Cyclists Should Speak up for Proposed Bike LanesA photo caption describing a proposed bike lane along Massachusetts Avenue which appeared in the June 22 issue of The Tech is erroneous. The proposal calls for removing one parking lane in order to create two bike lanes, one in either direction, adjacent to the outer travel lanes, not a single lane on one side. (Note that neither of these lanes would be between the curb and the parking lane, as has been supposed by the MIT Planning Office and reported to callers requesting information.)
The main objection to the project is a loss of temporary parking spaces. This is a serious concern. The City of Cambridge is currently looking for alternative spaces, such as on side streets, to replace the 21 spaces that merchants will lose.
As for the spaces adjacent to MIT, the position of the MIT Planning Office is that these 29 spaces represent a "precious resource" to the MIT community which cannot under any circumstances be violated - even though MIT has more than 2000 spaces in its inventory, (for which it charges $20 per year) and even though the MIT Planning Office issued a Bicycle Plan encouraging the City of Cambridge to provide safer bicycle routes.
Ovadia R. Simha, director of planning at the MIT Planning Office, believes he speaks for the MIT community when he says that the need for parking has a higher priority than safer and more comfortable roadways for bicyclists. I believe he does not. Send your comments to him directly. The design decisions will be finalized over the coming weeks.
Paul M. Schimek G