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Porter Square plan for new bike lanes moves ahead without delay

Vehicles block part of a bike lane on Main Street in Cambridge, MA, causing a bicyclist to compete with traffic, on Jan. 25, 2019. (David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Vehicles block part of a bike lane on Main Street in Cambridge, MA, causing a bicyclist to compete with traffic, on Jan. 25, 2019. (David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The Cambridge City Council will move forward with a plan to add separated bike lanes on a stretch of Massachusetts Avenue between Roseland and Beech streets in Porter Square.

Some residents oppose the plan over its  required removal of parking spots. Their concerns include the impact it would have on businesses, and the inconvenience to the elderly.

“For those of us … that are not spring chickens and not in good physical shape and need our cars to get around, getting rid of parking on Mass Ave. is going to severely limit our lives,” said Joyce Levine, of North Cambridge.

But those who supported the plan lamented the dangers of Porter Square and said the project would increase safety. In 2016, bicyclist Bernard Lavins, of Lexington, died after he was hit by a truck.

“I bike, walk, use public transit, and drive through Porter Square,” said Elizabeth Petit, of Cambridge, “but I feel the least safe when biking because of how many close calls I’ve had. It’s really quite stressful.”

Council members Paul Toner, Dennis Carlone and E. Denise Simmons sponsored two policy orders that sought to delay the projects. A majority of their peers voted against them.

Council member Patricia Nolan was among those who voted against the delay. She said the city needs to transition to a multimodal transportation system, increase the number of cyclists and decrease the number of cars on the road.

A virtual meeting for the project is scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m.

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Darryl C. Murphy is the host of WBUR's segment for NPR's "Consider This."

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