This City’s New Bike Lane Law is ‘Bikelash’-Proof (4-11-19)

A cyclist on a bike path in Somerville, Mass. LISA POOLE/AP PHOTO

There’s been a strategic breakthrough on the front lines of the American bike wars: This week, the Boston suburb of Cambridge mandated that protected cycling lanes be installed on all streets that are slated for reconstruction under existing city plans.

Passed by the city council on April 8, the ordinance appears to be the first of its kind in the U.S., and allows Cambridge—a dense university town that already has an unusually high share of bike commuters—to ascend into the ranks of the most progressive bicycling cities in the country. Local law now requires the city to erect vertical barriers between cyclists and cars on any roadway that’s rebuilt, expanded, or reconfigured under the Cambridge Bicycle Plan, a proposed 20-mile network of separated lanes, or the city’s five-year street and sidewalk plan. Only in “rare circumstances” where the city manager must cite physical or financial restraints will there be exceptions.

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