Back in to Boston, and a cool meetup

6/8/22

Today I went back and forth a couple of times between Newton, where my Warmshowers host Arne is, and through Brookline to South Boston, where my new Warmshowers host Diane is. This took me through many beautiful leafy areas along the Charles River Bike Path, and also on some very busy, and honestly sometimes scary, city streets.

In the middle of all this, I had the good fortune to meet up with a local transportation planner at Boston University. I had seen Carl Larson’s name many times over the years in Portland, mostly in the comments section of the wonderful bikeportland.org blog. But as I recently learned, he had been a fixture in the local bike advocacy community there between about 2006 and 2016, working for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (now called the Street Trust) and later, the Biketown bicycle-sharing company.

He moved back to Boston a few years ago to be closer to family, and now he works in Transportation Demand Management (TDM, to transportation nerds like me) at Boston University.

He kindly took an hour out of his busy day to meet up with me and talk transportation while we walked around Brookline near his BU office. (But first, as I stashed my bike in the office, he showed me his own Brompton, which he purchased ten years ago at the same Portland shop, Clever Cycles, where I got mine!)

During our walk we passed a ghost bike, which he explained was the grim impetus for the reluctant university decision makers to finally partner with the city—after years of grassroots advocacy by local cyclists—to install a physically separated bike lane along the auto-heavy Commonwealth Avenue. (He also told me that Commonwealth used to be one of the largest auto-dealership strips in the Boston area, in the first half of the twentieth century, so the site of his TDM office there, and all the nearby bike infrastructure, were somewhat ironic and poignant.)

We also walked past a mural depicting a vibrant historic street scene including a streetcar, as well as the house where John F. Kennedy was born.

After we parted ways, I biked back to Newton to say goodbye to Arne and the cats, and then headed back along the bike path, and then Commonwealth, to Diane’s place. We stashed my rig at her apartment, and then walked to dinner at a nearby restaurant, sharing stories about bike touring and our various magical Warmshowers experiences.

I admired the architecture along the way.

Tomorrow I hope to spend some time outside, especially back in Boston Common, but there is rain forecast for most of the day—and even some thunderstorms—so we’ll see what ends up unfolding.

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