Parking in the bicycle lane

Now that the snow is melting, the bike lanes are finally starting to emerge on Hampshire Street. However, cars are using the bike lane as a parking space — even though it’s clearly marked and the bicycle markings are visible. I understand that clearing snow out of parking spaces is a huge logistical challenge and there’s only so much the city can do about it, but we certainly can do something about parking cars in a lane reserved for vehicular traffic!

I called the City of Cambridge Traffic Department to request enforcement. They were polite and efficient, and said that they’d call in my request. If more people call in to report illegal parking they will be more likely to do something about it. It took less than a minute for me to make the request. To request Traffic Department enforcement, call 617-349-4700 during normal business hours:

Monday 8:30am to 8:00pm
Tuesday – Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
Friday 8:30am to noon

If there are still cars parked in the bike lane on my way home, I’ll call it in again. And again tomorrow, if there are cars parked in the bike lane on my way to work. And so on. Every time people make a call for traffic enforcement it’s put into a database. Even if nothing happens now, a pattern will emerge as the city analyzes parking complaints and conditions and they will be more likely to enforce the law.

Here are some photos from Hampshire Street this morning. There are well over a hundred cars parked in the bike lane and requesting enforcement is a great opportunity to educate motorists on how not to park in such a way that traffic is obstructed:

GOPR0005.MP4_snapshot_06.17_[2013.02.13_15.03.24]

GOPR0005.MP4_snapshot_06.25_[2013.02.13_15.03.40]

GOPR0005.MP4_snapshot_06.29_[2013.02.13_15.03.50]

GOPR0005.MP4_snapshot_06.38_[2013.02.13_15.04.07]

GOPR0005.MP4_snapshot_06.02_[2013.02.13_15.02.36]

GOPR0005.MP4_snapshot_06.06_[2013.02.13_15.02.53]

GOPR0005.MP4_snapshot_06.09_[2013.02.13_15.03.03]

GOPR0005.MP4_snapshot_06.14_[2013.02.13_15.03.14]

4 Comments so far

  1. Charlie on February 13th, 2013

    I complained to Cambridge about this two years ago and they basically told me that parking is more important than the bike lanes when there is snow, so I’ll just have to deal with it.

  2. h4ckw0r7h on February 13th, 2013

    Well that’s discouraging. There isn’t enough space in these roads for motorists to pass cyclists safely without bike lanes. What ends up happening is that cyclists who take the lane can cause a bottleneck on long stretches, and then become the focus of motorist’s anger. Even though the average traffic speed doesn’t change, that kind of bigger thinking isn’t something that most motorists understand when they are waiting behind traffic.

  3. Aaron on February 15th, 2013

    I noticed a few areas where my commute passes through Cambridge that had been cleared of snow in the past couple days. Mostly parking areas, but a bit of bike lane here and there. Is this true throughout Cambridge?

  4. h4ckw0r7h on February 15th, 2013

    It’s definitely improving. I noticed yesterday that Broadway had been plowed really well, for example. Some parts of Mass Ave by Porter Square are still spotty. I’m sure that the large amounts of snowmelt helps.

Leave a reply