Park program to hold car-free day on Green St.
June 14, 2012
By John Ruch
A new program to get more people into city parks will close Green Street to cars on Sun., July 15 so that people can “walk, bike, roll, skate or dance” in freedom.
The “Open Streets” event is part of Circle the City, a new program headed by Jamaica Plain resident Jessica Parsons. Circle the City will debut with a separate June 24 festival in Franklin Park.
Circle the City was named for its initial idea to connect all of the Emerald Necklace parks with some type of event. That’s not happening any time soon. Instead, Circle the City is holding three smaller pilot events, with the first two in JP, followed by an August Open Streets program along the Rose Kennedy Greenway downtown.
“Sometimes you start…with a community you know will mostly embrace the concept, a community maybe more used to having festivities in their neighborhood,” Parsons said, explaining why the already highly park-friendly neighborhood of JP is getting the early Circle the City attention.
Circle the City is a coalition program whose partners include the local Boston Cyclists Union (BCU) and Franklin Park Coalition, along with the City of Boston and several other groups. It is headquartered at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy in the Fenway.
June 8, 2012
By Thomas Grillo
Mayor Thomas M. Menino has chosen an advisory group for development along Boston’s Fairmount Commuter Rail Line.
The 24-member panel includes representatives from Equity Office Properties (NYSE:EOP), Historic Boston, Urban Land Institute, Trinity Financial, A Better City and the Boston Cyclists Union as well as residents and others. The volunteer group is charged with assisting the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s (BRA) planning team in developing a strategy for business growth, employment opportunities, housing development, and corridor branding along the 9.2 mile Fairmount Indigo commuter rail line, which links South Station to Readville, through Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and Hyde Park.
Cops mum on fatal bike-bus collision
June 6, 2012
By Richard Weir, Chris Cassidy and Dave Wedge
Four days after a Boston College graduate student was killed when her bike collided with an MBTA bus, police and transit officials remained tight-lipped about the incident yesterday, providing no new details and declining to say whether they even know how 28-year-old Boston College grad student Kelsey Rennebohm died.
“We can confirm it was a collision between a bicyclist and an MBTA bus,” said Sgt. Mike McCarthy, spokesman for the Boston Police Department, declining to release any further information. “It’s still an active investigation.”
T spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in a statement: “Boston and Transit Police continue to analyze evidence, conduct interviews and establish facts. The bus operator is out of service pending the completion of the investigation. The bus is also out of service pending the completion of the investigation.”
Rennebohm had left a gathering with friends Friday and was riding her bike on Huntington Avenue, near Forsyth Street, when she was struck by a bus at 10:23 p.m.
Boston Cyclists Union director Pete Stidman said yesterday, “I understand why they have to be careful, but I hope when they do find out the details of what happened, they’ll let people know.”
Boston Foundation launches online catalog for donors seeking charities
May 29, 2012
By Mary Moore
The Boston Foundation has gone live with a new online catalog of about 300 nonprofits to help donors make informed decisions about where to give money.
Set to launch at an event Wednesday at the John F. Kennedy Library, the new website is called The Giving Common. It provides comprehensive and current information about nonprofit organizations across Massachusetts.
The site features detailed portraits of hundreds of Massachusetts nonprofits, large and small, organized alphabetically and by the type of work the organizations do, such as arts, culture & humanities, health, human services, youth development and the like. In the health category, an organization as large as Boston Medical Center Corporation is listed alongside the Boston Cyclists Union. Some organizations – such as Artists for Humanity, which is an arts organization with a youth development focus – span more then one category.
March 13, 2012
By Lisa Seyfried
The Boston Cyclists Union had a major win last week, when the vote on the Casey Overpass came back with the decision to build at at-grade roadway.
The Casey Overpass is a crumbling bridge in the Jamaica Plains neighborhood of Boston. The bridge has to be torn down, and the debate raged over what to replace it with: a new bridge, or a new street-level road?
Replacing the old bridge with a new bridge seems like the easiest solution, however building that bridge would not include bike lanes, while the at-grade solutions would include greenery, bike lanes, and a generally more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere.
September 29, 2011
By Steve Holt
It’s a Friday evening in late July, and hundreds of whooping and hollering bicyclists are clogging the street at Commonwealth and Harvard avenues in Allston. This is one of the trickiest intersections in the city – some eight lanes of road pass through it, as well as two sets of Green Line tracks – and cyclists from a group called Boston Critical Mass are jamming it up by riding in circles, taunting the drivers. Car horns blast. A solitary biker held up by the stunt yells, “You are why people hate cyclists!” A Honda Civic revs forward, forcing several cyclists to bail, and races off. Mangled bikes – and one person – lie on the asphalt.
