Cambridge residents, companies are suing the city for bicycle lane ordinance

A group of shop owners, doctors’ offices, restaurants, residents, and more are suing the City of Cambridge for the Massachusetts Community Bike Paths Ordinance. The group known as Cambridge Streets for All said it was against the Cambridge Cycling Safety Ordinance, which was passed the city in 2019 and amended in 2020 which set strict deadlines and requirements for 25 miles of separate cycle paths, which include all of Massachusetts Avenue. According to Cambridge Streets for All, the group has filed a lawsuit against the city because shop windows are struggling to serve customers due to lack of parking spaces. There are also fears that the quiet side neighborhoods will effectively become parking areas and loading docks and that medical patients will not be able to access their suppliers’ offices. Harold Gilmer, the owner of a Mass Ave. barber shop, said he estimates his business has suffered a roughly 50% drop since installing the fast-built bike lanes because people can no longer park near his. shop. “Despite a series of packed city council meetings, the message from residents and businesses being harmed continued to fall on deaf ears, CSA determined that taking legal action against this ordinance was our only resource to be heard,” Cambridge Streets for All Board Members and Cambridge Bakery Owner Lee Jenkins said in a statement. “They haven’t consulted local businesses and residents when they drafted these plans in the midst of a pandemic and they are not listening to us now. We believe improving access to cycle paths is an excellent goal, but not when parking for corporate customers and staff, as well as neighborhood residents and patients from local health care providers, have been completely gutted, which will obstruct the side streets where people live. “In an interview with NewsCenter 5 last month, the city councilor Cambridge’s Burhan Azeem said the city has invested in new bike lanes because there have been many cyclist fatalities in Cambridge, and particularly on Massachusetts Avenue. Azeem and six other city councilors voted to reaffirm that ordinance at the end of April, despite public protests from several business owners who said customers come from out of town and rely on street parking. “The bike lanes are coming. We reiterated the vote, like, seven to eight times, so it’s better to adapt to the future,” Azeem said. An extension of the cycle paths is planned in the autumn. However, some business owners have said there is backlash in the form of negative reviews, social media attacks, and boycotts. “A guy threw me a coin once when I was out there. He said, ‘Call someone who cares,'” said Cindy Hughes, owner of Fast Phil’s barber shop in North Cambridge. “Unfortunately, the tenor of the decision has reached a rather heated level,” said city councilor Paul Toner. Toner is an advocate for companies. He hoped to delay the project to allow time to find other options that keep safety and sustainability at the fore. even doing an economic impact study, but as Toner points out, it might be too late. “Some have written to us saying they will not renew their leases and potentially move their businesses out of Cambridge,” Toner said. for everyone’s safety, but please understand that we also want to pay off our mortgages, “said Hughes. The MBTA has given a deal to the city for the rapid removal of overhead cables from buses that are no longer in service and removal a median can save you some parking along Massachusetts Avenue.

A group of shop owners, doctors’ offices, restaurants, residents, and more are suing the City of Cambridge for the Massachusetts Community Bike Paths Ordinance.

The group known as Cambridge Streets for All said it was against the Cambridge Cycling Safety Ordinance, passed by the city in 2019 and amended in 2020 which sets strict deadlines and requirements for 25 miles of separate cycle paths, which include all of Massachusetts Avenue. .

According to Cambridge Streets for All, the group has filed a lawsuit against the city because shop windows are struggling to serve customers due to a lack of parking. There are also fears that the quiet and side neighborhoods will effectively become parking areas and loading docks and that medical patients will not be able to access their suppliers’ offices.

Harold Gilmer, the owner of a Mass Ave. barber shop, said he estimates his business has experienced a roughly 50% drop since installing the fast-build bike lanes because people can no longer park near his shop. .

“Despite a series of packed city council meetings, the message from residents and businesses being harmed continued to fall on deaf ears, CSA determined that taking legal action against this ordinance was our only resource to be heard,” Cambridge Streets for All Board Members and Cambridge Bakery Owner Lee Jenkins said in a statement. “They haven’t consulted local businesses and residents when they drafted these plans in the midst of a pandemic and they are not listening to us now. We believe improving access to cycle paths is an excellent goal, but not when parking for corporate customers and staff, as well as neighborhood residents and patients from local health service providers, are completely gutted, which will clog the side streets where people live. “

In an interview with NewsCenter 5 last month, Cambridge City Councilor Burhan Azeem said the city has invested in new bike lanes because there have been many cyclist deaths in Cambridge, and particularly on Massachusetts Avenue.

Azeem and six other city councilors voted to reaffirm that ordinance in late April, despite public protests from several business owners who said their customer base comes from out of town and relies on street parking.

“The bike lanes are coming. We reasserted the vote, like seven to eight times, so it’s better to adapt to the future,” Azeem said.

An extension of the cycle paths is planned in the autumn.

However, some business owners have said there is backlash in the form of negative reviews, social media attacks, and boycotts.

“A guy threw me a quarter dollar once while I was out there. He said, ‘Call someone who cares,'” said Cindy Hughes, owner of Fast Phil’s barber shop in North Cambridge.

“Unfortunately, the tenor of the decision has reached a rather heated level,” said city councilor Paul Toner.

Toner is a supporter of companies. He hoped to delay the project to allow time to find other options that kept safety and sustainability at the forefront.

Since then, some additional seats have returned, including seats in a bus lane during scheduled times. The city is also conducting an economic impact study, but as Toner notes, it may be too late.

“Some have written to us saying they will not renew their leases and potentially move their businesses out of Cambridge,” Toner said.

“We are for everyone’s safety, but please understand that we also want to pay off our mortgages,” said Hughes.

The MBTA gave a deal to the city to quickly remove cables from overhead buses that are no longer in service and removing a median could save some parking along Massachusetts Avenue.

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