Archive forSeptember, 2010

Where not to park

Hello, Cambridge Police Officer on motorcycle parked in bike lane this morning with two 8s in your license plate. There was plenty of space for you to pull in closer to the curb. I see you were jotting down some notes in your notebook – maybe it was a self reminder?

I don’t park my bike in the bike lane. Short of an emergency (no sign of one this morning), neither should you.

SFPD had to learn, too.

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Intersections for Catching Red-Light Runners

Looky all the people talking about Boston PD’s ticketing of cyclists running red lights!

For PDs out there: a short list of  intersections that will net you a good number of red-light runners (think income):

Cambridge/Somerville:

  • Hampshire/Plymouth/Windsor intersection
    *sometimes you’ll also catch cyclists heading the wrong way on Windsor.
  • Mass Ave and Somerville
  • Mass Ave and Beech
  • Mossland and Somerville
  • Beacon and Park Street
  • Beacon and Somerville
  • Beacon and Kirkland
  • Hampshire and Broadway
  • Ames and Broadway
  • Broadway/Main St and Third
  • My guess is that many of those new lights on Somerville Ave are good picks, too

Boston:

  • Charles Street, between Long Fellow Bridge and the Boston Common. Any of those lights will do.
  • School Street Street where it T intersects into Washington Street.
    Cyclists traveling on Washington Street always blow through this light.  Sadly, I’ve seen (more than once) Boston police officers on bikes run this light. While going the wrong way on Washington. Riding two abreast. Yea, it was all sorts of wrong.
  • Crosswalk on Cambridge St near Whole Foods and Joy St.
  • Summer and Chauncy.
    Once upon a time I was riding through a green on Summer. A police officer in a cruise nearly hit me while making a right from Chauncy onto Summer. He yelled at me for not paying attention, and insisted that I must yield to police vehicles. I reminded him that I had the green and his emergency lights were not on. He started to say “be careful who you raise your voice at..” and I rode off – during my green light – unimpressed.

And here’s one for the cycling team: While you’re out there ticketing, PDs, please, please put more sets of eyes on this one intersection:

Cambridge St heading to Longfellow Bridge, in front of Liberty Hotel and Charles/MGH T stop.

Cars waiting to turn off Cambridge onto Soldiers Field Rd, and cars coming off the ramp heading toward Charles street routinely cut off cyclists going into Cambridge, heading straight. I have been in more accidents and close calls at this intersection than any other intersections combined, in the seven years that I’ve tooled around Greater Boston on two wheels. (Before readers file this under my inability to ride safely:  I’ve been in less than five – thankfully small – accidents. This does not change my previous statement. The math is correct.)

From my understanding, this is one of those ambiguous intersections where the State Police and/or Boston Police can be called, in the event of an accident. (Insert long boring story of me trying to get ANY police officer to show up here after a hit-n-run) I don’t know who is responsible for this intersection today, but if you’re reading this and you are (or your department is), please be more proactive here before somebody gets killed.

Now off you go to make some money!

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CitySmart Kit – Bicycle Packet

CitySmart Bicycle Packet

My favorite packet! Oh no, not the least bit biased.

A: Go By Bike pamphlet from MassBike.org. Why bike, types of bikes, equipment list, etc. Back side includes diagrams of bicycle laws and tips on avoiding collision.

B: Black and white photocopied version of a full color Minuteman Bikeway pamphlet. Photos are creepy, font way to small to read comfortably. Decent map of the whole path, though.

C: Patch kit! I’m impressed.

D: More CitySmart reflectors!

E: 9th Edition of Rubel’s Boston Bikemap. This single item is worth ordering this kit.

F: More coupons:

Greenward: 15% off bicycle accessories…but expired on 8/31/10.
Broadway Bicycle School: 1/2 hour of free teaching w/a shop mechanic during shop hours and 10% off any new parts and/or accessories (this is a very, very good deal). Expires 10/1/10.
Menotomy Bikes: 10% off. Expires 10/1/10. This is one of my top three favorite bike shops in the area.
The Bicycle Exchange: $25 off new adult bike, $15 off on bike tune up, $10 off on helmet or u-lock, 20% off one accessory. Not clear if I can get ALL those or just have to pick one (I don’t see the word ‘or’ anywhere). Excludes sale items. Expires 10/1/10.
Urban Adventours: 20% off regular 10am-2pm bike tours and hybrid rentals. Expires 10/1/10.

