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Cambridge bike-lane brouhaha heats up as critics vow grassroots takeover

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Say city moving too fast

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Cambridge residents and business owners upset over the city’s recent installation of protected bike lanes along Brattle and Cambridge streets in the Harvard Square area have vowed to take over citywide transportation planning via a grassroots movement.

The declaration came through a November 13 meeting that drew more than 60 people, some of whom did not hold back in criticizing the city and their allies for what they feel were the lanes’ rather rapid rollouts with little to no feedback.

Robert Skenderian, who co-owns a pharmacy on Cambridge Street, referred to “bicycle bullies” in describing the damage the protected lane has done to his business. Resident Gary Mello said bicyclists were “exploiting” the deaths of two riders last year to push for protected lanes.

Attendees applauded his remark, per Cambridge Day’s Marc Levy.

Whether this angst translates into a grassroots takeover of Cambridge transportation planning remains to be seen—it’s only been a couple of days—but the takeover might look something like this: A group working with the city toward other solutions to bicycle safety than the sorts of lanes on Brattle and Cambridge now.

That might mean reconfiguring streets or adding timed bicycle signals akin to vehicular traffic lights.

For now, all sides appear to be circling one another, but a compromise of some sort seems inevitable.