Victory in Cambridge!

20622063_1891701444192836_765679847826396053_n The Brattle Street 2-way protected bike lane. Photo courtesy of Cambridge Bike Safety.

Earlier this month, Cambridge installed a new 2-way protected bike lane on Brattle Street in Harvard Square that was proposed during participatory budgeting. The new design has dramatically transformed Brattle Street into a slower, safer street for all users, especially people biking and walking.

Unfortunately, due to opposition to the Brattle Street lane from the Harvard Square Business Association, three Cambridge City Councilors sponsored a policy order that could have stopped all work on all new “pop-up” protected bike lanes, until City staff met with every single Business Association in Cambridge.

Passage of this order could have dramatically delayed installation of all planned protected bike lanes and threatened the City’s ability to install the protected bike lanes that are planned for Cambridge Street west of Inman Square.

In response to the policy order and a potential moratorium on new protected bike lanes, the Bike Union and Cambridge Bike Safety mobilized hundreds of people to write letters to the City Council and speak at the Council meeting on Monday, August 7th, the day the order would be voted on.

At that meeting, Cambridge residents, bike advocates and patrons of Harvard Square businesses passionately voiced their support for protected bike lanes and their opposition to the Policy Order, for nearly 3 hours!

Thanks to the overwhelming opposition to the policy order, the City Council amended the order, striking the paragraph that included the moratorium language and replacing it with a paragraph calling for a roundtable event with a broad range of constituencies to discuss how to most effectively communicate with the public about these projects and their implementation.

The new policy order was passed unanimously by the Council.

We’d like to thank Cambridge Bike Safety and everyone who wrote emails, tweeted, came to Monday night’s meeting, and testified about the importance of moving forward with the rapid implementation of a connected network of protected bike lanes! Had we not responded so overwhelmingly, the Council likely would have passed the original policy order, and Cambridge could have instituted a moratorium on new “pop-up” protected bike lanes.

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