Once a month, members of the hundreds-strong Critical Mass get together to celebrate bike culture and protest car culture, as the group says on its website, by means of a “party on two wheels.” But that day the party ended abruptly – luckily the woman knocked to the ground had just bumps and bruises; the only serious casualties were bikes. I am obviously appalled at the actions of the driver, but my other reaction is bafflement: What does Critical Mass hope to prove by breaking laws and taunting motorists?
In the larger Boston-area biking community, many seem eager to separate themselves from the relatively small group of cyclists who ignore laws and wreak havoc. Pete Stidman, executive director of the Boston Cyclists Union, says he “understands the desire,” but calls Critical Mass’s practices a “horribly poor way of communicating our desire to have the streets be safer.”
Regional bike, walking map released
May 27, 2011
By Rebecca Oliveira
A comprehensive map and guide to biking and walking in the Greater Boston region was released earlier this month by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC).
The map and accompanying online tool show bike lanes; shared lanes; paved and unpaved bike paths; walking paths; and local and regional trails. Both existing trails and future planned facilities are shown. It includes JP’s recent bike lanes.
“For the first time ever, Boston-region residents who are interested in cycling to work, walking to school, or just finding some recreation spaces to have fun in can locate all that information in one source,” said David Loutzenheiser, transportation planner at MAPC.
“I think it’s really good to have a map that shows where our facilities are in order to check our progress on the citywide network. Hopefully, it’ll generate some competition between different neighboring cities and Boston” for improved bike amenities, said Pete Stidman, head of the Boston Cyclists Union.
Dot’s becoming cyclist’s Nirvana
May 19, 2011
By Bill Forry
It’s a good thing that May is Bike Month and this isn’t Bike Week here in Boston. The middle of this month has been a soggy affair and may not be the ideal time for novice two-wheelers to take to the streets.
But, fortunately, there are many events yet to come this month and plenty of chances for enthusiasts and newcomers alike to network with the neighborhood’s emerging legion of bicyclists. Much of the activity is centered around Peabody Square’s newest bike shop, Ashmont Cycles, which is fast becoming a hub for the bicycling community.
Riders gather to have bikes blessed
May 16, 2011
By Peter Shanley
For at least one cloudy Sunday in May, Doug Mink didn’t have to decide between going to church or taking a bike ride.
Some bike riders accomplished both as they congregated at the steps of Hope Central Church in Jamaica Plain to have their bicycles blessed.
“A thing about bicycling is that we often have Sunday rides,” said Mink, a two-wheeled enthusiast from Rosindale. “So people don’t go to church, they go bike riding instead. And so here, we get to combine things a little bit. I think that is a good idea.”
The “Blessing of the Bicycles” event was co-sponsored by the Boston Cyclists Union, Hope Church and First Baptist Church in JP. It featured free bike repairs, a bike ride from First Baptist to Hope Church, where the blessings transpired, and a “Bike Bar” night at the Brendan Behan.
Cyclists campaign for bike lanes on Mass. Ave.
April 14, 2011
By Jeremy Bernfield
The City of Boston is considering building a bike lane on Massachusetts Avenue in the heart of Boston, stretching from Symphony to the Mass Ave. Bridge. Sounds great, right? There is a small catch.
Building a bike lane on the already-crowded roadway would require the elimination of either parking or a travel lane. That’s sure to be controversial.
The Boston Cyclists Union, a bike advocacy group, is campaigning for the creation of the bike lane and plans to show up in force at a public meeting on the plan tonight.
“Cyclists are always going to use that street, there really isn’t another option,” said Peter Stidman, the director of the BCU. “There’s no way to get rid of the cyclists, they’re already there. What we’re just trying to do is make it safer for everyone.”
The city already has plans to build a bike lane that connects the Boston Medical Center to Symphony. The Mass Ave. Bridge and the Cambridge side of the river already feature bike lanes, too, so this section would connect the area for bikers.
Craigslist posting leads to arrest in bike theft
April 11, 2011
By Peter Schworm
When a local college student had his Trek bike stolen from the Boston Common late last month, he probably figured he’d never see it again. But on a hunch, he scrolled through the used bike listings on Craigslist, and there it was, picture and all.
Eager to turn the tables, the student contacted Boston police, who had a detective pose as a prospective buyer and meet the person attempting to sell the bike at Boston Common on a recent Friday. Police promptly arrested the man on larceny charges, even though the bike he was trying to sell turned out not to belong to the student, who police said did not want to be interviewed.
