BOSTON

Cyclists Fight to Keep Lane Protectors on Longfellow Bridge

On a cold night in Boston, Maggie Wilson was just trying to get home.

"It's easy and the quickest way to get home. Yeah, I usually bike across the bridge here," Wilson said, as she bundled up to cross the Longfellow Bridge on her bike.

Wilson was not happy to hear that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation soon plans to pull flex posts on the bridge that provide a barrier between bikes and those driving across.

MassDOT says the move is necessary with winter coming.

"It seems a little sketchy, especially at rush hour right now, traffic is pretty heavy," Wilson said. "Would feel a lot safer if they kept them there. Peace of mind, you know?"

"Snow removal on bridges requires extra care and caution during a storm event," MassDOT said in a statement. "There is limited shoulder space so snow cannot be pushed to the shoulder area and stored until it melts and, in addition, plows are not allowed to move snow over the sides of the bridge."

"Additionally, keeping the flex posts in place would restrict plow access to the bicycle lanes and would delay snow removal operations in the bicycle lanes until post-storm cleanup activities," the statement went on to say. "This would encourage bicyclists to travel in vehicular lanes during storm events when there is limited visibility and challenging roadway conditions."

Cyclists are not convinced.

"This isn't a fringe issue, this is going to be impacting thousands of people on a daily basis," Rebecca Wolfson, executive director of the Boston Cyclist Union, said Wednesday.

MassDOT says it will start removing the flex posts on Sunday night and they will return this spring.

"Snow removal is really only a concern maybe 5-10 times a winter, and we are going to have four months of winter with no separation, which is absolutely unacceptable," Wolfson said.

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