Kyra Anderson: Common Sense

Posted: 12/20/2021 3:32:52 PM Modified: 12/20/2021 15:32:38 PM Kenneth Albert, an engineer and town planner with 30 years of exper...


Posted: 12/20/2021 3:32:52 PM

Modified: 12/20/2021 15:32:38 PM

Kenneth Albert, an engineer and town planner with 30 years of experience in New Jersey, has an idea: to avoid accidents involving bicycles, just ban them from downtown streets. Its logic: if 60% of injuries due to accidents involve bicycles, the solution is to remove the planned cycle lanes.

Gee, this logic could solve a lot of problems. If 100% of accidents involve cars, why not just cut the lanes for motor vehicles?

Mr. Albert’s plan would not work in Massachusetts where cyclists “have the right to use all public roads” (MGL 85, Section 11B). There is an exception for limited access or express highways.

Perhaps that is what Mr. Albert has in mind. But in Massachusetts we actually have a law that prohibits motor vehicles from parking or parking in a cycle lane on the street (MGL 89, Section 4D).

So if we designate all of Main Street as a cycle lane, we can exclude motor vehicles. It would be more convenient and much safer for all pedestrians and cyclists if motorists had to park their cars and then walk to their destination in the city center.

Mr Albert was forcing cyclists to lock their bikes and walk from the outskirts of town like outcasts. I have a better idea: to create a place right in the city center where drivers can leave their cars. We could even install an elevator and walkway from this multi-level ‘parking structure’ that would lead directly to Thornes market with access to the main street, all at street level.

Wait. We already have this thing: the Northampton parking lot. It’s hardly ever full, conveniently located, protects us from the elements and offers the first hour of free parking. Let’s use it, and our common sense.

Kyra Anderson

Northampton



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