For cyclists who say bike thieves are rarely caught, the arrest was gratifying.
“I’ve heard of it once or twice, maybe,’’ said Pete Stidman, director of the Boston Cyclists Union. “That’s awesome. Nothing like the stupidity of a thief to help you out.’’
Nicole Freedman, Boston’s director of bicycle programs, was delighted by the arrest.
“That’s fantastic,’’ she said. “It’s very unusual to get them back.’’
Freedman said the city is encouraging people to register their bikes to make it easier to recover them if they are stolen, and that some 600 have done so in the past year and a half.
Thanks to Advocates’ Nomination, Boston Official Headed to Velo-City
February 28, 2011
By Carolyn Szczepanski
A few months ago, we told you about an innovative idea from SRAM and Bikes Belong to award scholarships to Spanish-speaking elected officials to attend Velo-City 2011.
Next month, the world’s premiere bicycle conference will bring together top leaders from around the globe and, thanks to nominations from Alliance member organizations, and a handful of Latino officials from across the United States will have a front row — and back room — ticket to the proceedings in Seville, Spain.
The Boston Cyclists Union was just one organization that nominated a local, Spanish-speaking official for this unique opportunity. Last week, the BCU celebrated the Velo-City scholarship awarded to Felix G. Arroyo, a city councilmember with family roots in Puerto Rico. Pete Stidman, the BCU’s executive director, says Arroyo has been a leader on issues related to asthma and a supporter of the BCU since its inception. Having Arroyo on the ground in Seville, talking to fellow city-level officials who have installed 75 miles of bikeways since 2007 and boosted its bicycle ridership from .6 to 6 percent, could plant the seeds of progress back home in Boston.
“Witnessing Seville’s transformation firsthand and absorbing the information from around the world at Velo-City could be a very enriching experience, giving Arroyo cutting-edge knowledge and tools to help move our city toward a safer and more enjoyable cycling environment,” Stidman says.
Drive 20 and you can help reduce fatalities on the road
February 3, 2011
By Pete Stidman
The need for speed is something we’ve all felt, whether we’re late for work or just enjoying an open stretch of road. In many ways speed has become part of the American identity.
We’re all busy, and we all need to get where we’re going as quickly as possible, and we’re all watching car commercials in which our very same minivans, SUVs and station wagons deftly corner at high speeds on mountain roads. In this light , a low speed limit can seem like an annoyance.
But here in the city we are all pedestrians at one time or another and a small but growing minority are starting to commute by bicycle. When we are walking across or riding down the street we are all at risk of being hit by motor vehicles. And I think we can safely assume that if we are going to be hit, any sane person would prefer to be hit by a vehicle traveling at a lower speed.
NightSide – Pete Stidman Of Boston Cyclists Union Talks With Dan Rea About Riding Bikes In Snow
January 24, 2011
Dan Rea has questions for Pete Sideman of the Boston Cyclists Union about the dangers of riding bikes on city streets in the middle of winter, and should bike riders be required to carry insurance?
City bicyclist fatally struck during commute
January 24, 2011
By James Hinton
A bicyclist was fatally struck on Herald Street near the corner of Arlington and Tremont streets during a frigid commute this morning, police said.
The call for a bicyclist suffering life-threatening injuries came in at 8:10 a.m. and the 74-year-old male victim was transported to Boston Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, cops said. The department’s Fatal Accident Team responded to the scene and began reconstructing the accident, which caused traffic delays. Details on the identity and condition of the driver of a white Honda involved in the accident were yet to be released, cops said.
Pete Stidman, Director of the Boston Cyclists Union, said in a statement: “One sure way to reduce fatalities for both cyclists and pedestrians would be to reduce speed limits in Boston to 20 or 25 mph and enforce them well in areas with high foot traffic.”
74-year-old cyclist killed in downtown Boston crash
January 24, 2011
By Globe Staff
Boston police say a 74-year-old man was killed while riding his bicycle in downtown Boston this morning.
Police had earlier said the man was a 34-year-old man. Late today, police said the victim was actually a 74-year-old man who appeared to be of Asian heritage.
The man’s name was not released.
According to police, the bicyclist was struck around 8:10 a.m. near the intersection of Arlington and Tremont streets.
Police said the man was transported to Boston Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The cause of the crash is under investigation, police said.
In a statement, the Boston Cyclists Union called for a 20-mile-per-hour speed limit citywide. Director Pete Stidman said in the statement that the union does not know why today’s fatal crash took place.
