Saturday, May 9
This morning, after getting home at 1:00 am last night after driving all day
from Indiana bringing my daughter home from college, I biked up to Somerville
to ride in the National Train Day ride along the route of the Mass. Central
Railroad. I wasn't sure I'd get there on time, but I made it and followed
Dick and Roberta Bauer on their tandem with about 20 other people across
Somerville, Cambridge, Belmont, and Watertown. Stuart Brorson led some of us
on an interesting shortcut through Beaver Brook Reservation and corporate
parking lots closer to the rail line and nicer to ride that the Pleasant St./MA 60
alternative. I left the group at the
Waltham Highlands station, which is now a real estate office.It was a beautiful
day, and I got to test out a Tour de Farm route, too.
I didn't have to get up quite as early to make it to Jamaica Plain for the
11:00 am start of the "JP Rolls" ride along the trolley-track-free South and
Centre Streets. There must have been around 100 people with lots of families
with kids celebrating Mothers Day together. I road next to one mom who had
a kid in a child seat and two in a trailer behind her. We even had a police
escort, which I did not expect. The new "JPBikes 02130" t-shirts came in two
colors, green and natural, and I couldn't ecide which to buy, so I bought one
After the festival died down. Jeff Ferris, a woman named Joanne from Newton, and I biked over to Prince St. to look at the possibility of bike lanes or an on-street path. We spent 20 minutes or more there, watching the three cars that passed, talking to a couple of pedestrians who walked by, and pacing off the width of the road (a bit less than 25 feet). We watched the cars hug the right side of the road and decided that a two way striped path on the Pond side of the road, the method that Boston Bicyclist Advisory Board member and landscape architect Herb Nolan has proposed, would work best. I got a picture of Jeff and Joanne trying it out.
Since I can't make a planned Monday meeting with Aldo Ghirin to look at the maybe-still-possible West Roxbury Greenway, Jeff suggested that we check it out today. Joanne split at Lagrange St., and Jeff and I headed down to the old station site across from Shaw's on Spring St. We bike along the dirt path on the first section which neighbors want the city to take over as a park. The next stretch, along Belle Ave., was totally sold off to "abutters", most of whom seemed to have defied the intent of the city's Backyards program, which I thought was intended for people to buy adjacent abandoned land cheaply to add to their backyards, by selling it off for development. There are two new houses already in place and three parcels for sale for development by three different realtors. There is not even room for a sidewalk on the side where the houses were built. Is this an oversite by the city or something worse? We expected to use the road and sidewalk(s) to get pedestrians across this stretch of the trail, but losing the fight to keep the trail intact so that people could build more houses in a neighborhood which lacks open space makes me mad. Further along, there is a platted city street between the partially sold-off right of way and the businesses along the VFW Parkway/Providence Highway, but it seems that several homeowners have built, fenced, and/or paved over the city's land, too.
Today was the first of four two-breakfast-a-day rides from Roslindale Square with RozzieBikes. Three of us rode up the Southwest Corridor, the Melnea Cass Bikepath, and the South Bay Harbor Trail to the South Boston Seaport TMA's breakfast at the World Trade Center West. They had pastries, orange juice, and free massages. We didn't hang around long enough for a massage, but proceeded to University Park in Cambridge for scones and coffee with the Charles River TMA and the city of Cambridge. On the way, we stayed off-road as much as possible, using the North End Charlestown Bridge underpass and the Lechmere Canal path as well as a number of Cambridge on-street bike lanes.
I biked to City Hall for Mayor Menino's Bike Day kick-off at noon, getting there from North Cambridge in not much more than 20 minutes with a great tailwind. Nicole Freedman led us on a ride to Christopher Columbus Park on the waterfront where the Mayor met us. Mass Highway Commissioner Luisa Paiewonsky biked to work today and met us, too. Richard Fried was a spirited MC, promoting the healthfulness of cycling as well as its fun. Despite being off his bike, the Mayor seems to be as supportive of our efforts as he was last year when I rode next to him.
After work, I stopped in Brookline on my way home to see Ray Kurzweil talk about the coming Singularity, the merger of humans and their machines. In line before the program, I had a nice chat with a cycling psychiatrist and her rock drummer friend. Kurzweil definitely attracted a diverse group to his talk about a world that we older people glimpse in the younger generation's devotion to their cell phones and the rise of Twitter.
This morning Laura Smeaton and I biked to Broadway Bicycle School for their traditional pancake breakfast. It was crowded, and there were lots of younger people I don't know. It was great! Dick Bauer and I biked up to the Charles River TMA breakfast at Alewife T Station. I was surprised at how many cyclists biked by without a word! I only remember one giving us a reason why she didn't stop, a mother pulling two kids in a trailer to daycare who said she was late. Probably everyone else who zipped by was late to whereever they were going, too...
At 11:30, I biked down to the Harvard Divinity School parking lot to see
the ribbon cutting for the new-last-fall solar-powered (lighting) bike
shed. It was really nice, and fit its site well, maybe better than it
would have fit in any of the 14 other locations it was designed for along