Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee - Feb 19th, 2020
DPW Liaison on Upcoming Work. DPW Director Mike Rademacher talks about the DPW's plans for work along the Minuteman Bikeway. The DPW wants to trim trees and clear deadwood along the path. The work will be done in four phases, with each phase dedicated to a different section. The department will close and detour one section per week, although the work on given section might take less than a week to complete. Work hours will be 9am - 2pm. This will take place during the month of March, weather permitting. There will be police details at each end of the work, along with detour signs. No work will be done to the surface of the path. DPW is just clearing deadwood and encroaching vegetation.
There's discussion about bike lane improvements on Mass Ave between Pleasant street and Swan Place (where the bicycle lane ends). The arrangement is fine for riders that plan to turn right onto Swan Place and continue on the minuteman; it's tricky for riders who want to continue heading east on Mass Ave. There's a request for a sharrow where the bicycle lane ends, and cyclists have to merge left.
There's discussion about the road surface condition between Swan Place and Franklin Street. Pavement on the outer end of the eastbound lane (of Mass Ave) is very bumpy and there are two sunken manhole covers. These conditions make the section of roadway challenging for cyclists.
There's discussion about the wooden bridge at the Alewife end of the bike path. The planks are deteriorating with bolts protruding up. Mike thinks the town may be able to obtain state or federal funding to fix up the bridge. When the minuteman was first constructed, there was an expectation that it would just be a recreational path, and we wouldn't be plowing it during the winter. Since then, it's turned into a transportation resource for commuters.
Mike says there's no state funding for major improvements to Mass Ave in Arlington Center, but DPW is planning piecemeal improvements. MWRA is planning to do pipeline work at Broadway Plaza next winter. There will be no plaza improvements until then. DPW is planning numerous sidewalk improvements along Mass Ave in Arlington Center.
DPW installed a new catch basin near the intersection of the Minuteman and Lake Street, and asks if this has helped with flooding and icing. Several attendees report that it has.
TAC Report. Several street repaving projects are pending over the next three years, on Summer, Chestnut, and Grove streets.
Construction of the Lake Street signal improvements is scheduled for summer 2020. The bike path won't be closed completely during this time, but will likely be narrowed to a single lane.
Recent Pedestrian Injury on the Bikeway. A pedestrian was recently injured on the minuteman. The pedestrian was an older woman who was knocked down by a seven year old rider. The woman received minor injuries. That's all we know at the moment.
AHS Rebuild. The last meeting of the AHS rebuild committee was mostly focused on logistics.
Sustainable Transportation Plan. The sustainable transportation committee has met once, and the planning department is working to schedule the next meeting.
CPA Funding. There's been discussion about using CPA funds for bikeway improvements. This is a new area for CPA committee and they're looking for more information. CPA funds might be used to connect the bikeway with the new high school.
There's a path that between spy pond and route two. Many people aren't aware of it. It could benefit from improvements and better connectivity to adjoining streets.
Warrant Article to Extend Bikeway Hours. One of this year's warrant articles proposes to amend the town bylaws to extend the minuteman bikeway's hours of operation. The Select Board held a hearing and they were supportive. They may want to move the hours of operation out of the town bylaws and into administrative regulations. The new hours would be 5am -- 11pm.
Interactive Maps. One of the committee members has been talking with Adam Kurowski about developing a map of bicycle resources in town. This map would show the location of bicycle lanes and sharrows.
ABAC Retreat. The committee will have a retreat on March 7th at the Jason Cutter house. Schedule TBD, but there will likely be some discussion of how to encourage non-single-occupancy vehicle forms of transportation.
Bicycle Friendly Community. Dan Amstutz (town Transportation Planner) is working on an application that would give Arlington status as a Bicycle-Friendly Community. He'd like to have a few committee members review the application before it's submitted.
Update on Bike Sharing Program. The state has accepted our workforce transportation grant, but there are a lot of details to work out with MassDOT, Blue Bike, and Lyft. There will be a warrant article that proposes $100k for bike share infrastructure. Overall, it's a $200k effort; the town will pay half, and Lyft will subsidize half. We may be able to get additional money from the Metropolitan Planning Organization. The initial plan is to have five docked stations. If all goes well, the first of these will be installed during fall 2020. It may be worthwhile to review usage patterns collected during our partnership with Limebike. We're proposing docked stations at Thorndike Field, Linwood Street, Pond Lane, Capitol Square, and on Broadway (near Everett Street). We're still working out the number of bikes, and the number of bikes per station.
Annual Social. ABAC's annual social will be held on March 31st. Family cycling will be the featured topic, and Carisse from Bicycle Belle will be one of the speakers.
Touch a Bike Event. Think of this as a "bicycle petting zoo". The idea is to bring in a bunch of bikes, and let people try them out in a parking lot. The group will revisit the idea next month, and go into more detail about location/venue and programming.
Dredging of Spy Pond. The planned dredging will result in the closure of the path that runs between the pond and route 2. The path is called the "Spy Pond Bicycle Path", and the work schedule is still TBD.
Other Business. Lexington plans to install a bench along the Minuteman bikeway, to memorialize the cyclist who was killed in an accident last year.
In the past, we've had tri-town meetings with Arlington, Lexington, and Bedford. We're probably due for another one. More next month.
The committee plans to organize a bike path cleanup day (it's an annual event). The preference is late March or early April, before the leaves come out.
Ecofest will be held on March 21st, and Eco-week will be the last week in March. There's discussion about whether ABAC should do something for ecofest. The theme for ecofest is resilience. Cycling could be though of as a form of transportation resilience. We'll wait to see if Sustainable Arlington approaches us about participation.
The town is preparing for its annual bikeway count. Dan reports that we've had to order replacement parts for the counter near Swan Place. There's discussion about whether the new signals at Lake street will be able to collect rider counts. Folks expect them to have that capability, but we're not sure.