However, he noted that a British government study found that a car striking a biker or pedestrian at 30 miles an hour has a 45 percent chance of causing fatal injury. The chance of a fatal crash drops to 5 percent when speed is capped at 20 miles an hour, he said.
“We encourage Mayor Thomas Menino to again try to convince the state legislature to reduce these speed limits,” Stidman said. We urge the State House to take such a bill seriously.
Mapping cycling-auto crashes builds awareness
December 29, 2010
By Kirsten Frattini from Varese, Italy
Struck in DC is a grassroots organization that uses Twitter and Blogs to collect data and report on then map locations where cyclists and pedestrians hit by cars in the Washington, D.C. area. The phenomenon is a growing trend as more people take to commuting by bike in the U.S.
Kimberly Shults — a resident of the US capitol city of Washington, DC — and her friends started Struck in DC after they noticed a surge in twitter updates from District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services reporting these types of incidents.
December 6, 2010
By Mike Naughton
A spate of bicycle crashes this year — that in some instances were fatal — have spurred an initiative to increase biking safety.
The latest piece of that effort was recently launched on the Boston Cyclists Union website.
After city officials released crash data to the Jamaica Plain-based group, it plotted the hundreds of bicycle incidents between May and October to which city EMS responded.
“The main idea behind it, but not the only idea, is that we can improve street design,” said Pete Stidman, head of the cyclists’ union. “That sometimes means bike lanes or cycle tracks or timing of a light at an intersection or right hand turn or left hand turn patterns.”
December 2, 2010
By Rob Anderson (Boston.com)
This is a stunning example of what a non-profit can do with government statistics, Google Maps, and a very dedicated volunteer. (Click on the image above to see a larger version, or — even better yet — click here to poke around the interactive version.) The map, created and published by the Boston Cyclists Union, is visual representation of every bicycle-related crash that took place in Boston from May to October of this year.
Even though it currently only shows six months of data, the map is starting to tell an interesting story about bike use and bike accidents in the city. The Boston Cyclists Union explains:
“At a glance, where crashes happen seems to correlate more with topography and population density than the perceived “bikeyness” of the neighborhood. So Roxbury, Dorchester and Jamaica Plain have similar numbers and clusterings of crashes, but there are few crashes in the hilly parts of Highland Park (Fort Hill), Mission Hill, or the hills above Grove Hall in Roxbury. The biggest clusters of crashes by far happen in the flat and dense areas such as the South End, Back Bay, Downtown, and along Commonwealth Avenue, and the lowest numbers are in more suburban areas like Hyde Park and West Roxbury.”
November 29, 2010
By Adam Ruguesa
Thousands of bicyclists ride to work in Boston every day. Across bridges and into traffic, through quiet streets and busy intersections, commuting by bike is getting more popular each week. But is it safe?
A bike advocacy group called the Boston Cyclists Union has uploaded an interactive map showing all of the city’s reported bicycle crashes in recent months. Among other concentrations, it shows a dark line of bruised elbows, broken fenders, and worse stretching from the Back Bay to Allston along Commonwealth Avenue, right past our studios at WBUR.
On Biking: a cycletrack coming to Cambridge and maybe Boston, too
May 15, 2010
By Pete Stidman (Guest Columnist)
Boston Metro’s deep freeze on bike lane paint has thawed considerably in the past few years. Leaders in the Hub and other communities including Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline are starting to get into the routine of laying down bicycle markings of some kind for most major streets that get repaved. Even Newton is getting ready to stripe a new lane—a short section of Beacon Street near the Boston line.
Cyclists, at least the majority of those that prefer bike lanes to the open road, are riding high. But show them a cycletrack, and the bike lane tends to pale in comparison.
There is no codified definition of cycletrack, otherwise known as a “traffic-separated bike lane,” and no national standards for them as of yet, but they are generally considered to be a bike lane that includes a physical barrier to auto traffic, such as a curb, a line of bollards or Jersey barriers, or a line of parked cars. There are Cycletrack designs at sidewalk level, and others at street level. Both styles are positioned between pedestrians on one side and cars, or parked cars, on the other.
Around here, Cambridge and Boston are both looking at potential cycletracks on Western Avenue that would combine to stretch from Central Square to Allston Village.
Bike lanes, ‘sharrows’ coming to Centre/South
April 28, 2010
By John Ruch
Heated controversy erupted in the bike community. City officials regrouped and re-thought their plan. Advocates debated each other in letters to the editor in the Gazette. JP Bikes and the Boston Cyclists’ Union gathered more than 1,400 signatures on a petition calling for “the addition of bike lanes to Centre and South streets wherever possible.”