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Cambridge’s new bike lanes spur opposition from locals, businesses

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Critics: Too much, too fast

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Some business owners and other residents—and pedestrians—have greeted Cambridge’s rapid-fire installation of 1.25 miles of protected bike lanes with criticism and a plea to hit the brakes on additional ones for now.

Officials appear to be getting the message, per Cambridge Day’s Marc Levy. Mayor Denise Simmons said the city “did the right thing the wrong way” in installing the lanes without much public input and perhaps a little too fast.

The new lanes, which seemed to have sprung up overnight over the summer, run along Brattle and Cambridge streets in the busy, busy Harvard Square area. They were erected in part in response to the deaths of two cyclists in 2016.

Critics cite two main concerns in their critiques. One, that the city didn’t solicit enough information on where and when to install the lanes. Two, that the city listened a little too much to non-Cantabrigians—maybe unavoidable in a densely packed urban region where a daily bike commute might run through two or three municipalities.

So where does this bikelash—City Councilwoman Jan Devereux’s term—leave things?

Cambridge eventually wants to install about 20 miles of protected bike lanes (the city has installed 4 so far, including the Harvard Square runs). At some point before that, though, according to Simmons, the city would like to create a feedback loop with locals with single points of contact for each project.

Stay tuned.