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BU Survey Seeks to Improve Campus Bicycling

Input from cyclists and noncyclists requested by May 12


Do you bike to or around campus? What route and safety improvements are needed? What’s the availability of bike storage space and of safety and incentive programs? Whether you get around on two wheels or not, three minutes of your time could help the University address these issues.

BU is conducting an online bike survey through Friday, May 12, for students, faculty, and staff to help draft a Master Bike Plan for the Charles River Campus. More than 1,500 responses have poured in so far. The survey, which can be found here, includes an interactive map that allows respondents to draw their biking routes with key points, as well as to comment on the pros and cons of those routes.

“Bicycles provide a healthy, affordable, safe, and environmentally friendly way to get around,” says Carl Larson, BU’s Parking & Transportation Services transportation demand management and marketing manager. “This plan will allow BU to take a consistent and strategic approach to short- and long-term campus infrastructure and transportation initiatives, as well as bicycle safety and encouragement strategies.…We are particularly interested in input from less-confident riders or those who don’t currently opt to ride.”

The University Space Committee will approve a plan by the fall. The Twitter hashtag for the plan-drafting effort is #BikeUpBU.

The city of Boston has already announced plans to install a barrier between bicyclists and motorists on Commonwealth Avenue from the BU Bridge to Packards Corner.

Rich Barlow, Senior Writer, BU Today, Bostonia, Boston University
Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

10 Comments on BU Survey Seeks to Improve Campus Bicycling

  • Gunnar Thorsen on 05.03.2017 at 8:22 am

    Here’s a suggestion for making biking safer at B.U.: it’s illegal in the City of Boston to park vehicles in bike lanes that abut curbs, as this forces bicyclists out into traffic. Nevertheless, the bike lane in front of the G.S.U. on busy Commonwealth Ave. is routinely filled with delivery trucks servicing G.S.U. eateries, B.U. vehicles, and on occasion – oddly enough – the truck that services the bicycle sharing station that’s there! B.U. vehicles like shuttle buses could park behind the G.S.U. Delivery trucks have a loading dock at their disposal.

    Last year, the elderly wife of a B.U. employee got a $100 ticket for briefly parking in front of the GSU, as she escorted her cane-using husband in. The other gazillion “professionals” who park there year round? No fines, no problem, and no response from the City of Boston as to “why”. If it’s illegal to park in certain bike lanes (there’s a sign to this effect in front of the G.S.U. for crying out loud), and if B.U. is concerned about making things safer for bicyclists, then it should address this matter. The city should also enforce the law across the board and fine the drivers of B.U. shuttle buses and ACME Potato Chip trucks, not just elderly women on fixed incomes.

    • Carl on 05.03.2017 at 2:23 pm

      I agree with you completely, Gunnar. I hope you’ve taken the survey and shared these thoughts on the editable map: http://bu.edu/bikesafety/plan

    • Danielle on 05.04.2017 at 5:10 am

      100% agree. I’ve had many buses (BU and MBTA) and delivery trucks come wayyyy too closes in front of GSU

  • John Paul Riquelme on 05.03.2017 at 10:55 am

    The BU and City police need to enforce the no stopping and no parking for cars in the bike lanes between Kenmore and the BU Bridge. The lanes are frequently blocked. I bike that stretch regularly and have never seen the police making cars move. Of course, the law needs to be enforced everywhere, but the blocked bike lane in that stretch is a constant problem and danger for cyclists.

  • Yin on 05.03.2017 at 2:10 pm

    The biking environment is not safe and it is better to be improved to reduce the carbon footprint.

  • Eve on 05.03.2017 at 5:24 pm

    I agree. Some of these are easy fixes. The only time of the year where there are no parked cars on Comm. Ave. (especially in front of Warren Towers) is on Move-In/Move-Out days when there is actually a BU PD officer standing there and there are traffic cones between traffic and the bike lane along that entire block.

  • Just another BU parent on 05.03.2017 at 7:24 pm

    Why does the cyclist in the picture not have a helmet on?

    • Ben on 05.04.2017 at 2:24 pm

      Hopefully it’s because someone’s aware of the research on bike helmet safety. (Short version: the evidence that they help is tenuous (e.g. the main paper people cite is a laughingstock among those who have actually read it), and there are more reasons to think that they do harm.)

      More likely, since the USA as a whole has been pretty thoroughly brainwashed, someone was just careless.

      But yes, it’s an interesting question :)

  • Stephanie H. on 05.04.2017 at 9:55 am

    Thank you for offering the survey and interactive map to the BU community. It’s encouraging when all are asked to provide input.

  • Ben on 05.04.2017 at 2:32 pm

    BU needs a campus. Close Comm Ave to cars, bury the T, and create something green. This seems like a no-brainer even before you read the research on the value of open car-free space on health.

    But since Boston may not care:

    * Lower the speed limit on Comm Ave to bike-compatible speeds (20 mph tops).

    * There’s scant need for 2 lanes of car traffic. Put hard dividers between the two lanes each way, and make one unavailable to motor vehicles. (Bike lanes need to be several bike-widths wide since cyclists go at a wide variety of speeds, whereas cars all go at the same speed so there is no need to create room to pass. And creating room for more cars to just sit there in traffic is, to borrow Donald Shoup’s brilliant comment about free parking, “a fertility drug for cars”.)

    * Laws are pointless if the expected cost of breaking them is close to zero. Maybe enforce one or two of them every decade or so…?

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