A recent story on WCAI radio claimed that there were over 65 bicycle crashes in town this year through September and that there has been a 25 percent increase in crashes over the past five years. The Bicycle Committee requests crash data from the Provincetown Police Department on a calendar year basis, so we can’t yet verify this. I’ve reached out to the committee’s police liaison to find out what numbers were provided to the reporter.
Here’s the data we do have:
If the 65 crash number for 2016 is accurate, that’s a whopping 88 percent increase from last year.
Every fall the Provincetown Board of Selectmen hold their annual traffic hearing where town residents, town boards, selectmen and town staff can submit requests for changes within a town road right-of-way.
This year’s hearing on October 25 had the usual requests for signs and crosswalks as well as a number of bike-related items.
Here’s how the bike requests fared:
The Provincetown 365 request for bike racks was partly approved, with the selectmen agreeing to swap out three parking spaces at the Johnson Street lot for bike racks. They also approved a rack for the Gosnold Street landing near the Julie Heller Gallery and provisionally approved a rack in front of the Police Station on Shank Painter Rd. pending the police chief’s review. The approved bike racks will provide year-round parking for over 40 bicycles.
The Bicycle Committee request to add a fine to the parking regulations for “Obstructing a marked bicycle lane” was approved, with the fine set at $100. There was surprisingly little discussion about this.
The Bicycle Committee request for clarifying signage for the 2-way bike travel on Commercial Street got mired in discussions of prior efforts to put sharrows on the street and in the end the entire proposal was voted down. This was despite staff support for adding “except bicycles” to the “Do not enter” signs and two “no turn” signs along the street. The general attitude seems to be that any sign is unwelcome despite the vast sign clutter that already exists. I was specifically asked if there were signs that could be removed, and indeed I do have a list of outdated, confusing, or plainly unnecessary signs that I will bring back to a future selectmen meeting.
The Bicycle Committee request for climbing lanes on the section of Bradford Street from Franklin Street to Prince Street was tabled. Department of Public Works director Richard Waldo said earlier in the meeting that this section of road will be repaved and the sidewalk repaired in 2017, so there will be an opportunity to consider a new layout as that project moves forward. I asked specifically for guidance from the selectmen on removing parking to make the street safer and was asked to locate alternate parking spaces for those vehicles. The Committee attempted a similar project back in 2012 and had support from over 300 people on a petition, but it never went anywhere.
Finally, a citizen request to restripe the section of Bradford Street Extension where it meets Province Lands Road was supported by the selectmen. There are signs at this location that say “Private Parking” even though the cars are parking in the town right-of-way. The selectmen voted to remove the parking and define the wide bike and pedestrian shoulder with paint.
The next annual traffic hearing will take place in the fall of 2017.
There’s been lots happening this summer here in town bikewise.
New pavement markings
In June, the new bike lanes and sharrows were painted on Shank Painter Road, and the new sharrows went in on a short, narrow segment of Conwell Street. Other than the occasional complaint of delivery vehicles parking in the newly-marked lanes and some people who continue to bike in the wrong direction, response has been overwhelmingly positive.
New bike racks
In August, racks for 60 bicycles were installed at Court Street and Pearl Street landings. They were immediately filled with bicycles, and my brief chats with folks who were using them were positive. The racks installed are Saris corral racks, which are five inverted-Us mounted to channels. They’re also angled on the channel at 30 degrees, so they take up a little less space than regular perpendicular racks.
Each rack can hold up to 10 bicycles, but the demand for bike parking at Court Street landing had over 60 bikes attached to its four new racks. Previously people locked their bikes here to a railing along the wall, and no more than 25 bikes could fit in that configuration. Concerns about motor vehicles being able to squeeze through past the racks were unfounded, and residents who live on the landing had positive things to say.
The two new racks at Pearl Street Landing were well utilized, though their off-the-beaten-path location meant they were not as heavily used as the Court St. racks.
Along with the new racks, a series of new bike parking signs were installed along Commercial Street to help direct people to the bike parking areas with the most capacity.
These racks were funded by the Bicycle Committee and the Finance Committee and assembled and installed by the Department of Public Works.
We purposely did not mount them to the asphalt so that the Department of Public Works will be able to remove them if need be for snow plowing operations over the winter.
Planning for the bike racks was done by volunteers with Provincetown 365, and that group has a long-term plan that would install up to another 300 bike spaces around town in the next two years.
Education & Outreach
The Bicycle Committee redesigned its bike map & safety guide brochure, and 25,000 copies were printed for the summer season. It includes new cover art, a new map, and updated safety info. They’re available at the bike shops and all over town. The fantastic new cover art Brandon Michael will be used throughout future campaigns.
A series of educational stickers were deployed on all of the town bike racks, with three messages: Did you lock your bike?, Bike Racks Map with a QR code and URL to the online map, and a Public Bike Rack logo to identify the town racks. The stickers faded and scraped off over the course of the summer, so we’re experimenting with a transparent UV film to cover the stickers to see if that will extend their life.
Provincetown 365 designed a sharrow education poster to let people know that sharrows were coming and distributed over 2,000 sharrow postcards around town. The cards were printed thanks to the financial assistance of the Tourism Office and the Planning Department.
