( a little historyCollapse )( the problemCollapse )( a good solutionCollapse )
Last night was the DOT hearing for the Beacon Street Reconstruction Project. I strongly prefer the alternate proposal but from a cyclists' and overall safety perspective rather than because of the parking. Pat Jehlen encouraged me to prepare some remarks not just because she is also primarily concerned with safety but also because she wants to blow a hole in the cyclists-vs-nimbys narrative.
I got there good and early and sat in a spot that would ensure I could speak at the beginning. We were asked to limit ourselves to 2-3 minutes and the first speaker rambled on about parking for 5 minutes, never really touching on any of the specific problems with the city's proposal. I went next and also took 5 minutes to give all of my remarks, knowing that I was going over but also knowing that there had not been an admonishment to the speakers on time and also that such an admonishment coming after my speech would help the points I was making rather than hurting them (other cogent speakers who went over time were cheered for doing so). Speaking before any of the other cyclists seemed to take the wind out of a lot of "cycle tracks are good so this cycle track is good" speeches, and generally I feel like I set the tone by focusing on safety. I hope it works.
I had to leave after about an hour of comment and there was still quite a line, though some people had had time to get through it twice. As I was leaving several people asked me for copies of the speech, for more information (I had some studies with me), or for my email address. I also made sure that the project folks and the reporter from the Somerville Journal had copies of my remarks. You all should have them too, so ( here they are.Collapse )