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Students question why Green Line bars bikes

This summer, Boston University junior Nick Caruso brought his bike to the Park Street T station, but an MBTA employee took his bike from him and forced him to leave the station.
‘ ‘They were very brash about the whole ordeal,’ he said. ‘It was very short-sighted on their part.’
Though Boston is making an effort to encourage bicyclists with new bike lanes on Commonwealth Avenue and Mayor Menino initiatives to increase city biking, the Green Line T has been less accommodating.
Conventional bicycles are prohibited on the Green Line, but folding bikes without covers are allowed on all MBTA lines, MBTA program director Erik Scheier said.
Bikes are banned from all MBTA trains during rush hours, but allowed on all trains except the Green Line during off-peak hours, Scheier said.
Scheier said the irregular stopping and the crowds on the Green Line are a dangerous combination for bikers and other T riders.
‘The Green Line has stairs, is more narrow and does not have much space,’ Scheier said. ‘Subways have wider aisles and more doors.’
MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said it is difficult for individuals with a bicycle to simultaneously hold onto a rail on the T and onto their bicycle in a crowded train.
To accommodate bicyclists, hundreds of MBTA buses are equipped with bike racks and the MBTA is planning to add designated bike parking spaces on new bi-level Commuter Rail coaches, Pesaturo said.
David Watson, the executive director of MassBike, a biking advocacy group said most of the restrictions on the MBTA are due to safety concerns regarding the lack of special facilities for bikes on current train cars and the crowds.’
‘While we don’t like it, we think it’s understandable the T has these concerns, especially on the B Line, which is probably the most crowded of all the lines,’ he said.
Though Watson said Boston offers plenty of benefits for cyclists, it can be a challenging place to ride.
‘There are not a lot of bike lanes,’ Watson said. ‘The ones at BU are the first in the city. We have a lot of drivers and bikes who don’t know the rules for interacting with each other, and there’s not a lot of enforcement by police.’
Boston Bikes, an initiative launched by Mayor Thomas Menino in 2007 and headed by former professional cyclist Nicole Freedman, aims to make Boston a cycling city.
‘One of the most physical improvements is right outside BU’s door on Commonwealth Avenue with the new bike lanes,’ Menino spokesman Nick Martin said.
Martin said Boston Bikes is also working on creating a community biking map.
In September 2008, the MBTA introduced bike cages at the Alewife MBTA station on the Red Line. Along with the cages, the MBTA introduced the Charlie BikeCard, which allows bicyclists to get to the bike cages and can also be used as a stored value card.
‘Nobody has really taken bikes on the T,’ Green Line commuter Ann Chen said. ‘I understand with the Green Line, because it’s smaller than the other lines. Space-wise, it does make sense.’

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