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Connecting Bike Paths: Charles River to Minuteman

If you saw the Boston Globe piece on bike paths this week, you know that Boston has a lot of them, but most are isolated—often cut off by particularly nerve-wracking stretches of road or dangerous intersections. But Cambridge has been working to improve these connections, even without the space for full-on bike paths.

This weekend, Jason and I biked to Walden Pond: a 20-mile ride with long stretches along one bike path or another. The worst part has always been between the Charles River bike paths and the Minuteman Bikeway, winding through one-way streets and over hills around Harvard Square. But this time we noticed something different: signs!

See? Aren't they great?

A series of new signs directs people along the best route between the two paths, cobbling together quieter streets and bike lanes to make the easiest path possible. And just as you wonder if you might have gotten off the trail—there’s another sign. It’s something I might not have noticed, but my efforts at Tufts and Berklee have made me realize just how much work goes into something as seemingly simple as a sign that materializes just as you need it. First, someone has to discover the need and lobby for the change (probably an otherwise disinterested citizen); then someone has to decide to do it (probably a committee somewhere); finally, someone has to figure out the best way  to do it and actually put up the signs (probably everyday working stiffs). And even then someone will probably complain that they’re not quite right (probably me—have you seen the teeny tiny Bay Circuit signs in Concord?).

So I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank whoever in the City of Cambridge was responsible for those signs. They’re a win.

Also, if you’re interested in making the trek yourself, here’s the route we took.

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