|An artist’s rendering of how the trail’s entrance at Mattapan Square might look, including a new building that could house community programming.
Gov. Deval Patrick said last week that the state would spend $1.9 million to complete the design for several unfinished gaps in the Neponset Greenway and paths along the Dorchester coast Trail that, when finished, will provide a bike route from Mattapan Square to South Boston. Additionally, MassDOT committed to funding the $11-$15 million construction project.
Mattapan, Hyde Park and Dorchester park and bike advocates as well as the Boston Natural Areas Network, DotBike and the Boston Cyclists Union have been pushing for the path’s completion for years. One Mattapan advocate told a crowd at a recent public meeting for the project that he “still had hair” when the community first began asking for it. The Bike Union contributed extensive bike counts and a descriptive video of the project to two federal TIGER grant applications that were not funded, but may have helped keep momentum going for the project.
“I think it was a combination of the strong advocacy from the Neponset Greenway Council with support from state legislators and people in DCR that made it their mission to get it done, like Cathy Garnett and Jack Murray.” Said Candice Cook of the Boston Natural Areas Network (BNAN). “We’re really excited to see that all the sections are going to be designed and completed.”
“For me it’s been a long time coming,” said Savin Hill resident Paul Nutting. “It’s going to link two great things in Boston together-the Neponset Greenway and Boston Harborwalk, and it’s going to make it safer.”
Elected officials that played a role were state Rep. Marty Walsh, Mayor Menino’s office via former cabinet member Jim Hunt III, and former state Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry who was elected to the State Senate this spring.
“I’m just so happy it’s going to be done,” said Forry in the Dorchester Reporter. “The greenway is an amazing asset in all these communities. From Hyde Park, to Mattapan, Dorchester and South Boston, it’s about connections and connecting communities.”
If paired with better bike infrastructure on Old Colony Ave., the new trail could also provide a safe bike-commuting route to downtown for thousands of Dorchester and Mattapan residents-creating a potential SW Corridor to the east. The existing part of the Neponset Greenway appears to be creating higher numbers of recreational bikers in southern Dorchester, according to the Boston Cyclists Union’s GIS project. But bike-commuting rates tend to be highest when adjacent to safe infrastructure that connects to jobs. The SW Corridor is Boston’s strongest example of this phenomenon.
According to the Dorchester Reporter, the project will be carried out in phases, beginning with a stretch next to the iconic gas tank along I-93, then the piece from Victory Road to Tenean Beach, followed by the section between Central Avenue and Ryan Playground-including a little piece of Milton and a bridge over the Neponset. The last phase runs from the Ryan Playground to Mattapan Square, and currently includes a canopy walk and a pedestrian crossing above the MBTA tracks.
Many advocates, having worked on the project for over a decade, are taking a “I’ll believe it when I see it,” attitude-but the design funding and construction commitment are certainly a welcome sign from the Patrick administration, and hopefully the beginning of a trend to complete other outstanding bike/ped path projects in the urban core.
Letter writing time!
Allston bike advocates are on the march to improve a new plan to reconstruct Cambridge Street over the Massachusetts Turnpike, and we’re asking you to back your fellow cyclists up!
The first public meeting held by MassDOT on the project was held June 18, but was described as the 100% design and no commitment to a follow up meeting was given despite a plethora of concerns expressed by residents.
Chief among the complaints was the elimination of the informal pedestrian and bike crossing that serves Linden St. and at Highgate St. and feeds the footbridge over the pike to Franklin Street. Residents also said they would like physical separation on the buffered bike lane in the plan, making it into a cycletrack-and requested that that cycletrack go all the way to the intersection of Cambridge and Harvard streets instead of ending at Linden St. as it does now in the plan.
Most of all, the current plan calls for one way buffered bike lanes on either side of the street on the bridge only (from Harvard Ave. to Lincoln Ave.), but residents want to know how that configuration would work on the rest of the street, in particular when navigating the on and off ramps to I-90.
Cambridge Street has been thought of as one of the worst streets in the city for cyclists for decades. Residents see it as a barrier in their community, but it was also the site of bike rider Kelly Wallace’s death in 2007, which sparked the rise of the group H.E.L.L. (Helping Everyone Live Longer) that distributes free helmets. On the other side of the footbridge, Lincoln Street was the site of Kiersten Malone’s fatal crash, which sparked the beginnings of the Livable Streets Alliance, the Boston Cyclists Union, and many other efforts.
Particularly if you have biked or regularly bike Cambridge Street-you need to send a letter to MassDOT to let them know how important making this street safer is to you.
Please send an email before July 3!
(include a reference to: Project #606376)
For the information distributed at the June 18th public hearing, click here.
More information about proposed improvements:
More and more Bostonians are putting two wheels to the road – and the media has certainly taken notice this Spring. Leading the burst in the seasonal coverage was “Right of Way,” a week-long series exploring the relationship of drivers and cyclists on Boston’s streets produced by WGBH and Wicked Local (otherwise known as Gatehouse Media, a 386-newspaper media giant). True to it’s name, the majority of the coverage was balanced and thoughtful.
Originally, the series was to be named “Wheel Wars” but earlier this year supporters of the Bike Union and other groups flooded the “Wheel Wars” Facebook page with complaints, called editors, and used other avenues to influence a more balanced title.
Some quick highlights, for those of you who prefer to be on your bike rather than staring at your computer, include:
- A WGBH sponsored poll of 500 Boston residents found that only 1 out of 3 residents feel that cars and bikes are sharing the road safely. The poll indicated some support for increased bicycle infrastructure – 45 percent of respondents believe that more bike lanes are the key to a better driver-cyclist interaction. A panel discussion on the poll revealed, however, that compared with other transportation initiatives such as improving the T, bike lanes are given lower priority by most respondents. Clearly cyclists want more bike lanes, but understandably the wider population demands good transit (even cyclists, we assume).
- In another segment of the series, Bike Union director Pete Stidman made the case for better bicycle infrastructure — cycletracks in particular — throughout many neighborhoods in the city.
- Wicked Local profiles other advocacy efforts as well, in particular a push led by MassBike to pass the Vullnerable Road User Bill that would put harsher penalties on drivers who intentionally harm cyclists and pedestrians.
- In panel discussions, bicyclists from all walks of life discussed the joys and challenges of biking as well as on an interactive map of “problem areas” for bicyclists and more informal postings the “Right of Way” Facebook page.
- The series explored how to be both a better driver and cyclist, with a safety quiz and tips for bikers, as well as a piece featuring Dan Strollo, President of Massachusetts Driver Education Association, who discussed how drivers can improve their skills of sharing the road with bikes. Number one suggestion? Ride a bike to see how it feels in their shoes. Number two? Brush up on the rules – dust off that driver’s manual you haven’t looked at since the permit test.
- Coverage extended beyond Boston proper, with pieces from WGBH on hot spots of bicycling debate such as Arlington and Wellesley and an inspiring piece on Wicked Local about the healing benefits of cycling for veterans in Plymouth.
- On a lighter note, the series also sampled some exciting new bike inventions – including a bike horn that can hold its own against cars – as well as cyclist fashion statements.
If there was any consensus in the varied commentators in the series’ panel discussions, it was simply that cycling and bike infrastructure has grown rapidly in Boston in the last six years – going from 1 to 60 miles of on-street bike infrastructure. Bike commuting shot up by 80 in the last ten years, but Boston has a long way to go before it is truly a “bike city.” Part of that will be increased civility on the road. WGBH’s Callie Crossley got to the heart of the matter: “Nobody’s life is worth a claim to the right of way.”
All in all, the stories, interviews, features, and response to “Right of Way” did much to further the ongoing conversation on the challenges and opportunities of truly “complete” streets in Boston. The Bike Union sends a big thank you to the stellar reporting, editing, and producing staff of WGBH and Wicked Local who worked on the series, as well as to all our members who participated in the coverage. It is this continued conversation and the connections and relationships that we are forming in the diverse cycling community that are transforming Boston into a better city for cycling.
Each year the Climate Ride from NYC to DC brings together hundreds of cyclists to inspire and empower citizens to work toward a new energy future——and bicycles are a big part of that. For Bike Union members, the Climate Ride has proven an excellent way to raise money and enjoy a magnificent ride trough the Mid-Atlantic states.
This year board member and cyclo-cross enthusiast Phil Stango is captaining the Bike Union team and leading them to fundraising victory. From the exciting departure by ferry in Manhattan to the hero’s welcome and rally at the steps of the US Capitol, the east-coast version of Climate Ride is more than a bike trip – it’s an inspiring journey with 200 like-minded people who are united by their passion for sustainability, renewable energy, and bicycles – the ultimate carbon-free form of transportation.
You’ll find out why they call New Jersey “The Garden State” as you cycle through the lush landscape. You’ll explore the historic Delaware River Valley, discover Pennsylvania’s Amish country, and pedal through horse country in Maryland before arriving at the Capitol in Washington DC. Evening programs and dynamic speakers combine with world-class riding to make this charitable event exciting, informative, and fun.
Climate Ride takes care of all the details, so you can focus on riding the 45-70 miles per day of carefully planned routes on back roads that meander through the countryside. It’s challenging yet doable, and you have all day to make it to the next rest stop. The ride has followed the same route between the two cities since the first Climate Ride in 2008, although portions change from year to year. The Climate Ride support team is always nearby to assist you, keep you happy and healthy, and make your ride worry-free and memorable.
Ride with us!
Join our team by registering for this year’s Climate Ride, then clicking on the ‘Join this Team’ button and looking for “Boston Cyclists Union.” Once you’re signed up, you’ll be able to customize your own personal fundraising webpage and get started.
And if you can’t spare the time to go, you can always live vicariously through the team by fueling their fundraising dreams at the Boston Cyclists Union Team fundraising page.
Mayor Menino scores another win for better biking in Boston.
After hundreds of hours of work from a diverse collaboration of academics, the Boston Police Department, the Boston Public Health Commission, and several Boston Cyclists Union interns, the city has far greater insight into the causes of bike crashes than ever before, thanks to an extensive new Cyclist Safety Report released by the city yesterday.
Mayor Thomas Menino also took the occasion to add a promising new goal for the city: to reduce the bike crash injury rate by 50% by 2020. The study seems poised to change the conversation around bike safety-and may even accelerate Boston’s bike boom.
The study’s well-timed release was tainted however by a math error in its “Findings” section. Both the Boston Globe and Boston Magazine are running corrections today on the number of bike crashes that involved a cyclist running a red light or a stop sign. It was originally reported as 28%, but the real figure is likely to be between 5.9% and 12%, (taking it either from the full number of crashes looked at (1,790), or only those which indicated a cause of some kind (891)).
This flaw and a few other calculation errors have been corrected in the report and appear to have been limited to the “Findings” section, which had a different author than the Boston Police Department (BPD) and Boston Emergency Medical Services (EMS) sections that follow. The actual numbers on running reds can be found on Page 43 of the report, in the BPD section.
The correct data indicates that while running red lights and stop signs is clearly causing crashes and should be discouraged, it is not the most dangerous behavioral factor measured. Riding against traffic was just as common, drivers “not seeing” the cyclist was 50% more common, and dooring was nearly twice as common, suggesting some additional enforcement priorities for the city. And any enforcement that targets cyclists should also be done in a way that helps ensure it does not discourage cycling–keeping in mind the city’s goal of increasing the Bike to Work rate to 10% by 2020.
Some examples of crash types in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Analysis Tool (PBCAT).
Some familiar crash types, such as the right hook and left cross, are missing from the study because they have yet to be coded in this data-though that appears to be a future goal. The police Department’s study recommends training officers to use a sophisticated standard called the Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Analysis Tool (PBCAT) to better classify crashes in the future.
Some of the more interesting findings and possible recommendations were:
- The number of crashes isn’t rising, but ridership is-which could indicate a “Safety in Numbers” effect. If it’s true, it means increasing ridership may play a part in making individuals safer.
- Taxis are twice as likely to be involved in doorings as cars-which makes the hackney industry a great target for driver education and design or technological solutions (pay attention MIT). The city has been working on a sticker for taxi doors for over a year now and may be close to implementation.
- People of college age are disproportionally affected by bicycle crashes-which indicates the city’s universities have a stake in creating safer street designs around their campuses, and an opportunity to educate their students on bike safety.
- Bike injuries and deaths may have cost between $6.2 and $46.7 million in 2010 alone.
- Bicycle crashes occur in every neighborhood, city council district and legislative district.
- Pedestrians hit by cyclists account for only 2% of all bike crash incidents in the Boston Police Data, and only 1.5% in the Boston EMS Data.
A crash cluster on S. Huntington that shows where all the crashes that involve bike wheels getting stuck in the trolley tracks are happening. Focusing a design solution on this small area could reap big safety benefits.
And one of the most powerful developments coming from the BPD study is yet to come. One of the biggest tasks in the study was taking out all the personal information in the police reports so they can safely be made available to various city departments, the advocates, researchers and perhaps even the public. The idea is to make them available in a new interactive crash map where neighborhood residents and transportation consultants alike would be able to get a good sense of what the existing problems might be on a street that is being reconstructed or repainted.
The study does not provide any new significant insights on helmet use and its effect on preventing crashes or injury, though it does mention that other studies have shown that when you are in a crash, helmets may reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent and the risk of brain injury by up to 88 percent.
This is true. Wearing a helmet is the smart thing to do. But even if everyone did, it would not be likely to move the needle significantly on the total number of injuries from bike crashes in the city of Boston.
In 2010, according to a recent Boston Emergency Room study the Boston Public Health Commission was involved in creating in 2011, head injuries were only 2.2% (31) of emergency room visits for bicycle related incidents. Much more common were fractures and dislocations (398), open wounds (231) and sprains and strains (144).
The upshot is that there really is no magic bullet for bike safety. Reducing the bike crash injury rate by 50% is more likely to be accomplished by a comprehensive approach–with physically-separated bike facilities like cycletracks a necessary ingredient, but also biker and driver safety education, new legislation that encourages motorists to be more careful around cyclists and pedestrians, and many other elements.
One new tool to hit Boston this spring is truck sideguards on the city’s Public Works Department truck fleet. The largest pilot program of its kind, the program is meant to encourage private companies with trucks to follow suit. Buses and trucks were involved in the majority of cyclist deaths last year, and the addition of wheel guards for buses and sideguards for trucks would help make those types of crashes less serious.
The city is already beginning to address some of these approaches, including cycletracks proposed for Seaver St. in Roxbury and Mt. Vernon St. in Dorchester this year, but this new crash report can help us be smarter about the details. It also helps build the argument for building cycletracks in corridors where bike crashes are more frequent-such as the proposals for cycletracks around the Public Garden and down Malcolm X Blvd.
But more importantly–this crash study was a collaborative effort. If our community continues to foster these rich collaborations between Boston’s bright academic stars, advocacy groups, and government, the future will be bright for all modes of travel.
Heartfelt thanks go out to Rappaport Fellow Dahianna Lopez, BPD Commissioner Ed Davis, BPD Superintendent Daniel Linskey, BPD Captain Jack Danilecki, BPD’s Marjorie Bernadeau, Maria Cheevers, Treymayne Youmans and Carlos Cannon; Boston EMS chief James Hooley, EMS data analyst James Salvia, BPHC Commissioner Barbara Ferrer, Boston Area Research Initiative’s Dan O’Brien, Harvard School of Public Health’s David Hemenway, WalkBoston’s Dorothea Hass, and Boston Cyclists Union volunteers Ira Hubert, Jannik Mikkelsen, Erik Adams, Natasha Gayl, John Ferrante, and Rafael Medina who directly helped complete this research.
Membership and Development Manager – Boston Cyclists Union
The Membership and Development Manager is the main generator and organizer of the Boston Cyclists Union’s rapidly growing membership and volunteer corps, also overseeing other fundraising and development opportunities.
- Hours: Full time
- Reports to: Executive Director
About the Boston Cyclists Union:
The Boston Cyclists Union works to make the city healthier and more enjoyable by promoting the bicycle. Our fast growing 1,000-member grassroots organization is becoming one of the most active and effective advocacy groups in the city. In 2012, our membership doubled. In 2013, we hope to double it again. The Boston Cyclists Union’s work is helping to increase ridership in Boston, Cambridge, Brookline, and Somerville. We want to Connect the City with a complete system of physically separated bikeways designed so that anyone, from an 8-year old child to an 80-year old grandmother will feel safe and comfortable riding a bike.
- Lead and manage programs and events designed to retain, maintain and grow Bike Union membership.
- Identify grant opportunities, communicate with foundation officers, and create drafts for grant proposals.
- Identify contract opportunities, communicate with contractees, and create drafts for contract proposals.
- In collaboration with the Executive Director, develop and guide major donor strategy.
- Set membership strategy, membership numbers and budget goals to produce desired results.
- Develop targeted membership materials and campaigns with diverse communities and partners (e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Phone-A-Thons, events, etc).
- Manage lead generation and customer retention programs.
- Collect and analyze historic and survey data to create new programs and refine existing membership programs.
- Champion new practices in membership maintenance and recruiting and implement new strategies.
- Develop and conduct volunteer trainings focused on member recruitment and increased member engagement in Union activities.
- Develop and manage business and employer membership and member discount proragrams.
- Work with the Executive Director and Development Committee to improve upon existing and create new programs and outreach for membership.
- Responsible for a wide variety communications involving all facets of membership including new programs, weekly and ongoing communications, and all member messaging and branded materials.
- Collaborate with Development Committee and skilled volunteers on membership materials.
- Create organization-wide themes, talking points and messaging across all trainings and membership materials.
- Perform other duties as assigned.
- Deep commitment to the Boston Cyclists Union mission.
- 3-5 years experience in a similar field.
- Strong interpersonal and relational skills.
- Demonstrated track record of successful project planning and goal reaching.
- Ability to work individually and as part of a team.
- Excellent communicator.
- Superior analytical and problem-solving skills.
- Experience with direct mail, e-mail campaign marketing, phone banking, and social media communications.
- Organized, and detail oriented.
- Professional, positive, outgoing, friendly demeanor.
- Desire and ability to implement systems that will allow your work to scale quickly and significantly to be able to reach more people.
- Extra points for working knowledge of Salesforce, Constant Contact, Vertical Response and/or InDesign.
Salary is based on experience. We are a small, extremely fast-growing non-profit and strong performance will be rewarded as our budget allows. This is a full-time position.
How to Apply:
Send a compelling cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “Membership and Development Manager Candidate, YOUR NAME” in the subject line, and be sure to mention where you saw the job advertised. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. We strongly encourage applicants to submit their application by February 20, 2013. People of color and women are strongly encouraged to apply.
Boston Cyclists Union is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political orientation.
Rendering by the city of what the finished cycletrack on Beacon St. could look like.
By Alex Epstein, Mark Chase and Christine Casalini
On Monday the City of Somerville changed up their public meeting style at Somerville’s Argenziano School to help bring the community together around their plan for a cycletrack on Beacon Street. Rather than presenting and letting the audience react, the city appointed one person each to speak for residents, businesses, cyclists and pedestrians in turn, followed by short Q & A sessions, and then broke out into evenly divided groups to try to find solutions. Audience members were encouraged to wear colored stickers that allowed them to represent their many overlapping interests.
Alderman Maryann Heuston led things off, representing the official resident interest. Key points she raised addressed crosswalks and how to better manage parking for businesses and residents; she specifically mentioned a parking meter policy and putting to better use the many off-street private lots on Beacon Street.
During public comments, one landlord feared that the project would devalue his house and that no one would want to rent his apartments anymore. This perspective was quickly countered by another Beacon Street homeowner who believed that cycletracks and a renewed streetscape will boost his property value and the desirability of the neighborhood. By the sound of the clapping in the room it appeared that proponents outnumbered opponents by at least two to one. As the meeting went on it became clear that the proponents were not just cyclists. Those who spoke in favor included several Beacon Street residents and one prominent business owner.
Following Alderman Heuston, Beacon Street Laundromat owner Domenic Ruccio made a very short presentation asserting that the project would make at least some of the businesses on Beacon Street “inviable” and that empty storefronts would follow. This was countered by the Biscuit bakery owner Andrew Platt, who expects it to bring more customers and economic benefits. He noted that at first he too was skeptical, but now sees many benefits to the project. He urged fellow business owners to embrace the changes. Platt is the first business owner to speak out publicly in support, though others have confided support to neighborhood volunteers working on the cycletrack effort.
One resident lamented the increase in traffic on Beacon Street as Kendall Square builds out millions of square feet of employment. Kendall Square was recently noted, however, for a 14 percent decrease in car traffic even as more office space has been added. It is hoped that by encouraging more commuters to bike to work, automobile traffic on Beacon St. will decrease as well.
Alex Epstein, Beacon Street resident and Chair of the Somerville Bicycle Committee followed as the representative of cyclists. Donning a haircut from Kiki’s and noting the many local businesses he patronizes, he spoke about how Beacon has been reinvented before and how critical bike improvements on this corridor are for SomerVision (the city’s comprehensive plan). He defined what a physically separated cycletrack is and how its benefits address years of community input to the Bike Committee, such as eliminating dooring crashes and encouraging residents who are interested in cycling but concerned about safety to get on their bikes. Along the way he debunked the myth that most of the parking spaces are to be removed for cycletracks (in fact only 30-35 reasonably well used legal spaces would be eliminated). Alex wrapped up showing that over 70% of Beacon Street’s customers walk or bike and since research shows bicyclists outspend drivers at restaurants, bars, and convenience stores, more bikes mean more business.
Astrid Dodds from Agassiz, Cambridge was a surprise addition (being from Cambridge) and spoke for pedestrians. She made detailed points about the need for more crosswalks along Beacon, particularly between Somerville Avenue and Sacramento Street. At the same time she expressed concern about bicyclists riding on the sidewalk and hitting pedestrians. In the design, the cycletrack is separated from the sidewalk by street furniture and some advocates have called for changes that would put the cycetrack at a third level in between street and sidewalk levels, to help indicate to the vision impaired and others that a crossing exists. In Denmark, cycletracks through pedestrian areas are commonly sunk just .75 inches to indicate the crossing.
During the breakout sessions, conceptual drawings were displayed on easels and people plastered them with sticky notes to record their feedback. Loosely organized tables of attendees then reported on their feedback, which was usually detailed: how to handle a specific type of parking space, lane markings, types of crosswalks, and more.
Some feedback was to keep the cycletrack raised at minor side streets (just as it will be level across driveways) and to dash and color green the bike lanes through every intersection. Also, for pedestrian safety, installing proper crosswalks at every block seems important, especially since with parking on one side, more people will be crossing the street.
Overall the meeting gave the supporters of the cycletrack a great deal of positive momentum, but whether or not that momentum will carry through to the more important state public hearing on the 25 percent design for the street this Monday remains to be seen. At this meeting, all comments are recorded and those in favor and against will be counted by the MassDOT, helping it determine whether or not to approve the project. If the cycletrack concept is approved, the next stage will be to reach the 75 percent design where many details will be ironed out. Advocates plan to watch this process closely and continue to improve design before it is built in 2014.
Monday February 4th, 6:30 PM
JFK Elementary School (rear entrance)
5 Cherry Street
If you can’t attend the hearing, send a letter! It’s very important to make your voice heard. Only together can we make an impact on safer street designs. Send your comments to:
Thomas F. Broderick, P.E., Chief Engineer
10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116
Attention.: Project Management Section, Project File No. 607209
Written comments will also be accepted at the hearing. Mailed statements and exhibits intended for inclusion in the public hearing transcript must be postmarked within ten (10) business days of this Public Hearing.
By Charvak Karpe
The NYC Bikes in Buildings law guarantees a secure location for bikes in the work place.
Recently my office moved to One Boston Place, a CBRE owned property, from a location an Faneuil Hall, also owned by CBRE. Bikes were officially banned at my old office, but the policy wasn’t enforced. I’d wheel my bike into my office, while another tenant would keep hers in the women’s room.
The first time I tried bringing my bike to the office at One Boston, a security staff member stopped me. He said the building didn’t want to be liable if someone stole the bike, which didn’t make any sense to me. I asked him who set the policy, and he answered:
“There’s nothing you can say to [the building manager] that would change her mind.”
He said the rack outside was completely safe, and monitored by guards.
“If someone takes parts off my bike, we’ll have it on video, but I won’t have my parts,” I said.
“No, we’ll stop them while they do it,” he promised.
I looked up at the monitors above his desk.
“Nobody’s watching the rack now,” I said.
He told me that the camera was being monitored on another screen behind the desk, that I couldn’t see.
So, I bought an old beat up road bike and locked it outside.
A few weeks later, someone took the front wheel and security didn’t know about it until I reported it stolen later in the day. The guard on duty then told me that an entire bike had been stolen there a month before.
Thinking that I could maybe sue the building for guaranteeing the safety of my bike at the rack, lying about that safety, and then having it stolen while guards were supposedly watching, I figured I had a pretty good position to work from. I met the building management and listened to their concerns around bikes causing damage to the building. I presented the building management with information on the NYC Bikes in Buildings law and proposed the building charge a fee for permits to bring bikes in. That way, only people with nice bikes would bring them in, and it might assuage their paranoia about messengers and beater bikes. Also Bike Lids, a product I found that protects bikes from theft, might be secure, look much better, and serve tenants. Considering that in the fall of 2002, One Boston Place completed a $6 million lobby renovation featuring polished green onyx, African cherry wood and mahogany, spending around $12,000 on dramatically improving the exterior appearance with some Bike Lids would be cheap and make a lot of sense since it would earn more LEED points. The building is up for LEED renewal in a couple years, and the existing rack was installed with the last LEED renewal, so my proposal may have some hope yet, but apparently they’re not chomping at the bit to install them.
The building manager said she appreciated my professional approach, agreed that bikes are the way of the future, took materials I had printed on the NYC law, but said she would have to check with the owners and couldn’t promise anything. I had an escalation plan floating around in my head that involved first suing the building for the stolen wheel and then bringing my bike in despite of the policy because the use of force continuum prevents the security staff from physically stopping me. The legal process for enforcing the building’s policy would be a hassle for them and either they would ignore the problem or they’d contact my company about the issue. Then it would be my company’s problem instead of mine because they would either have to fight the building policy or let me go (I can easily go work someplace else that better supports my lifestyle choices).
Several weeks later however, the building manager instituted a policy allowing bikes to use the freight elevator, just like in NYC. When I started bringing my bike in, the security guard who first told me I couldn’t bring my bike in the building high fived me with a smile and said, “the battle is won.”
I saw the head of security as I was leaving one night and he was very friendly, telling me how his friend was into racing bikes and was going to participate in the Mayor’s Cup race. Everyone seemed happy with the outcome and showed no ill will towards bikes. A colleague of European origin agreed that it was absurd that bringing a bike in was even an issue and that I had to use the freight elevator instead of the passenger elevator. Like, do people in wheelchairs have to use the freight elevator too?
One problem that I encountered was that the freight elevator is unstaffed part of the evening and used for garbage disposal the rest of the night. That means I have to go downstairs, wait five minutes for the freight elevator, interrupt the trash disposal to go all the way back up and pick up the bike. Instead, I began using the passenger elevator to leave the building in the evening because most tenants leave before I do, but one night the building manager saw me and reiterated that I absolutely had to use the freight elevator. I’m a little surprised she didn’t pretend she didn’t see me instead. Using the freight elevator in the evening is an inconvenience. I’m still being treated unfairly, but I’ve won a little progress and I figure it may not be worth fighting until I really want to quit my job.
Do you have a story about bike parking in your home, school or workplace? Please send it to the Bike Union at email@example.com. We’re collecting stories for our indoor bike parking improvement campaign. Your story could help inspire a city ordinance or other action to correct the many problems we hear about.
Bike Union executive director Pete Stidman explains cycletracks and crash data on Fox 25, Mon., Dec. 10.
It’s unfortunate that it takes the loss of life to awaken the powerful news media to the problem of bike safety——but when it happens it’s important to send the right message. Bike Union Executive Director Pete Stidman has been spreading the message of how Boston can become safer for bikes in the Boston Globe
, on NECN
, and on Fox 25
over the past week, to name a few.
Union volunteers have also been in touch with hundreds of members to get their feedback, suggestions and support via the annual phone-a-thon. (You too can volunteer tonight!) Members are saying they value that they now have a voice, that they appreciate and want to see more of the Union Rider newsletter, and that above all the advocacy of the Bike Union is why they ask their friends and family to join up and support. Together we are stronger.