The Bicycle Committee tabled at Firehouse #3 several times during the season and gave out over 100 bike lights, reflective straps, and other swag to anyone who completed the bike safety quiz. The new committee tablecloth made its debut and some extra bike parking signs on hand to show off.
There’s lots of planning work coming up this fall, with the anticipated release of the Outer Cape Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, the Fall Traffic Hearing with requests for more bike racks, bike repair stations, and more.
Bike month is here and there’s a lot going on around town! May is officially National Bike Month, and has been since 1956. Here’s what we’re up to in Provincetown…
Bike Parking Signs
New bike parking signs are now up along Commercial St. to direct riders to the bike racks at the following locations:
Joe Coffee (170 Commercial St.)
Ryder St Ext
Lopes Square & MacMillan Pier
Tourism Office (330 Commercial St.).
The Provincetown Department of Public Works developed these sign designs in collaboration with Provincetown 365 and the Bicycle Committee. We looked at signs from Europe, signs from US cities (which are very few), and the MUTCD standard design and made a recommendation for something that would be graphically identifiable and used as little text as possible. DPW came up with this design as something that could be produced in-house at a low cost. It works well with the existing (also green) Bike Route and 2-Way Bike Traffic signs that are already installed around town.
The signs come in two versions – a long one that goes on the top of a street sign pole and a tall version for regular sign poles. The sign installations are double-sided so that people on bikes can see them when riding either way on Commercial Street.
Getting support from elected officials and town staff for little efforts like this really shows how bike-friendly town is.
New Bike Racks
New bike racks that will hold 60 bikes will get installed this month. Bike parking signs will be put up on Commercial St. to indicate the locations of these new racks. They will be installed near the beach behind Wired Puppy at Pearl St. Landing and adjacent to the firehouse restrooms at Court St. Landing.
Additional racks from the Department of Public Works inventory are being redeployed around town, so it looks like we’ll have over 100 new bike parking spaces available this summer.
Bike Lane Ribbon Cutting
During Bay State Bike Week (May 14-21), town will be celebrating the new bike lanes and sharrows on Shank Painter Rd. with a ribbon cutting and short bike ride. Rain is delaying the painting crew from getting out to do this, so keep an eye out for an update on when this will take place.
To go along with the new bike lanes and sharrows, an education campaign is being put together by Provincetown 365 to let people know what these new pavement markings mean. Keep an eye out for flyers, posters, and rack cards.
Children’s Bicycle Rodeo
The Children’s Bicycle Rodeo is being organized by Cape Cod Children’s Place in partnership with the Provincetown Police Department. There will be an obstacle course, tune-up stations, and safety drills. Children are asked to bring their bike, a helmet, and an adult. Fun for the family and community! It will take place at the Veterans Memorial Community Center (the old elementary school) of off Winslow St. For more information, contact Anna Swaby at 508-240-3310.
Updated Bicycle Map & Safety Guide
The Bicycle Committee is in the process of redesigning its bicycle brochure with new art by a local artist, a new map, more information on taking your bike on the buses and ferries, and updated bike safety guidelines.
Here’s a preview of the new map…
Twenty-five thousand copies of this brochure are printed every year and distributed for free around town. You can pick one up at the Chamber of Commerce, Town Hall, the Tourism Office, the bike shops, coffee shops, or inns. There are a handful of last year’s version still available at Town Hall, but when they’re gone, they’ll be a collector’s item.
Bike Education Days
The first Bike Education Day of the summer will kick off over Memorial Day weekend at Firehouse #3 next to Town Hall. Bicycle Committee members will be on hand with the bike safety quiz, bike brochures, and free giveaways. Stop by and say hello on Saturday, May 28 starting at 4 PM.
A New Bike Shop
Mike Riley is opening a new bike shop this month at 136 Bradford Street in the center of town. Provincetown Bike Rentals will be renting Jamis bikes. This will be the fifth bike shop in town, so it’s pretty clear that there’s a big demand for bike rentals in the summer.
That’s it for May, and the season doesn’t get in full swing until mid-June. The Bicycle Committee is back to meeting twice a month for the summer. Check out the Bike Provincetown page on Facebook for more up-to-date information on those meetings, WorldFest in June, and the many charity rides that take place in town. See you out on your bike!
There were a number of great updates at the Outer Cape Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan workshop in Provincetown on November 12.
Route 6 Multi-Use Path Option Martha Hevenor of the Cape Cod Commission revealed that MassDOT is willing to look at putting a separated multi-use path alongside Route 6. This is a big shift, and hopefully shows a change in direction now that MassDOT’s separated bicycle facility guidelines have been released.
Town has started enforcing the bicycle parking bylaw that prohibits locking bikes to street trees. A bike found locked to a tree will have its lock cut and be removed immediately. Plus there’s a $50 fine for violating a town bylaw.
According to the town’s beautification committee, trees get damaged by having bikes repeatedly locked to them. There are very few street trees in town — Commercial Street has only nine street trees, and they’re all relatively recent additions to the streetscape.