The Saga of Campus Boulevard, Continued

What to do about driving, cycling and car parking on Campus Boulevard? Right now (well, literally as of about six days ago when I took this photo) it looks like this:

campus lanes

Yeah, I “redacted” the license plate number because: A. The driver of the eastbound parked car is just doing what drivers, some residents, bar hoppers, and shoppers have been doing in droves for years and years and years; B. Better Burque isn’t out to “get anyone,” and is a bit hesitant to even dip into “gotcha” territory, knowing how some react to such things.

Fact is, there’s no “gotcha” here.

This is what Campus Blvd., here between Wellesley and Purdue, has been like seemingly forever. You have the eastbound, uphill, continuation of a very popular bike lane that suddenly isn’t really a bike lane, even though it’s bike lane width, (and sure as hell looks like a bike lane) because cars park all over it and there’s no “No Parking” signage.

The same is true coming back down the hill, westbound, with the conditions that: A. It’s downhill, so cyclists are quicker: B. Cyclists coming this direction are coming from Copper on the other side of Carlisle, which doesn’t have a bike lane. The amount of car parking has always been about the same, however.

campus measurementFYI, a Google bird’s eye view shows the width of Campus between Wellesley and Purdue

Back in 2015, the situation on Campus Blvd. made the news and, in the aftermath, a better solution seemed ready for implementation, one eliminating the de facto faux bike lanes, as well as the center stripe, and signing Campus, a generally “chill” multi-modal experience (as evidenced in part by how popular it is with cyclists, except for the de facto faux bike lanes), as fully shared between cyclists and drivers.

And then something happened to that solution, and now it’s almost 2018…and Campus still looks like this:

campus lanes

The only new wrinkle, not photographed, is that the westbound lane now features “Two Hour Parking” signs, further legitimizing the status quo. If you think about it, placing these parking time limit signs actually has the potential to slightly raise the biggest danger between bicyclists and drivers/car parking: when the driver gets out of the car and drives out of the parking space.

These new signs are really about creating more parking revenue and more parking turnover. Cyclists aren’t being considered at all.

And that’s part of the problem.

That said, Campus still looking like the above shows how complicated a seemingly simple solution can be:

  • Residents want to park on Campus.
  • Frugal drivers hate paying for parking, and Campus is free parking.
  • Nearby businesses want frugal people to park on Campus for free and spend the money they save in parking on stuff at their business.
  • A.R.T. makes a nice bogeyman for all of the above (residents, drivers who hate to pay for parking, nearby businesses), and keeping Campus like this is a nice gift to these groups disaffected by A.R.T. construction.

So Campus still looks like the photo above, just with some “Two Hour Parking” signs westbound, and probably will for quite some time, unless we in the cycling advocacy community can work with the City to overcome the sizable, and recently quite disaffected, constituencies noted above. A tall order.

In conclusion, and segue,  I’m going to propose what might be called on the *TV show “Archer” a ruse:

Fix crossing Campus across Carlisle on to Copper instead.

More about that in the next post.



*And yes, this is the very first Better Burque reference to “Archer.”


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