(Oops, Greenward!)

G: Cambridge Police Department Bicycle Registration Card. I’m very pleased to find this.

H: Bicycle Wayfinding Route map from CitySmart. Ok. I give up. I have no idea what a Wayfinding Route is. Not really sure what this map has that the Getting Around Cambridge map doesn’t already show in more details, not to mention the Rubel map that is already in this packet.

I: Bicycle Safety pamphlet from the Cambridge Police Department. I’d really like it if Cambridge officers would please ticket according to these laws that they’re handing out.

J: Take Your Bike for a Ride pamphlet from the MBTA, with info on bike rules on various transportation modes. The back shows photo and description of how to secure a bike to a bus equipped with bicycle rack, and tells you how they’re not responsible for any damages.

K: Bikes Not Bombs pamphlet with info on what they’re about, how to get involved, how to donate.

So, a final list of items that I find practical, useful, and plan to keep/use for at last a short while:

  1. “watch for bikes” mirror sticker
  2. CitySmart Reflective stickers from two different packets
  3. Green ID holder
  4. Walk Boston East Cambridge Map, for next time I visit my friends who live in that neighborhood
  5. 2010 CharlieCard discount book to flip through at least one more time (and then probably give away)
  6. Getting Around in Cambridge map, plus distance guide overlay
  7. Cambridge Police Department Bicycle Registration Card
  8. Coupons for: Menotomy, Broadway Bicycle School, The Bicycle Exchange, and maybe Urban Adventours
  9. Rubel’s Boston Bikemap
  10. CitySmart keychain
  11. CitySmart pedometer
  12. Patch kit

Also, I’ve used my tote for grocery shopping already.

You can pick which packets you want to receive and these few posts should help you decide.  If you’re looking for one packet to order: Definitely the bicycle packet. The Rubel map and patch are really wonderful tools to have around as a cyclists in this area.

Seriously, North Cambridge residents should get your tote now.  Took me two whole minutes to order. It is FREEDeadline is October 1st.

FREE. Thank me later.

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CitySmart Kit – Car, T, Pedestrian Packets

CitySmart Kit – Car Packet
The Car Packet was the Most Boring.

A: Note on tips for carpooling, things like “don’t be late,” “communicate,” and (basically) “how to play nice.”
B: 10 Simple Steps to Improve Air Quality pamphlet, from MassRides. In Spanish on the reverse side.
C: Travel Options pamphlet from MassRides. List of services front/back.
D: CitySmart keychain + red LED light.  Made in China.
E: Second useful things in one small packet: pretty good pen, also from MassRides.

CitySmart Kit – T Packet
T Packet:

A:
Schedule of Fitchburg Line, goes right through Porter Sq. (N.Cambridge, where pilot program is in progress)
B: Good info on public transit in/around N. Cambridge, including: phone numbers, transit costs, and a complete list of buses that come through this area and where they start/end
C: 10 in ’10 MBTA Bus Challenge, from The Green Streets Initiative. Ride 10 different bus lines in Cambridge in 2010 and record them on this card, or online, and then join their awards celebration in Jan 2011. (Good idea, but I think I’ll just ride my bike.)
D: ID/card holder from the City of Cambridge thanking me for using public transportation (you’re welcome!)
E: All the area bus lines’ schedules (effective through September 3, 2010)
F: 2010 CharlieCard Discount Book. Pretty beefy list, and I had no idea flashing the CharlieCard can give me discounts. (If only I can trade in the discount for a cheaper card, that’d be swell.)

CitySmart Kit – Ped Packet
Pedestrian Packet: Ok, this packet is in the running for Most Boring.

A: About Walking pamphlet from walkBoston. Tips, facts, insights, and laws for pedestrians.
B: Totally redeems the packet: CitySmart to the rescue and includes a step-counter pedometer that I will figure out one day (how does it know!?)
C: a walkBoston map for East Cambridge. Curious. Will consult the T packet for a bus to E. Cambridge. (some neat historical buildings + info though! Would love one like it for N. Cambridge. Maybe the buildings here aren’t as interesting.)
D: Pedestrian Signals pamphlet. Stuff your parents should have noted when you were 4-ish.
E: Walk this Way pamphlet from City of Cambridge, adapted from WalkingInfo.org.  Walking for fitness tips, safety tips for pedestrians, drivers, benefits of walking. Photo of cute dog.

