Massachusetts envisions new bike trails - What happened to "fix it first"?

It is nice that the State is considering a plan to spend $82 million on 100 miles of new bike trails (Massachusetts envisions extensive bike trail - The Boston Globe). Safe and attractive places to bicycle are wonderful things to have and help promote physical fitness and non-automotive transportation. It would be even nicer to see the State fix the bike paths we already have that are unsafe and virtually unusable.

In my opinion, making the paths along the Charles River in Boston rideable should come before creating a 120 mile trail from Lowell to Westfield (here's a map for everyone who, like me, needs to be reminded where Westfield is). I don't know where the Ware River Valley is, but I know that hundreds of people a day ride along the Charles and have to deal with paths that are too narrow, too bumpy where tree roots have grown under the asphalt, and just plain wrong for bikes (the wooden boardwalk under the B.U. Bridge).

Not that I was any big fan of the Romney Administration, but I do think he made a lot of sense when he talked about a "fix it first" policy for our roads, bridges, and other parts of our infrastructure. But this policy seems to be out of vogue with the current administration, especially because just last month the Globe wrote about the sad condition of the Charles River Bike Path.

"Because financing is tight, said Dan Driscoll, the Department of Conservation and Recreation's director of bikeways and green infrastructure, the department has been doing path upgrades on a piecemeal basis in the last several years. To "do everything that's in bad shape" along the entire path, and fix up riverside parklands, would cost $20 million."

So if there is the possibility of $82 million to make new bike paths in parts of the State where they will get much less use, let's also see the $20 million to fix what would be one of the most heavily used bike paths in all of Massachusetts.


  1. Anonymous4:14 PM

    Yeah, I had the same thought. Especially if they want to encourage bike commuting, the Charles River Path should be high on the priority list. I tried to use it once, and I'm a fairly novice low-speed rider and I could not manage it - it was just too bumpy.

  2. Anonymous6:57 PM

    I'm taking bets on how long it will be before the wooden path under the BU bridge gets a hole in it. It's already coming apart bad enough to cause a flat if you're not really, really careful.