Skyway bike ride had a downside
It was nice to see all the bicyclists enjoying Saturday’s Skyway ride. It was much harder to monitor the anger, pain and betrayal that washed across the waterfront via text and emails afterward.
I doubt many of the participants would have enjoyed the day as much if they knew the event’s road closings, much more restrictive than promised, were damaging businesses, costing workers and disrupting the plans of those who use the boat launches and rent more than a thousand slips in that area. Ultimately, this hurts the biking community.
There are fundamental differences between closing waterfront roads and closing them elsewhere; there are no “back roads” to waterfront attractions and marine businesses, and seasonal enterprises are trying to survive on revenues from only about 15 warm-weather weekends per year. If the city gave this any thought at all, it might question a strategy of encouraging a healthy and vibrant waterfront with one hand and crippling it with the other.
It’s not just GObike, it’s the increasing demand for race, walk and bike events, many of them marketing the new “in” place in town. For this event, GObike didn’t have to close the Skyway. It could have just closed the outbound half, let its riders use the elevated two-lane portion of Route 5 that had to be closed anyway, turned them short of the Tifft Street exits and sent them back the same way. With Tifft and Ohio Streets and the inbound ramps open, there would have been unfettered waterfront access, the bikers would have had the same scenery along a stretch of road they couldn’t normally use, traffic control would have been easier and there would even have been a bit less of an uphill climb. Why didn’t that occur to the permit-stampers at City Hall?
Coordinator, Waterfront Working Group