Cambridge Adopts Vision Zero!

unnamed (3)On Monday, March 22nd, the Cambridge City Council unanimously passed resolutions put forth by the City Manager to formally adopt VisionZero and Complete Streets policies!  This is an important step for the City of Cambridge towards continuing their efforts to make streets safer for all, with a focus on vulnerable road users including people biking, walking or working in our roadways.  We applaud them for their continued commitment to safety!

Vision Zero calls for the elimination of fatalities and serious injuries resulting from traffic crashes, and emphasizes that they can and should be prevented.  One of the leading factors that impacts severity of injury and death is speed. The strategy is to focus on the the 6 E’s – Engineering, Education, Enforcement, Encouragement, Evaluation and Equity – some of which Cambridge has been doing for years.  Cambridge has a history of traffic-calming on city streets and adopted a  truck side guard policy almost a year ago, but even with all of their efforts to date, there is still work to be done to get to zero.  Last March a woman on a bicycle was struck and killed in Cambridgeport, and in the last two months two people were hit and killed while crossing the street.

The City of Cambridge is officially the 17th city to adopt a Vision Zero policy, according to the Vision Zero Network.  New York City was the first to adopt Vision Zero, in February of 2014; Boston formally adopted Vision Zero in March of 2014 and released an action plan outlaying their plan to move toward zero deaths in December.  This is great progress for the region – next we challenge Brookline and the City of Somerville to follow suit, to continue to increase the safety of the region that so many of us bike through, crossing city lines daily.  The Boston Cyclists Union will continue to work with the City of Boston’s Vision Zero Task Force and with other advocates on the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition to improve safety on our region’s streets and help move the dial towards zero.

Remembering George Ulrich, Cycling Advocate and Musician

ULRICH - Photo - COLOR - 2016-03-06 (1)George Ulrich of Roslindale, MA, devoted father and husband, passionate bicyclist, jazz musician, computer programmer, and dear friend to many, died February 23, 2016 at age 63 from a rare form of cancer.

George was born September 17, 1952 to Dr. Sanford and Saretta Ulrich, both deceased, most recently of Arizona.  George grew up near Lansing, Michigan.  He left high school just before graduating, embarking on a life of travel and music across the United States and beyond, hitchhiking and supporting himself by playing guitar and singing.  He later regaled his family with amazing stories of his youthful adventures on the road.

After earning his GED, George attended Lansing Community College, Michigan State University, and ultimately Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging in 1981.  He went on to attend the Cambridge School of Computer Programming, graduating in 1983.  After teaching music in the Lincoln/Sudbury and Melrose Public Schools in the 1980s, he has worked since 1990 as a programmer for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure.

George was devoted to Judy Flam, his wife of 31 years, and was a wonderful father to Liza Ulrich, 27, of Jamaica Plain, and Zoe Ulrich, 22, of Roslindale.  The family traveled together frequently and he often did tandem bicycle tours with Liza and downhill skiing with Zoe.  They enjoyed movies, theatre and concerts together.  His family and friends nursed George in his final months, and he was surrounded by Judy, Liza, and Zoe on his deathbed.

George is remembered for his kindness, gentleness, generosity, and depth of soul.  He was eager to share his passions for cycling, music, and computers with everyone, and was a mentor to many in these endeavors.  He showed deep respect for all he encountered, recognizing the value in everyone and engaging them on their own terms.

Bicycling was central to George’s life.  He commuted by bike to work year-round for many years.  He participated in a number of fundraising rides, including the Pan Mass Challenge (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute), Tour de Cure (American Diabetes Association), Boston to New York Aids Ride, Bike MS (National MS Society), the Boston Brain Tumor Ride, and the Bikes not Bombs Bike-a thon.  He took other long-distance trips including the Tour de Montreal, Bike New York, and the Mad Dash to Montreal.  After being diagnosed with cancer last summer, George rode in the annual Hub on Wheels ride in Boston in September, leading and supported by more than 30 cycling friends with “Team George.”

George was a tireless advocate for cycling in Boston, and was a co-founder of both the Boston Cyclists Union and Rozzie Bikes.  He was an active member of Bikes not Bombs, Charles River Wheelmen, MassBike, and Boston Bike Party.  He could be found at local farmers’ markets and public housing, providing free bicycle repairs.

Musically, after playing professionally in a number of bands for more than ten years, George continued to play informally with friends, and remained an avid jazz fan.  As a programmer, George was always ready to share his knowledge of computers and technology, and did private computer consulting.

In addition to his wife and daughters, George is survived by his brother, William “Zip” Ulrich of Taylors, SC, as well as nieces, nephews, and cousins.  He was predeceased by his sister, Gail Ulrich, of Shelburne Falls, MA.

More than 160 friends and relatives gathered with George for an evening of jazz, food, and friendship in January, when many were able to say goodbye.  George’s family prefers to gather privately now, but a memorial will be arranged in the spring.
Gifts in George’s memory may be made to Bikes Not Bombs (bikesnotbombs.org).

Longfellow Bridge - Phase 3

On February 11th bike traffic on the Longfellow Bridge switched to the sidewalk on the upstream side of the bridge. This new configuration allows for a car-free ride in both directions. However, navigating through Charles Circle on the Boston side, and under the bridge on the Cambridge side can be a little confusing for commuters. Check out the video below to see what it’s like.

The Bike Union and other advocates are continue to work with MassDOT to improve signage and markings at the ends of the bridge. Stay tuned for future updates on this Phase of the bridge.

 

Thank you! - Longfellow Bridge Update

Dear members and friends,

Thanks to the letters and emails you sent to MassDOT over the past month we have won some key safety improvements for people biking over the Longfellow Bridge. While it’s not everything we asked for, conditions on the bridge have improved considerably thanks to the steps taken by MassDOT. There are now approximately 2 weeks left until the start of Phase 3, when cyclists will begin using the upstream side of the bridge, while vehicles and pedestrians continue to use the downstream side of the bridge.

Without the emails and letters you sent to MassDOT voicing your concerns, we would still be biking under the hazardous conditions present in early December. The biggest change that came about from your letters was the removal of the “pinch” at the base of the bridge on the Cambridge side. If you recall, at the beginning of December, jersey barriers were placed in the bike lane, dangerously narrowing the bridge and forcing cyclists to abruptly merge left, without any warning to drivers or cyclists (pictured below).

The “pinch” has since been removed, and the work being done behind those jersey barriers has been held off until after bike traffic is switched to the upstream side of the bridge. An email from MassDOT states : “The bike lane was closed and barriers placed at the Kendall Square approach to allow access to a manhole for signal and electrical work to activate the Red Line shoo-fly track. Remaining work will be postponed until after bike travel is shifted to the upstream side [Feb 1]. In the meantime, the concrete barriers have been placed against the MBTA reservation. The 2.5-foot wide barrels between the bike and vehicle travel lanes will be replaced with 1.5-foot wide cones, increasing the space available to bike travel.” The variable message sign on the approach to the bridge has also been reprogrammed to read “Yield to bikes”, and the signage and paint from previous phases is being removed to eliminate confusion for bridge users.

Unfortunately, MassDOT will continue to instruct outbound cyclists to walk their bikes on the sidewalk for the next two weeks, but with the start of Phase 3 on February 1st people biking over the bridge in either direction will be able to enjoy a vehicle and pedestrian free ride!

None of this would have happened if you hadn’t spoken up for safe biking on the Longfellow! 

Thank you! 

– The staff of the Boston Cyclists Union