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|Craig Kelley for Cambridge City Council in 2015|
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. . . DPW did not get this crucial area salted and sanded in a timely fashion . . .
Cyclists deserve safe streets
On Friday morning, 17 December, while biking to school with my seven-year old son in tow, I hit a solid sheet of ice on a crosswalk on Rindge Ave in front of the Peabody School, slipped and crashed. A neighbor rushed over and, after making sure we were okay, told us that she had called DPW over an hour earlier to inform them of the dangerous, icy conditions by the school and that she was terrified someone was going to get seriously hurt there.
Fortunately, my son's tears dried after a while, the bruises on his leg won't last forever and the aches in my shoulder and hip where I hit the street will, I hope, fade away in a few days. As any cyclist who has had a spill, much less seen his or her son tossed into the street, would testify, if you can walk away from a crash, it could have been much worse.
Still, I am disturbed by the fact that it happened at all. Rindge Ave is a major road, carrying countless cars during the morning rush hour, and it is a beehive of activity by the Peabody School at student drop-off. Parents and students walk down the sidewalks and use the crosswalks, or, in our case, cycle on the street, expecting that the City is doing all it can do to keep them safe. The City completely failed to meet that responsibility on this occasion. Despite having been warned over an hour earlier of the dangerous conditions, despite a level of danger so high that the police officers working the detail in Porter Square specifically warned me to be careful on sidestreets, DPW did not get this crucial area salted and sanded in a timely fashion.
My wife and I are committed to using our bikes to get us and our two children around Cambridge whenever we can do so safely. Cycling is environmentally friendly, frees scarce parking spaces for those who need them more and allows us to easily stop and greet friends and neighbors along the way. Nonetheless, we can't continue to cycle if it means putting our boys at such great risk. We expect DPW to do a more competent job of ensuring Cambridge's streets are kept safe for cyclists. If DPW head Lisa Peterson cannot do that job, the City Manager should replace her with someone who can.