A variety of bike issues on Council's Monday night agenda
From: Craig Kelley
There are a number of bike-related issues on the Council’s Monday night agenda, primarily dealing with expansion of our Hubway system but also discussing snow removal from bike infrastructure. I have pasted the links below.
The first two items are funding for Hubway expansion by various entities who agreed to install Hubways as part of a special permit or some such arrangement. While I like Hubway and use it a fair amount, it is a lot of money per bike, someplace in the few to many thousands of dollars to buy the bikes and equipment and also to balance the bikes. The latter, balancing, is done so poorly, at least in my experience, that I’m loathe to use Hubway if I’ve got any sort of time constraints because I’m never confident I’ll either find a bike when I want one or be able to drop it off easily. So, while Hubway gets a lot of use and the ones in Cambridge are open all-year long, it’s still not a perfect, or cheap, system. On a related note, the City is now dealing with dockless rental bikes, something that apparently, should not be allowed in the City given our contractual relationship with Hubway. I haven’t read the Hubway contract so I can’t comment on that, but dockless bikes have become a real street furniture/obstacle problem in other places where they’ve been ‘installed’ and I’d hate to see that happen in Cambridge so I am glad the City is paying attention to this issue at its early stages.
The Manager’s snow removal memo struck me as a level-headed assessment of what people should expect when it comes to clearing bike infrastructure. Basically, there are limits to what the City will be able to do to keep bike lanes clear. Biking around Saturday night, it was obvious that DPW was working to keep the separated lanes free of snow but there was a lot of stuff going on and as cyclists, Hope, Cooper and I often opted to stay in the main road because the separated lanes were dangerous to bike in. The impact of snow and ice has to be part of our discussion of future bike lanes because, for some year-round cyclists, competing for space with drivers in a narrow street because the bike lanes are not safe due to snow or ice can be a real problem. Unlike New York, Massachusetts is not a bike lane priority state so cyclists don’t have to use bike lanes, but drivers don’t necessarily understand that and I’ve had more than one driver express concern that I’m not using a nearby bike lane. It may be worth the tradeoff, but at least we need to acknowledge that there is a tradeoff (actually, lots of tradeoffs, but the Manager’s report is about snow removal) to be had with this infrastructure.
If you’d like to come talk about these Council issues at City Council, you can sign up by phone between 9 AM and 3 PM on Monday at 617-349-4280 and in person from 5-6 PM at the Sullivan Chambers at City Hall. Public comment, limited to three minutes per speaker, starts at 5:30(ish) and lasts at least until 6:00, though if there are enough speakers we often go later. At the end of public comment, people who missed the sign-in window are generally asked if they’d like to speak anyway. The entire Council may be emailed at Council@Cambridgema.gov.
Thanks a lot.
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CMA 2017 #315 : Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $444,534.67 from the Hubway Capital Projects Equipment Fund to the Community Development Department Public Investment Fund Extraordinary Expenditures Account. These funds will be used for the purchase and expenses of Hubway bikeshare equipment. These funds represent the donor agreement revenues and will contribute to the purchase, installation and maintenance of approximately 10 additional stations and bicycles, pending identification of acceptable locations.
CMA 2017 #316 : Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $489,780 associated with the Hubway Bike Share Equipment from the Mitigation Revenue Stabilization Fund to the Public Investment Fund Community Development Extraordinary Expenditures account. These mitigation funds will be used for the purchase and expenses of Hubway bikeshare equipment.
CMA 2017 #320 : A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-114, regarding a report on the plan for snow removal from the new bike infrastructure in the city.