Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee - Jun 24th, 2024

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Meeting held via remote participation. Materials were available from

These notes cover a subset of agenda items.

COBWEB Officer Report

Officer Shannon Hickey says that COBWEB is another way for the Arlington Police Department to respond to call, and have a presence at public events. Chris Tonkin says he's been hearing a lot of complaints about a general lack of courtesy on the bikeway. He'd like to see COBWEB officers patrolling there. Officer Hickey says she'd like that, but the police department is short on officers right now.

TAC Report

Scott Smith says that the town is installing new Blue Bike Stations on pads, which are located off of the street. Warren and Medford Streets have been restriped; Medford Street has new bike lanes and Warren Street has sharrows. The town plans to repave Broadway in 2025, and that will be an opportunity to make it more bike-friendly. The town plans to conduct bicycle counts on Broadway in advance of that reconfiguration. Finally, TAC will have a booth at town day.

Bikeway Block Party

Christopher Tonkin contacted Select Board member Len Diggins to have a conversation about the Bikeway Block Party. He hopes to meet sometime in the next week.

Jim Cadenhead (Lexington) says the event will be held in September and organized by Lex Bikeways. They have five confirmed event locations in Lexington, one in Bedford, and are trying to secure one in Arlington. They're considering the Jefferson Cutter house (?) as a spot, but they'll need an Arlington resident to do the booking. The event has a website,

E-Bike Report and Bylaws

Chris Tonkin says he's heard a lot of complaints about speed on the bikeway. (Transportation Planner) John Alessi says that staff had a conversation about e-bikes and speed, and there were questions about whether bylaw changes would be necessary. (Town Manager) Jim Feeney asked Mr. Alessi to speak with the Bicycle Advisory Committee, to get their thoughts on how to improve safety on the bikeway. He hopes they can make a recommendation to the Select Board, or to Town Meeting.

Arlington has a bylaw that prohibits motorized vehicles from using the bikeway, but it doesn't define what "motorized" is. In the past, the Committee has favored allowing Type I and Type II e-bikes, but not Type III.

Scott Smith could envision a report that discusses the bylaw, and perhaps suggests policies that have worked elsewhere in the country. He'd like to involve the disability commission in this discussion.

Jack Johnson would like to think beyond the bikeway, to streets, bike lanes, and sidewalks. There are a lot of new mobility devices, and we need to think about what belongs where. He suggests involving representatives from Lexington and Bedford, in the spirit of having a consistent set of policies for the entire bikeway. This could be a subject for the next tri-town bikeway meeting.

There's also the issue of enforcement on the bikeway. The police can't issue speeding citations, because it's not a public roadway. Mr. Tonkin suggests getting a radar gun and using that to measure rider speed. Officer Hickey says she'll relay this request to her superiors.

ABAC Budget Spending

Chris Tonkin says he's tried to get in touch with the director of Parks and Recreation about holding a bike rodeo at the skating rink, but without success.

Courtesy Signs

Lexington has a number of "Motorists must give 4 feet to pass" signs, but there is only one in Arlington. John Alessi says the town only recently received those signs from the state, and he's working with DPW on placement. Most of them will probably go on the corridors.

Jack Johnson thinks it would be useful to have signs on the bikeway, speaking to speed and courteous usage. For example, to say that cyclists should leave three feet when passing pedestrians. Several of Lexington's bikeway signs are good in that regard. These signs should reflect public policy and expectations for riders.

Len Greenberg says that the Lexington signs don't make it clear how big three feet is.

John Alessi says that organizing and prioritizing the work would help him develop an implementation strategy with DPW. He proposes three groups: courtesy signage, pavement markings, and other bikeway maintenance

Chris Tonkin suggests repainting the center line on the bikeway, markings behind Trader Joe's, and markings and stop lines for intersections.

Jack Johnson agrees with repainting the yellow lines. He notes that some sections of the bikeway have large root heaves.

Linda Epstein says there are low hanging trees along the bikeway, which should be trimmed back. There's also a lot of overgrowth along the bikeway in Lexington, some of which obscures their courtesy signs.

Chris Tonkin says that vegetation and a loss of visibility is a general issue. He thinks it would be useful to concentrate on the area between Water and Mill St.

A member of the public suggests looking at the area between Lake and Linwood Streets.

Len Greenberg asks if the committee should have another safety discussion in February, when the path tends to get icy.

Chris Tonkin says that wash-out after heavy rains is also a challenge.

John Alessi says the courtesy signs that Lexington installed are about $136 each, and the poles are around $130.

There's discussion about using some of ABAC's money to purchase courtesy signs for the bikeway. Chris Tonkin suggests purchasing ten; sign copy and placement would be determined at a future date.

The committee votes in favor of purchasing ten signs for installation along the bikeway.

John Alessi says he'll pass this information along to DPW director Mike Rademacher. Chris Tonkin suggests a working group to select which signs, and where to install them.

Planning Update

John Alessi says the town has two BlueBikes efforts in progress. The first involves installing paved pads so docks can be moved off-street. Having the docks off-street means they'll be able to stay up year-round. The second effort will add new docks near Mill Street, the intersection of Warren and Medford Streets, and at Swan Place. The bikeway at Swan Place will be partially closed for a few days, to facilitate construction of a paved pad.

Mr. Alessi is working with DPW to determine locations for new bike racks in Arlington Heights and Brattle Square.

The MassWorks application for Mass Ave/Appleton St. improvements has been submitted; we'll have to wait for the fall to find out whether we get the grant.

Stantec will be the design consultant for the Mystic River connector. The town found a consultant to work on a Traffic Calming guide, and we have conceptual designs for improving the bikeway around Ryder Street.

Mr. Alessi reports that Town Engineer Wayne Chouinard is resigning, and the town will have to fill that vacancy.

The committee discusses sections of the bikeway where speed enforcement could be beneficial. These include:

  • behind Trader Joe's,
  • behind the high school,
  • between Swan Place and Linwood Street,
  • the eastbound approach to Mill Street, and
  • the area between the recreation center and Summer Street.

2024 Bike Tour Debrief

The bike tour went well. About 20--24 people took part in a relaxed family-friendly ride, and we had good support from the Arlington Police Department. There was a light rain during the day.

Other Business

Doug Mayo-Wells plans to move to Rhode Island at the end of the summer. He wants to make sure the backlog of meeting minutes gets cleared out by then.

Meeting adjourned.