Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee - Apr 17th, 2024

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Meeting held via remote participation. Materials were available from

These notes cover a subset of agenda items.

TAC Report

Scott Smith (ABAC) reports that the Transportation Advisory Committee's (TAC's) big item was speed limits. Arlington has a default speed limit of 25 MPH, and the option to reduce higher posted speed limits. TAC voted to move forward with looking at speed limit reductions, starting with Park Ave and Broadway.

Bikeway Block Party

Chris Tonkin (ABAC Chair) and Scott Smith will be two of Arlington's liaisons for the bikeway block party. The main organizers are from Lexington, and the goal is to have all three bikeway communities involved. Arlington also has representation from the town's Economic Development Coordinator and the Arlington Council for the Arts. The event will be held on September 15th, and various groups will own different locations. There's a meeting on Monday to work out more of the details, and Mr. Tonkin will provide a debrief afterwards.

Bike Parking at Town Hall

John Alessi (Planning Department) says the town plans to put a portable bike rack near the flag pole next to town hall, along with signage indicating where the bicycle parking is. They're also looking into permanent signage. Mr. Alessi explains why the bike racks that used to be in front of Town Hall were not replaced after the plaza renovation. There's a network of tubing underneath that warms the stonework to prevent snow accumulation. As a result, we can't drill into the surface. There are new ring racks installed on some parking meters near town hall, and Mr. Alessi says staff are planning to order more.

E-Bike Report

There's no update on the e-bike report. Mr. Tonkin has been in contact with a counterpart in Lexington, who says they're thinking about installing pedestrian flashing beacons where the Minuteman intersects with roadways. These are flashing yellow lights that would be activated on demand.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission sent out a request for comment on proposed rule-making regarding electric bicycles.

MassBike Kickoff Event

MassBike is holding an event to kick off the 2024 Bay State Bike Month. It will be held at Aeronaut Brewing in Somerville, on Sunday April 28th. ABAC will be tabling at the event.

Planning Department Update

John Alessi reports that the planning department issued an RFP for design of the Mystic River/Bikeway connection. Responses are due on Friday.

The Mass Ave/Appleton St. intersection is going through final design. Updated drawings should be posted to the town website in early May. Mr. Alessi says he'll submit a grant application for MassWorks construction funds, and we may be able to start construction in 2025.

Town staff are working out locations for new bike racks in Arlington Heights and Brattle Square.

Medford Street and Warren Street are scheduled for restriping. (I believe this will include new bike lanes.)

Town staff are working with BlueBikes to deploy the rest of the docking stations, which have been in storage since the winter. We'll install asphalt or concrete pads in some of the locations, so the docks can be left up year round.

Mr. Alessi shows slides about the Minuteman wayfinding project. This will be done via a joint grant to Arlington, Lexington, and Bedford. The signage will include kiosks, directional signs, and pointer signs. In East Arlington, they'll be posted around Lake Street, leading to Capitol Square. Signs in Arlington Center will direct people to businesses along Mass Ave. In Arlington Heights, signs will direct people up the steps to the Park Ave Extension bridge. Town staff are working with the Chamber of Commerce to finalize sign content, and they'll probably be installed over the summer.

Several committee members have questions and comments.

Will the pavement around the Park Ave stairway has significant root heaves -- will that be fixed before the signs are installed? Mr. Alessi will follow up with DPW on the condition of the pavement.

Will there be any signs near the Sunrise parking lot, gym parking lot or Trader Joe's? Those common ways to get to Mass Ave from the Bikeway. Mr. Alessi says the signs will target Park Ave -- a town sponsored project can't encourage people to travel through private property.

Will there be signage that lets people know about the Arlington Reservoir? Mr. Alessi says no; the grant was for economic development, so the signs will focus on wayfinding to businesses.

There's a suggestion for signage at Varnum Street in East Arlington.

Mr. Alessi concludes the Planning Department update with a summary of planned work for the Minuteman Bikeway. This includes pavement markings, adding "stop ahead" notices on the pavement, and re-doing the crosswalk behind Trader Joe's. Mr. Alessi says he's compiling and prioritizing a list of improvements, and will work with Public Works to get them implemented.

2024 Tour of Arlington

ABAC's annual bicycle tour is scheduled for May 19th. This will be a Sunday morning, when traffic is generally quiet. Riders will gather at the Jefferson Cutter house at 9:30, depart at 10:00, and finish around noontime. The ride will probably take the same route as last year.

Other Business

ABAC's regularly scheduled June meeting will fall on Juneteenth. The committee agrees to reschedule to June 24th.

A committee member gives a plug to, who work on very detailed transit policy proposals.

Someone notes that in business districts, car doors are opened more frequently than they are in residential districts, which increases the risk of dooring in commercial areas.

One committee member attended a public meeting about the mountain bike track proposal for Hill's Hill. They report a sense of compromise, and better feelings about the project. Current concerns involve pedestrian/cyclist conflicts, rodents, and electric mountain bikes.

Mr. Tonkin says he received an email about root heaves on the Bikeway and potholes on Pleasant Street. Mr. Alessi invites committee members to send him photos of any egregious potholes on Pleasant Street. There is MWRA work planned in the area, and there may be a desire to wait until that work is finished before repaving.