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CitySmart Kit – CitySmart Packet

A: Pamphlet: from Cambridge Energy Alliance on how they will help make your home more energy efficient.
B: Pamphlet: “The REAL cost of Driving Alone,” from City of Cambridge, opens up to a bunch of fill-in-the-blanks math problems, plus a card on “6 Smart Driving Tips” (keep tires inflated, turn off engine when idling, etc)
C: Print out from Same Roads. Same Rules., Motorists tips on one side and cyclists tips on the other.
D: CitySmart reflective stickers!
E: Pamphlet: Climate Tips from the City of Cambridge
F: Card: Walk/Ride Day Dates (last Friday of every month) from the Green Streets Initiative.
G: Coupon: 10% off any class package, first time students get one week of complementary yoga to Baptise.
H: Getting Around in Cambridge Map. An excellent map with lots of info on alternative transportation options, plus additional tips printed on the flip side.
I: A thing to go with the map to trace out time, mode of travel, and distance covered. For example: inner most circle is 5 minutes by walking, marks 1/4 mile.  Pretty right on (shows that they considered possible red lights!).
J: Pamphlet from Livable Streets Alliance. (HI JACKIE!)
K: Coupon: $10 off a one hour message at Hands-On Health Associates, with their phone number (no website!)
L: Cambridge Farmers Market Map for 2010! Legend shows: day, time, neighborhood,  specific location, and 2010 dates. Another thumbs-up-map. AND it includes Davis Square and Union Square Farmers Markets even though they’re not technically in Cambridge, but are convenient for North Cambridge and East Cambridge residents, respectively. Well done.
M: Bumper sticker. (I had wished for a joke in that small print)
N: City of Cambridge Mirror Decals! Another clever idea. Static cling sticker to be placed at the bottom of the rear view mirrors. I’m a fan!

Besides the various stickers, I very much dug the Yes/No photo spread on the flip side of map (H). Check it out:

Getting Around Cambridge Map - Yes/No photos

Any questions?

(If only I had a buck for every time I’ve told a driver “Not a parking space!”…)

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CitySmart Kit

Last weekend I got my free CitySmart kit.

CitySmart Tote

CitySmart Logo

Today I finally dug in. This is what the City of Cambridge will send you as part of this pilot program, if you happen to live in N. Cambridge, if you happen to have seen the newsletter they sent at some point before today, and if you happened to remember to ask for it:

City Smart Tote and its content

A: Cambridge Calendar of Events Fall 2010, including Ongoing Events, Special Events listed by months (Sept-Nov), and Places of Interest (I’d like to see recurring annual events, too, as semi-permanent-resident)
B: A note congratulating me on participating, inviting me to Park(ing) Day 2010 (highly recommended: 9/17)
C: A card about MetroPedalPower (MPP YEA – )
D: “Fast, Flexible, Fun” water bottle (heeheeehee their slogan sounds like a cheap date)
E: le tote
F: Packet re: Car stuff
G: Packet re:  stuff that didn’t quite fit into other stuff but still cool to have
H: Packet re: Pedestrian stuff
I: Packet re: T stuff
J: Packet re: Bike stuff
K: (I took this out, laid it down, photo-d it, and then realized that it is meant to be a hard bottom for the tote)…..(The “Fast, Flexible, Fun” tote’s hard bottom. HA.)

Anyway, CitySmart is

a pilot program to test the application of social marketing techniques on transportation choices. Based on successful implementation in Europe, Australia and the United States, we hope to achieve a shift of approximately 10% of single-occupant vehicle trips to more sustainable modes, such as walking, bicycling and transit.

Ordering was very simple and quick (online form here).  My tote was delivered right to my door as promised, by MetroPedalPower (HIBEEZWAX!). Here’s MPP’s recent shout-out re: CitySmart.

If you live in N. Cambridge and you have not yet ordered a kit, please do! More kits = more interest from residents = more support from Cambridge to fund projects like these. The kit is FREE! DEADLINE TO ORDER IS OCT 1 2010! The Fast, Flexible, Fun program is moving on after this month.

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