predominately on old railroad beds.

— There are very, very few intersections, and fewer, if any, driveway crossings with restricted visibility on any of them.

— The visibility at the few intersections is very good.

With respect only to Upper Charles in Milford, there is a portion where the path is raised, and adjacent to Beach Street, and then Mt. Pleasant Street. Truthfully, while raised, it is a sidewalk, and it is suggested that one walk one’s bike from the crossing at East Main Street. The portion of the Milford bike path that most closely resembles the planned Hopkinton path (but for the fact that this portion of the Milford bike path is much flatter, and has only one curb cut on Mt. Pleasant), is restricted to walking. The vast majority of the Milford bike path is not only “separated” it is utterly isolated from vehicular traffic. In my opinion, there is no way the Milford bike path and the proposal for Hopkinton are remotely equivalent.

I have requested, multiple times, examples of bike lanes similar to the Hopkinton proposal.  MassDOT and VHB provided six. The six are in urban areas (1 point), FLAT (0 points), and two examples each featured ONE curb cut (0 points).

Suffice it to say that I anticipate a drastically different “safety” result.

 

— Ed Harrow, Hopkinton

 

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