Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee - Mar 20th, 2024

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Meeting held in the town hall annex, with remote participation. Materials were available from

Traffic Advisory Committee Report

ABAC (and TAC) member Scott Smith reports that there's consideration of bringing new streets under the town-wide speed limit to 25 miles/hour. This will probably start with Broadway and Park Ave. The Broadway Neighbors Coalition asked to have the 30 MPH speed limit revisited. There are a number of motivations for looking at Park Avenue, mainly recent accidents and pedestrians being struck in crosswalks. There's also been a request for 20 MPH safety zones, and we're just starting that discussion.

Roadway redesign will be part of these discussions. On a related note, the Broadway Neighbors Coalition is having a meeting at 10:00 on Saturday to discuss ideas for re-doing Broadway.

Bike Block Party

Christina Burwell (of Lexington) provides an update on Lexington's plans for a party on the bikeway. They intend to have arts and performances along the path, probably near particular parks. She hopes that Bedford and Arlington would be interested in holding similar events. The Lexington organizers have been in communication with the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture, and the town's Economic Development Coordinator. The event will be held on September 15, from 11:00 to 4:00. There's been some work to identify potential locations for Arlington events, and it would nice for ABAC to have a booth along the path.

Bike Parking at Town Hall

The bicycle racks in front of town hall were removed when the plaza was renovated, but haven't been re-installed. There were a few U-racks added near the flag pole. ABAC members would like to see the front racks replaced, and perhaps signage to indicate where additional bike parking is located. The amount of parking may not be sufficient for town meeting. There's support for permanent racks, or temporary ones while town meeting is in session.

Adam McNeill (ABAC) will draft a letter to the Town Manager, requesting the return of the racks, or similar measures. The Committee votes in favor of sending the letter.

Jack Johnson (ABAC) recently walked around the new DPW facility. He says there's a large parking lot but no bike parking. He asks if there are racks missing from that location. John Alessi (Town Transportation Planner) will check with the DPW director.

Mr. Alessi is starting to work with the DPW to install new bike racks in Arlington Heights. There will be around 14 of them installed during the spring and summer. Mr. Alessi says we're likely to receive grant funding for around 100 more racks, which will be installed across town during the next 1--3 years.

Someone notes that there's no bike parking at the Ed Burns Arena; this seems odd, since it's located next to the Minuteman Bikeway. Mr. Alessi says his department requested CPA funds for design improvements to the Minuteman, next to the Ed Burns Arena. If the funds are approved, that work could start during the summer.

E-bike Report

There's nothing to report right now.

There's a question about when Arlington's Blue Bike contract will end. The contract goes through 2026.

Jack Johnson (ABAC) believes that Lexington produced a similar report. He suggests getting a copy to see what their position is.

ABAC Budget

Christopher Tonkin (ABAC Chair) says the committee has approximately $3000 in its account. It would cost approximately $400 to hold a bike rodeo at the Ed Burns Arena, plus costs to rent the facility. The committee could organize annual rodeos for several years with the funds they currently have. The Parks and Recreation director was enthusiastic about having such an event.

Some of the committee funds could be used for a speed study on the Bikeway.

Planning Department Update

Mr. Alessi says the town released an RFP for bikeway design improvements. Approximately 13 consultants responded.

We have a consultant working on the final designs for the Mass Ave/Appleton Street intersection. We're hoping to get the designs done in the spring, so we can apply for a MassWorks grant in the summer. The MWRA is planning to do water main work in the area, and that will have to be taken into consideration.

We've submitted an application to the Boston MPO for a grant to turn Broadway into a complete street. The grant could be for as much as $1.4M, and would cover the area between North Union and the Somerville line. Mr. Alessi expects construction to start in 5--10 years, because the project would be following MassDOT standards. As a long-term goal, it would be good to have Arlington's Broadway improvements line up with what Somerville is doing.

Mr. Alessi is trying to schedule the re-installation of Arlington's blue bike docks. Docks that are installed at street level have to be removed during the winter, to facilitate snow clearing. The dock on Broadway will remain on the street. The town is planning to pour concrete pads at some of the locations, so the docks can remain year-round. We may be able to get 3--6 new stations in the future, and we're looking for funding to offset operating costs. Bluebikes charges us a monthly fee per dock, and the fee varies with the number of rides taken (more rides means a smaller fee).

There is a Minuteman wayfinding project, and ABAC is interested to hear what's being planned. The project is being done with a grant from the Chamber of Commerce.

The Department of Planning and Community Development is spearheading a Master Plan update. Mr. Alessi thinks it would be beneficial to have a few transportation people on the advisory committee. Interested parties can apply via the town website.

The town is planning to do construction on the Minuteman Bikeway, in the vicinity of Swan Place. This may require a temporary detour. Members of the committee suggest putting up signage in advance of the work.

The MWRA plans to do maintenance work on a water main that runs underneath the Minuteman bikeway, but they haven't established a definitive timeline yet. They'll also be doing maintenance work in Lexington.

2024 Tour of Arlington

This year's bike tour is scheduled for May 19th. There's a road race in the morning, which should end by 10:00. The committee discusses gathering at 9:30 and departing at 10:00. Russel Commons is the candidate starting location.

Other Business

A committee member offers their yearly plea to have the center line of the Minuteman Bikeway repainted.

Mr. Alessi says he's working on a capital plan request for Minuteman Bikeway improvements. He expects to submit it over the summer.

Cambridge has an e-bike loan library, which gives people a way to try these bikes before buying. See

A Cambridge group is hosting a cargo bike try-out event on April 7th.

The request/answer center (on the town website) can be a useful way to submit requests for maintenance or improvements.

Meeting adjourned.