Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee - Apr 19th, 2023

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Meeting held via remote participation. Materials were available from These notes cover a subset of the agenda items.

COBWEB update

APD Officer Shannon Hickey reports that the police department hasn't had officers on bicycles in the last two years. Three officers are undergoing training and APD plans to have them out on the street this summer. Training consists of three eight hour sessions, covering bicycle laws and such. They're planning to enforce laws requiring cyclists to stop at red lights, and prohibiting drivers from parking in bike lanes. The department has also gotten some new bicycles.

Transportation Planner

The town's website still lists the transportation planner as open, though folks have heard we've hired someone for the position.

TAC Report

Scott Smith says that a number of Mass. Ave. business owners came to the last Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting, to voice their concerns about the safety improvements planned around the intersection of Mass Ave and Appleton Street. TAC didn't have much to say, since that ball is now in the Select Board's court. TAC did review parking studies of the area, which they felt were balanced, but lacked peak reporting.

DPW is planning to replace the wooden decking on the bridge that carries the Minuteman Bikeway over Alewife Brook. TAC suggested that DPW ensure that the new bridge is ADA compliant (the current bridge is not). It sounds like that project will involve several weeks of work. The money is coming from a funding source that expires at the end of FY 2023.

TAC was asked to review the transportation impact assessment for 10 Sunnyside Ave, where the Housing Corporation of Arlington is planning to build a new apartment building. As proposed, the building will have 43 apartments, with 23 parking spaces, and less bicycle parking than our bylaws currently require.

Lexington Signage Plans

Lexington is planning to install a series of signs along the Minuteman Bikeway, and Chair Christopher Tonkin suggests it would be nice if Arlington could do something similar, so the signage is consistent across communities. However, there's nothing to mandate sign installations by Arlington or Bedford.

One of the proposed signs is a yellow 15 MPH advisory, which Bedford was opposed to.

Lexington will probably be the first community to install signs, and we may be able to benefit from the feedback they receive.

There's a suggestion to have "Courtesy on the bike path" signage that explains the rules of the path. This could be done as part of kiosk. We could also have simple signs with QR codes to provide more detail.

In Arlington, pinch points are probably where signage should be installed first.

Spring Social

The Bicycle Advisory Committee's spring social will be held on May 13th at the lower floor of the Jason Cutter House, from 13:00 - 15:00.

MBTA Multifamily Requirements

The Chair invites Steve Revilak to talk a little about the new multi-family requirements for MBTA Communities.

Steve Revilak explains what the new laws for MBTA Communities require: zoning districts where multi-family housing (which means three-family homes or larger) is allowed by right. Arlington is classified as an "adjacent community" because we don't have any subway or commuter rail stops in town. We're close to the Alewife T station, but there's little developable land in that area; because of the lack of developable land around Alewife, our districts can be anywhere in town. One of the first questions to address is where that will be.

Lexington is another adjacent community, and recently adopted their MBTA zoning.

Christopher Tonkin notes that the law doesn't require housing production, but communities have to create the potential for that housing to be built in the future.

Bike Tour of Arlington

The committee discusses when to hold its annual bike tour. May 21st is a candidate date, starting from the Jason Cutter House at 9:30 am. The tour would likely cover East Arlington.

Other Business

Massbike is sponsoring a memorial ride for Charlie Proctor, on June 3rd.

There was a discussion about an Arlington resident whose landlord won't allow an ebike to be stored in the building, due to concerns about battery fires. There's probably nothing that ABAC as a committee can do.