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Bike Lane Advocates Crowd City Council Meeting

By Nicholas W. Sundberg, Crimson Staff Writer

UPDATED: January 31, 2017 at 1:16 p.m.

Dozens of Cambridge residents advocated for building more bike lanes around Cambridge at a City Council Monday, criticizing the rate of bike lane construction proposed in a report from City Manager Louis A. DePasquale.

Following a number of cycling accidents and fatalities in Cambridge in past months, citizens said they supported the city’s pilot program that installed “pop-up” bike lanes, but also pressured the council to act more aggressively on bike safety. They called for the city to quickly construct additional bike lanes.

DePasquale's report comes after the city installed protected bicycle lanes along two sections of Massachusetts Avenue in front of Harvard Law School and Cambridge’s Lafayette Square. City Councillors and Cambridge residents praised the lanes, which separate cyclists from parked cars and traffic.

Following a lengthy public comment period, City Councillor Craig A. Kelley said he supported moving forward with planning and development of more bike lanes, but spoke of the necessity of communicating clearly with the public about when and where development would be taking place.

“We need to clarify expectations,” he said. “It still seems to be going slowly.”

DePasquale responded to criticisms that his report did propose the construction of bike lanes in a timely manner, arguing that the city needs to both move forward with bike lane construction rapidly and ensure that members of the public have a chance to comment on the plans.

“I really think we are moving at a very reasonable pace,” DePasquale said. “Some people say we're moving too fast. There’s a real balance there...we’re trying to be responsive.”

Councillors also said at the meeting they were pleased by city commissioners’ efforts to places pieces of art in Cambridge businesses. The efforts follow previous requests by the Council to develop a better way to allocate grants and fund local artists.

“This is exactly what we asked for,” Councillor Nadeem A. Mazen said.

Attendees also discussed a proposal considering the installation of 50 to 60 cigarette butt disposal stations around the city. The proposal came just weeks after a 10-alarm fire in East Cambridge, which investigators say was caused by “careless disposal of smoking material.”

—Staff writer Nicholas W. Sundberg can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @NickWSundberg.

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