It wasn’t broken, now it is.

So I see the same Einsteins behind the very wide medians on Concord Avenue

east of Fresh Pond is now at work west of it trying to turn it into another killing

zone for bicyclists.  What are they thinking?  The curbstone now goes right up to

the edge of the traffic lane, so now every single car that passes me is a dangerous

confrontation.  Why oh why?  The sidewalk was standard width before, why did

it have to be double-wide?  Who is in charge of these projects?  Can we fire them?

I guess there’s no time like right after it goes in to start a petition drive to rip it

out again.

Published by Stefan King

10 year Belmont Resident technologist, life enthusiast

10 replies on “It wasn’t broken, now it is.”

  1. Part of the double-wide sidewalk is supposed to be a bike path inbound to Cambridge, and I think that there will be a similar double-wide path on the other side when they are done. I must admit, unless we can send all the people driving in and out of that neighborhood to the Netherlands for bike-awareness training, that all those driveways crossing the enhanced sidewalk will be a problem, and I don’t care to be in charge of driver-education-through-(my)-hard-knocks.

    For now, when going to/from Cambridge, I cut through the reservoir, and when returning I just ride wrong-way on the sidewalk till it is convenient to cross and rejoin.

  2. Pardon my skepticism, but I observe a common theme with recent construction: it
    forces bicycles and cars together. Some examples are, as I mentioned, the very wide
    “terrifiers” installed on Concord Ave. at Fem Street, the “stick-out” installed on Trapello
    Road at Hawthorne(?) Street, and the numerous lane divisions and curbstones added at several
    intersections. With these things, there is just nowhere to go and the driver of the Chevy
    Suburban thinks he has a right to pass at any arbitrary time and will do so, regardless of the

    We’ll see how it turns out, but to me it looks like Concord Avenue will become less usable.
    The bike lane is a sidewalk extension, and pedestrians will treat it as such. The section
    built so far has a hazard every few meters, a curb cut, a light pole etc. etc. Passing
    the bus stops will be impossible. In winter it will probably be nearly useless, so we will
    be forced back down into the roadway, at least that will be ploughed clear.

    But we will see.

  3. The crazy “stick outs” on Trapello were installed in the name of “traffic calming”, a misguided attempt to impede traffic, rather than to help it move safely along. The concept is to discourage people from using the road because it’s so miserable to drive on and it will return to being a “local road”. How this ever was supposed to work is a mystrery known only to governmental planners. There was easily enough space to create a usable bike lane, heck, they could have even put up jersey barriers for safety there was so much room! Instead they came up wiht the lame “stick outs”.

    My cycling friends (yes, even us conservative car-driver-types have them) complain bitterly to me about the insanity of it and my “car guys” friends complain about the stupidity of traffic calming in general.

    It’s just a bad idea all around.

    Stefan and Dave, you have my sympathies, I will watch for you on the road from my car as we all try to swerve and weave around the concrete impediments conveniently provided by the town of Belmont.

    1. Hey Rich,

      The bumpouts are not about traffic calming. They are about pedestrian safety. A lovely elderly woman by the name of Rita Sclafati was killed crossing 4 lanes of traffic at the present location of the Hawthorne street. If only we’d had it before her death.

      I fought hard for those bumpouts and I still feel that they are one of the best local things I’ve done for children and elderly people. It’s much safer to cross 2 lanes than 4.


      1. My Biking friends have other words for them — most not reprintable 🙂

        Guess this is one of those issues we’ll have to choose to disagree on — I can certainly understand the need for pedestrian safety, but the bump-outs wreak more havok than they prevent.

        BTW, you were largely misquoted by the local press, I specifically remember the belmont paper as touting these things as “traffic calming measures”. My appologies for any misquote.

        It also seems there’s plenty of room for bike lanes (I still cannot figure out if Trapello’s design was intended to be that of a 4-lane highway or a “Champs-Elysees” style boulevard, clearly, no one else can either!)

        Bikes, pedestrians and cars can coexist, but rarely in the same physical space – in our planning we should make room for all of them.

        1. As a regular commuting cyclist, I do understand the concern about the bumpouts and they could be trimmed a bit.

          And, yes, I’ve probably referred to them in the traffic calming category. No apology needed — probably not a misquote. But I really do feel they help pedestrians greatly.

          And your point about Trapelo as being hard to figure out is exactly right. When it gets rebuilt (hopefully within five years), it will make more sense and have bike lanes.

  4. Will, I certainly support your attention to this kind of local issue though I might
    not agree with the approach. I would like to see solutions that don’t force bikes
    and faster motor vehicles into the same space. I recall the death of a Tufts
    doctoral student a couple years ago on Mass Ave when an open door sent her out
    underneath a passing bus.

    As an alternative, I would prefer to see medians. I think it works better for me
    when I am on foot, and if they don’t have to be built very wide to provide a safe
    refuge. Then when we cross, all the traffic is going one way each time. It if isn’t
    built so wide it takes up half the road, there is still space on both sides for
    cars and bikes.

    1. I take it you are talking about the bumpouts — which go back 10 years to my Selectman days.

      The medians are a fair alternative. I think the bumpouts make more sense on Trapelo — we really don’t need 4 lanes on most of that strip.

      But I do agree that the bumpouts might be a little wider than they need to be — as a cyclist myself, I understand the squeeze issue.

      I think that in the Trapelo rebuild plan, the bumpouts are more moderate.

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