The fatal accident between a bicycle and a tractor-trailer in Boston last weeks brings to mind that I think it is important to check out your commutes before choosing a neighborhood. Yes, job locations change. However, you should start in a new house with a decent commute to work and other common destinations that work for you.
Ruling a neighborhood in or ruling a neighborhood out is best done before beginning to see inside of houses. It is too easy to get hooked on a great house in the wrong spot, if you house-hunt house first and location-hunt second.
Boston also boasts of being the fourth most bikeable city according to Boston Magazine’s on line BostonDaily.Somerville comes in number nine in at TheStreet.com.The attention to making cities more bike friendly has increased the number of people choosing to forsake car ownership or everyday car commuting.
The question came up about whether a bicycle is the fastest way to commute at rush hour. On May 14th, 2012 Livable Streetsdid a test of just that. They conducted a race from Davis Square to Kendall Square: one car, one bicycle and the Red Line MBTA. The race started at 8:30 AM. Who won? The bicycle, by nine minutes over the MBTA Red Line rider. The driver was last, coming in three minutes after the subway rider. It was closer than I expected.
If I wanted to start an argument here, I would pit the car drivers against the bicyclists and vice-versa. I regularly hear from bicyclists about the crazy drivers. I hear, even more frequently, from drivers who wish bicyclists learned how to drive.
I tell all my clients to check their commutes before buying, the bicyclists especially. I suggest that they do a commute from their intended purchase areas to work. If they also use a bicycle for food shopping or to go to friends, they should check out those routes as well. Planning a route with a map is not enough. Bicyclists need to test out the topography. It is hard to know, whether the not-so steep, but very long rise will be too much of a barrier on a daily basis. I also suggest that bicycle commuters find an alternative transportation to work, for the days of very bad weather.
Here are some resources: