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Get ready for the Marty party

Boston’s Mayor-Elect Marty Walsh

Last week Pete Stidman, your representative on Mayor-Elect Marty Walsh’s Transition Team, rubbed shoulders with some big names in Boston’s transportation world and put forward a few ideas for change at the first meeting of the team’s Transportation & Infrastructure Working Group. The breadth of knowledge and experience in this and the other 11 working groups is impressive, and the inclusion of biking, walking, and access leaders on the team speaks to Walsh’s vision of an inclusive administration.

Outgoing Mayor Thomas Menino is also putting his best foot forward, detailing his administration’s programs and accomplishments on his own transition blog.

You can help collect the best ideas going by sharing what you’d like to keep, implement, or dream using this short and sweet questionnaire. The ideas most likely to succeed will be those that include funding strategies or are cost neutral. The question we are charged with is not so much what is our goal, but how do we get to it from here?

To make sure progressive transportation ideas are well supported and your specific ideas are heard you can also speak up at a massive town hall meeting this Saturday in Roxbury, or at hearings for Transportation (Mon., Dec. 16), the Environment and Parks (Tues. Dec. 17), or Public Health (Wed., Dec. 18). You can RSVP and find details for these and other hearings at boston14.org.

Some of the Bike Union’s key priorities during the transition include:

  • Increase spending on bike infrastructure from city, state or federal sources to $6 million per year, to meet the Boston Bike Network Plan’s five-year goal by the end of Marty’s first term.
  • Officially adopt the city’s Complete Streets Guidelines and create a multi-agency review board, including seats for walking, biking and transit advocates, to ensure developers and city departments are adhering to them.
  • Create a safety director position at the Boston Transportation Dept. to assist better crash and injury data collection at other city agencies and ensure its use in creating new street designs. (e.g. Help Boston Police implement PBCAT in their new CAD incident reporting system and ensure resulting data reaches transportation planners.)
  • Include cyclists in planning processes and encourage their participation in ‘friends of’ groups to support Boston’s parks.

Please support these ideas along with your own in your public and written comments! At each transition hearing, Boston residents will be able to share their ideas with working group leaders about how to improve the city. The ideas collected will be integrated into a final presentation that each working group will share with the Mayor at the end of January.

The support you show for bicycling improvements now can set the tone for the next four years and possibly more. Don’t miss this historic opportunity.

A good luck message to Marty Walsh and John Connolly

Dear Marty Walsh and John Connolly,

boston-skylineOn the eve of election day, the Boston Cyclists Union would like to thank you for the unprecedented attention you have given to better bicycling in Boston in a mayor’s race. Over the past few months, you have addressed our members at the Bike Union’s September 26th Annual Party (Meeting), attended forums and briefings with progressive transportation activists, and clearly outlined your support for cycletracks and cycling encouragement programs in response to the 2013 Mayoral Bike Questionnaire. Thank you.

By these efforts on your part, we are encouraged that cyclists’ needs are among your priorities, and that you agree every Bostonian should have safe access to the health and transportation benefits of cycling.

On behalf of our Board of Directors, staff, and members, the Boston Cyclists Union wishes you the best of luck in the election tomorrow. We look forward to meeting with you and other complete streets advocates soon to help continue and improve upon the great work Mayor Menino began—making Boston a world-class cycling city.

Sincerely,

Vanessa L. Green
Interim Board President

Pete Stidman
Executive Director

Walsh and Connolly answer the 2013 Mayoral Bike Questionnaire

13490305-mmmainYou have played a huge part in the Bike Union’s efforts to make cycletracks a central issue in this Tuesday’s Boston Mayoral election. Most directly, you supported the collaborative effort from bike groups across the city to produce the questionnaire below (see it on video here).

But also, by supporting the Bike Union for the past three years you helped ask for a cycletrack on Western Avenue back in 2010, which this year became a topic in Mayoral forums. You, Bikes Belong, SRAM and the Bike Union helped send former candidate Felix Arroyo to Seville, Spain in 2011 to see how cycletracks have transformed that city–and his support for cycletracks was clear. And you helped press hard to make the Public Garden Cycletrack a priority for the bike community for the past two years. As a result of all this work, we now have two mayoral candidates who both speak in support of cycletracks.

This Tuesday it’s time to ensure that both of our mayoral candidates feel the bike vote. Both candidates have a history of working with the Bike Union, John Connolly on cycletrack funding and helping to usher funding for Hubway through the City Council, Marty Walsh on helping to clear the way for the state Department of Conservation and Recreation to design and build the remaining pieces of the Neponset Greenway and Dorchester Coast Trail. But they do have different visions for the city and for bicycling.

Our members saw this first hand at the Bike Union’s Annual Meeting on Sept. 26, when Walsh and Connolly spoke to 275 union members about their visions for the city. In Jamaica Plain the two have staked out different positions on the Casey Arborway project that is now reaching 100 percent design stage. There are also clear differences in the questionnaire below, particularly in the areas of funding (question 7), how collaborative decision-making can be accomplished (8) and police enforcement (9). Candidate John Connolly has distinguished himself by taking several bike rides with groups like Allston-Brighton Bikes and DotBike to explore bike issues.

At the same time, both speak to creating a connective network of bike paths and cycletracks. Both have been responsive to the bike community and we thank them for that attention. Deciding which candidate will follow through on this support, and complete Boston’s Bike Network Plan sooner, will be up to you. Our last three mayors served an average of 15 years each, so we know this year’s election could very well determine Boston’s bike future for a long time to come.

In an election this close, the bike vote can make a difference. Somewhere in the range of 14 percent of Boston’s voters are still trying to define the differences between the candidates in time for this Tuesday’s mayoral election. With the candidates now tied, or close, depending on which polls you look at, this 14 percent could swing the vote either way.

To help you in this quest, the Bike Union brought together Bikes Not Bombs, Biking in Boston with Kids Blog, Boston Collective Delivery, BU Bikes, Lane Change, MassBike, Roxbury Bicycle Brigade, and several individuals representing the diversity of Boston to create a bike questionnaire.

Thanks to pressure from these communities and you, both candidates have now answered allowing for a head to head comparison of their future policies and vision for biking in Boston. Please share this questionnaire far and wide.

John Connolly submitted a video to share his answers. Citing time constraints, Marty Walsh submitted his answers in writing. The two candidates answers are compared head to head below. Please note that Connolly’s answers have been transcribed from video.

1) What do you see as the major obstacles to encouraging ridership, and how would you address them?

State Rep. Marty Walsh     City Councillor John Connolly
Safety is the major obstacle to encouraging bike ridership in Boston. The issue of safety is particularly worrying for our cyclists with families who want to ride with their children. All cyclists need to feel safe and secure on our streets. Boston can deliver that security through well-designed bike lanes and cycle tracks, bicyclist and motorist education and outreach programs, and proper signage and traffic signal coordination. By implementing these solutions, we can help to ensure that all who use the road can do so safely and efficiently.     I think safety is the major obstacle that discourages ridership. I certainly feel that personally. I’m the type of cyclist I think we want to see more of in Boston. I bike every now and then, but probably not as much as I should or would like to. And a lot of that has to do with safety. So we’ve gotta start with education, but also the next mayor can make it a priority in the capital budget to expand bike infrastructure with a focus on cycletracks to help promote safety and more cyclists getting out across the city.

2) What school programs will you create to promote
bicycling?

State Rep. Marty Walsh     City Councillor John Connolly
Safety needs to play a large role in education, beginning early in a child’s academic career. Boston’s students need to learn how to be safe in all areas of life, from sexual health, nutrition, and exercise, to being aware of the potential dangers on the city’s streets and sidewalks. I plan to reach our youngest students as they learn to ride with training wheels to emphasize the importance of wearing a helmet whenever they are on a bicycle and looking right and left before crossing the street. As our children get older and enter their teenage years, programming will be focused on getting around the city by T, by bicycle, and by car once they turn 16. Students need to be taught about using bike lanes, how to signal properly, and the best ways to navigate Boston’s busy roads. They will learn how to maintain and repair their bikes and also where to safely store them. Bicycling is a healthy and efficient way of navigating the city and should be encouraged in Boston’s educational programming. We need to make sure, however, that our riders are educated and prepared to safely ride on our streets. By reaching out to our young people early, we can ensure that our bicyclists are ready to take on the city’s streets.     I’ve supported reforming our school assignment system so that we can make sure every child can go to a high quality school close to home. And if we do that, I’d love to see children biking to school. I would bike to school when I was going to high school, but you never see that in Boston anymore. I want to see Teddy, Claire, and some day Mary Kate-my three children-biking to school. So I think that would be a key initiative for me when it comes to school and bikes but also make sure that we’re promoting bike safety in our schools. I think that’s vital to having a culture that’s going to work for cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians. On schools I also want to give credit to Nicole Freedman, the Mayor’s bike leader. We’ve got several programs in schools like Roll it Forward and the bike safety program which make a difference. We have to continue programs like that as well.

3) How will you leverage Boston’s higher education institutions for bike safety?

State Rep. Marty Walsh     City Councillor John Connolly
Many of Boston’s college and university students get around campus on bicycles. It is therefore in the best interest of these institutions to promote bike safety to their students. I would start by making sure that outreach starts early. New student orientations should include programs educating students on biking in Boston. For returning students, refresher courses should be offered. Students should also be encouraged to use helmets and other safety gear through subsidizing such equipment in campus stores. As our institutions of higher learning continue to develop and expand, they should ensure that all development is bike friendly and includes bike racks, proper bike lanes, and signage throughout campus and on nearby main streets. I would also like to see Boston’s colleges and universities work to create alternate routes of travel that are off of the main streets so that students can avoid traffic and get from class to class quickly.     I think that we need to mandate a bike education/bike safety course as part of freshman orientation at every college and university across the city. I want to bring the leaders of those institutions to the table, I want to bring cycling advocates and cyclist groups in with the institutions and work on how we can get bike safety and bike education programs for every freshman who’s going to go to school in Boston. We also want to make sure that our higher ed institutions are distributing safety equipment. We ought to have higher ed institutions offering the students helmets, reflectors, lights, everything that can make a cyclist truly safe on our roads.

4) How will you motivate building managers to encourage biking to work?

State Rep. Marty Walsh     City Councillor John Connolly
Building managers have a lot to gain from encouraging biking. Biking reduces vehicular congestion, promotes health and wellness, and reduces a building’s overall environmental impact. People need safe places to park their bikes close to work. Some of Boston’s building managers will therefore need to install additional bike racks. They may also need to make space available indoors or under shelter for days when bad weather will damage bikes. Additionally, providing locker rooms with showers would make biking a much more appealing form of transportation and would make many people happy and more comfortable at work. Cyclists are often healthier than those who drive to work. Because healthy and fit employees are generally more productive, managers should realize that it is in their own best interest to take proactive steps in encouraging more employees to cycle to work.     I want to see a real commitment to building bike infrastructure across the city, and it’s not just cycletracks. I want to see bike racks and bike corrals built in across the city, but I also want to see holistic planning with developers so that we’re making sure that our developments and new housing and new commercial spaces in the city are dedicating space for storing bikes, showers for cyclists. We need to put all of those pieces in place and start with real planning but also prioritize it in implementation so that we are truly a bike friendly city. That starts with infrastructure. I think we can also learn from other cities. In New York, a tenant has a right to ask for bike parking and the landlord has to provide it. We should explore a similar ordinance in the city to make sure–whether it’s landlords, owners of businesses, or whatever the case may be–that we are setting aside dedicated space for bike parking.

5) How will you increase access to biking in every neighborhood equally?

State Rep. Marty Walsh     City Councillor John Connolly
In order to increase access throughout the city, we need to make sure that neighborhoods with less biking infrastructure are brought up to speed as soon as possible. Areas of the city that currently lack bike lanes, bike racks, Hubway stations, and other amenities need to be addressed first. I will work with the Transportation Department along with community groups to ensure that we address the areas with the most need. I will also work with all neighborhoods collaboratively to identify the most efficient routes around the city. I will also encourage a regional approach so that the residents of Boston and its neighboring towns and cities have an easy and safe commute. I would also like to increase the number of bike shops in Boston and work with community centers and schools to make people aware of the bike groups in their neighborhoods.     Too often we think biking is just for certain people, and I’ve seen that it’s very much the contrary. For starters, I’ve biked through just about every neighborhood in the city during this race and I’ve seen the entire city engaging cycling and loving cycling. We want to make sure that in everything we do–whether it’s bike infrastructure, bike education and how we support and grow the cycling community–that we’re reaching out to all communities. And this is something that we should be encouraging all of Boston to do. But I think we’re already there in many ways, this is about the city coming behind and opening doors and saying we’re truly going to do everything we can to be bike friendly and I think we’re going to see the entire city get behind that. So part of what the city should do to encourage cycling in communities across in Boston is make sure that our plan, and our implementation shows this. That’s about having cycletracks on Malcolm X Boulevard, connecting Dudley to the rest of the city with real bike infrastructure. These are the key points where we can show our commitment to every neighborhood in the city and making every neighborhood truly friendly for cyclists.

6) How will you encourage bike related business?

State Rep. Marty Walsh     City Councillor John Connolly
I will encourage Boston’s Main Streets programs to use local bike businesses in the city, such as bike couriers who can efficiently transport products short distances. I will also work with the Office of Economic Development to identify areas of the city where biking is very popular and make sure that bike related businesses exist in those areas. As Boston’s bike related businesses grow, such as courier services, I will ensure that they advertise jobs in a manner that attracts experienced bikers and promotes safety.     Part of supporting biking in Boston is also supporting biking businesses, recognizing that a bike friendly city creates an awful lot of economic growth for the whole city. I think about a group like Urban Adventours which does tourism, I also think of the Refuge Cafe, where they have a big piece of bike parking right in front of their store. You can see the direct link between supporting local bike businesses and overall growth for our community so I think this is vital. One other piece are non-profits likes Bikes Not Bombs which prepares people… gives them skills that are transferable directly to biking or to other jobs so there’s a whole lot of connections that we can foster and support when it comes to local businesses and cycling.

7) How would you increase funding for bike infrastructure?

State Rep. Marty Walsh     City Councillor John Connolly
Having been a state Representative for the last 16 years, I have strong relationships with my colleagues on Beacon Hill. This makes me the best candidate to secure more resources from the state for bike infrastructure. I would also work with local businesses and institutions that would benefit from more bike infrastructure to form partnerships that would lead to the amenities needed for bicyclists in Boston.     I think we have to be creative when it comes to the funding for bike infrastructure but there’s a lot we can do. For starters this is about priorities in the mayor’s capital budget. The next mayor can prioritize the construction of cycletracks and other bike infrastructure in the capital budget and we can begin construction right away. I think we have to really look at the Boston bike plan and then go from there in how we build the priorities in the capital budget. But the other natural piece are our PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) and relationships with institutions across the city. I believe if we approach our institutions and talk to them about about making an investment in bike infrastructure they will be supportive in helping to fund it because it will benefit their institutions as well as the neighborhoods of Boston and the biking community generally. There is great opportunity when it comes to funding and that we can get this done.

8) How would you increase participation in transportation decision-making processes?

State Rep. Marty Walsh     City Councillor John Connolly
Collaboration is an important focal point of my campaign. I would invite all of Boston’s biking advocate groups to the table to give me their thoughts about proposed transportation ideas. These groups would also be called upon to give their ideas on how to alleviate the city’s transportation problems. I also plan to create neighborhood liaisons to the Mayor’s Office that deal strictly with development issues. These liaisons will represent the voices of their respective communities when talking to developers and myself about projects that will impact transportation in the city.     When it comes to decision-making on transportation issues and that’s almost everything that involves urban planning. We need to make sure we have a truly transparent process and I’m dedicated to making sure we reform our development process to make it truly transparent and to make sure we are going first and foremost to the community for their input. And as I’ve shown during this campaign, I am always going to reach out to the biking community for their input. I also want to make sure we transform our culture inside city hall. I want it to be user-friendly customer-friendly and truly take community input. But there are also directives that a mayor can make that will make a big difference. And for starters, I want to make the rule that all things that we do in the transportation department, is going to be done from a complete streets planning perspective and that we are going to put pedstrians, bikers, and motorists on an even footing in Boston as we go forward. And I think that will have a major impact on how we execute and how we carry-out transportation planning for Boston.

9) What is the police department’s role?

State Rep. Marty Walsh     City Councillor John Connolly
The police play a large role in the promotion of biking and bike safety in Boston. They need to strictly enforce traffic laws, especially those that can be dangerous to bikers, such as driving in bike lanes, double parking, blocking intersections, and other moving violations. The police also need to be tough on bicyclists. They should ticket cyclists who break the rules of the road. Just as there are bad drivers on the road, there are also bad cyclists. We need to do all we can to break bad habits, and strict traffic enforcement can help.     In addition to investing in bike infrastructure to help make this a more bike-friendly city, we also have to make sure that we are enforcing the rules of the road. But I’ll never do that in a way it’s being done down in New York right now, where we are stopping cyclists for minor infractions and allowing motorists to get away with breaking several rules. I want to make sure that we begin by enforcing the rules when it comes to motorists who aren’t really held accountable at all when they violate laws that impact safe and healthy cycling in the city. I’ll make sure that this becomes a major part of how we train city workers whether it is police, code enforcement officers in the special services department, or the transportation department in Boston. I want us to create a culture where we are focused on safety for everyone who is using Boston streets, but most especially focus on keeping our bikers and pedestrians safe.

10) Would you prioritize a network of bike paths and cycle tracks?

State Rep. Marty Walsh     City Councillor John Connolly
Yes. Biking is becoming more popular in Boston and we are not keeping up with the need for proper infrastructure that will keep our bikers safe. As Mayor, I will work to bring more cycle tracks and bike lanes to Boston, especially in busy areas where accidents are common. Bikers need to feel safe on our streets, and that means more bike infrastructure, more cycle tracks and bike lanes, and better transportation planning throughout the city. A Walsh Administration will make biking a priority because it is a safety issue, and all Bostonians deserve to feel safe in our city.     Prioritizing a network of bike paths and cycletracks will be one of my major priorities. In my first budget we will make it top priority within the capital budget and we will begin construction right away. And we will look to the cycling community for help in making sure we do it correctly.

Walczak, Connolly, Arroyo, Ross show their support for bikes

Boston’s 12 mayoral candidates are in an all out sprint to determine which two hopefuls will stride past the primary election. Two weeks ago, 10 members of the bike community put 10 questions to them-and so far, four campaigns have answered. Does their timely response indicate the amount of priority they will give bicycles in their administration? You be the judge.

First to respond: Bill Walczak, Dorchester

Second to respond: John R. Connolly, West Roxbury

Third to respond: Felix G. Arroyo, Jamaica Plain

Fourth to respond: Mike Ross, Mission Hill

(See the rest of Mike Ross’s answers on his YouTube channel.)

Who would a bike voter support for mayor of Boston?

This is the question on every Boston cyclists’ tongue of late, and though as a 501c3 non-profit the Bike Union can’t straight endorse any one candidate, it can ask the questions that will help you make your personal decision.
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Watch the 2013 Boston Mayoral Bike Questionnaire to sort out a crowded field.

Over the last five years Mayor Thomas Menino and his administration have gotten the wheels rolling on a bike program that addresses equity, education, enforcement, and better bike infrastructure. Ask any cyclist to compare Boston now to Boston in 2007 and they’ll certainly tell you it’s night and day.

But compare Boston to Chicago or New York City and it’s a different story. In those cities mayors have hired transportation leaders like Gabe Klein and Janet Sadik-Kahn whose names have become synonymous with making huge strides on a progressive vision that includes bicycles as a viable daily commuting option for a significant portion of the urban population. They’ve made moves that have been highly controversial, such as the Prospect West cycletrack in New York that raised a firestorm of media and neighborhood protest, yet eventually was accepted and supported by the neighborhood. Boston has just under a $1 million line item for bike infrastructure, but Chicago is investing some $28 million in a 100-mile system of cycletracks, and Portland is set to spend $600 million to achieve a plan for 2030.

Boston Mayoral Bike Questionnaire 2013. Candidate’s answers will be released on Facebook, Twitter andbostoncyclistunion.org as they come in, starting tomorrow!

Which of Boston’s 12 candidates for mayor will not only match Menino’s dedication to biking, but also step it up a notch and catch up to these aspiring world-class biking cities?

To find out, the Bike Union convened a group of concerned cyclists that represent a wide diversity of cyclists, from the most risk averse to the occupational cyclist, to determine the 10 most important questions for Boston’s new leader.  Those organizations and people are Bikes Not Bombs, Biking in Boston with Kids Blog, Boston Collective Delivery, Boston Cyclists Union, BU Bikes, Lane Change, MassBike, Roxbury Bicycle Brigade, and the participants themselves.

Last week, this video was distributed to 11 of the 12 campaigns (we’re still trying to reach the lone Republican on the ballot, David James Wyatt).  As the answers come in, the Bike Union and all the groups listed above will be sharing them with the wider bike community via social media, websites, and e-mail. Please help us make sure every bike voter you know sees the results! 

Tipping point for the city? (Only if you get involved)

Since 2008, the City of Boston has made adding bike lanes to our city streets a routine event, with lanes springing up everywhere from Dorchester to Allston and from East Boston to Mattapan. But bike lanes are only one tool in most cities’ toolboxes these days. Boston still has no contraflow bike lanes, which are becoming common in Cambridge and Brookline, and there is still only one cycletrack in the city–on Western Avenue in Allston. When will Boston turn the corner as Chicago, New York, Washington D.C. and dozens of other cities have done?

A rendering of what a two-way cycletrack might look like on Arlington Street, next to the Public Garden.

A rendering of what a two-way cycletrack might look like on Arlington Street, next to the Public Garden.

With your help, it could be this year.

While a simple bike lane is still proving controversial in the double-parking haven of South Boston, a contraflow bike lane is progressing quickly on Hemenway Street in the Fenway neighborhood, and full-blown two-way cycletracks are being proposed around the Public Garden. Tying all three projects and much more together, the city’s new Bike Network Master Plan, which the Boston Cyclists Union and other advocates helped create, is due to be released any day now.

If these three projects move forward and a new mayor who is progressive on all things transportation is elected–Boston could be poised on the edge of a new era that raises the bar for all of our expectations for two-wheeled safety on city streets.

Changing a city’s culture is not about meeting in back rooms with transportation officials, nor is it about stories in newsletters, major newspapers or blog articles–it’s about people and relationships. If you live in Back Bay or Beacon Hill, it’s time to talk to your neighbors about the importance of starting a cycletrack network in Downtown Boston. Yes, the Public Garden cycletrack being proposed is circular, but build in a connection to the Fiedler Pedestrian Bridge and to Columbus Avenue and you have the beginning of a new node in the bicycle network that connects the Esplanade to the Southwest Corridor. Make sure you attend the meeting in support, and invite your friends who use the street or live nearby to do the same.

South Boston’s concern around preserving double-parking, and by extension a familiar way of life, is understandable in a certain light-but allowing cyclists some safety on Broadway should stand aside from questions of aesthetics and the convenience of someone’s parking job. Whether you’re born and raised in Southie or just moved in, preventing immobilizing injuries that interfere with livelihoods and sometimes end lives should be paramount. Anger toward developers changing the neighborhood is real-but preventing injury of anyone has to remain a priority.

A contraflow on Hemenway, where many cyclists are already traveling against traffic, could pave the way for contraflows on dozens of city streets-giving bike commuting a greater time advantage over other modes of transport while also creating a safer environment for cyclists. In Europe’s urban planning circles, contraflows go hand in hand with a concept called the “detour factor.” Giving cyclists access to routes that are not allowed for motorists increases the time and distance advantage cyclists enjoy. And each time someone realizes they can ride a bike and get to work or school faster than any other mode, a new cyclist is created, making that person healthier and happier while improving traffic congestion and lowering healthcare costs.

Mayor Thomas Menino understands all of this, and has been a great leader for the bike movement. But he was encouraged by the thousands of Bostonians who regularly attend planning meetings to speak up for bikes, like this one in Southie and this all-important one in Beacon Hill. And now, more than any time in the past 20 years, cyclists have a choice to make for which direction City Hall will take on bikes. This fall, make sure to get active in your neighborhood, on the political campaign you believe will do the most for your commute, and in the voting booth.

Buffered bike lanes halfway to Mattapan on Morton St.

Thanks to a handful of dedicated Union members in Jamaica Plain who noticed an unannounced state repaving project on Morton Street late last month, there are now buffered bike lanes on part of Morton Street.

These new buffered bike lanes on Morton Street could easily be converted to cycletracks with the addition of plastic flexposts.

These new buffered bike lanes on Morton Street could easily be converted to cycletracks with the addition of plastic flexposts.

Sarah Freeman of Jamaica Plain was the first to let the Union office know of the project, recalling community interest in connecting the future Casey Aborway project to Mattapan with a cycletrack. With a flurry of phone calls, the Union quickly caught the interest of MassDOT in providing accommodations of some kind, and then garnered the support of Nicole Freeman of Boston Bikes and the Boston Transportation Department, who hired consultant Toole Design Group to crank out a design in short order. The particular section of Morton between Forest Hills in JP and Blue Hill Avenue had not been measured, so two of the Union’s summer interns, Cooper Thomas and Brand Koster went out with a measuring wheel, dodging high speed traffic to create a safer street for bike commuters.

Toole’s original design originally included a mix of buffered bike lanes and regular bike lanes, but MassDOT rejected half of the plan due to a pinch point at Canterbury St. which included 10-foot travel lanes for motor vehicles. Typically the agency disapproves of narrow lanes where buses travel, but has made exceptions in the past on other projects with limited width-such as the BU Bridge.

Given the short time frame, there was no opportunity to appeal the decision to reject the 10-foot lane, but on the upside there may be opportunities in 2014 to strip out the lines and repaint–and thus connect two neighborhoods that have long been separated by a dangerous and impassable street for bikes. Given the right amount of push from Jamaica Plain, Mattapan and Dorchester residents, the city might even find a way to add plastic “flexposts” in order to further protect cyclists from traffic.

Stay tuned as the Union’s new organizing group and volunteers in JP and Mattapan craft a strategy. If you’re interested in participating email us at info@bostoncyclistsunion.org.

I support a cycletrack around the Public Garden

10' path Arlington St 06 9.26.12The City of Boston is proposing a two-way cycletrack around the Public Garden that could significantly cut down on injuries to cyclists and encourage more people to ride bikes. If you support the idea, sign the statement of support below and show up to the public meeting on Wed. Sept. 18.

Public Meeting for cycletrack proposal around the Public Garden.
The Firehouse at
127 Mount Vernon Street
Boston, MA 02108
Wed., Sept. 18
6-8pm

Nominate yourself for the Board of Directors, or encourage a friend

Bike-Love-iconNomination Deadline: Mon. Aug. 19

Do you have skills that can help the Bike Union succeed in making Boston the best bike city in the country? Are you ready to dig in and build a small grassroots organization into a powerhouse with an organized network of bike leaders that take advantage of every possible opportunity in the urban core of Metro Boston?

The Boston Cyclists Union is looking for several new board members who represent a wide diversity of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline residents. The Union strives for board diversity in socio-economic background, in race, in gender, in the skills that people bring, and in geography. If you are passionate about better biking and ready to put in the work, this is your opportunity to have a major impact on the future of biking in Boston.

To apply, simply send your resume and a strong cover letter to info@bostoncyclistsunion.org with the subject line: BOARD NOMINATION, and the current board will analyze the Union’s needs and the skills brought by the nominees to come up with a recommended board slate to be announced at the next Annual Party (Meeting) in September. Terms are for one year for new candidates, and two years for previous board members.

Guiding a non-profit through long and short term planning is no simple task, it takes commitment and dedication from all kinds of people to do it right. Here are just a few of the skills that would help the Union grow:

  • Bikes! (mechanics, safety, planning)
  • Communications & Marketing (including public speaking & graphic design)
  • Community Organizing
  • Data analysis & Research
  • Education, Youth & Adult
  • Event planning
  • Fundraising & Development
  • Finance (Accounting, budgeting, etc)
  • Nonprofit management
  • Grant-writing
  • Information Technology (Web design, Salesforce, and other solutions)
  • Language Skills (Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Cape Verdean Kriolu, Haitian Kreyol, and other languages common in Boston)
  • Law (both non-profit and bike law)
  • Strategic Planning
  • Transportation Planning & Engineering
  • Volunteer Management
  • Writing/Editing

2014 will be another amazing year for the Union, and this winter the board will again dig in to strategic planning to help improve upon existing programs and organizing for change.

Board members meet once a month and are also expected to participate in or lead at least one board committee, as well as get directly engaged in some aspect of the Union’s programs and/or work. All board members participate in making and achieving their own fundraising goals.

The more you are engaged with the Union, the better you can help guide it from where it is to an even brighter future.

Our Mission: The Boston Cyclists Union is helping Bostonians lead healthier lives by promoting the bicycle for transportation. Among other things, we repair bikes, educate new riders, and organize neighborhood residents who would like to voice support for friendlier street designs, bike paths, and public spaces.

The Boston Cyclists Union strives to represent the communities of Boston in all their diversity. Women, people of color, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, and people from all Boston neighborhoods are encouraged to apply.

Nomination deadline is Mon., Aug. 19

Ride the Cycle Track at Huntington Ave Open Streets!

Join the Boston Cyclists Union at Circle The City On Sunday, July 14th 

Better Block Cycle Track

from 11am – 4pm, Circle The City will present the first of two Open Streets events this year. Open Streets on the Avenue of the Arts, presented with the Fenway Alliance, will feature car-free programming on Huntington Avenue between Belvidere Street and Brigham Circle. The outbound side of Huntington Avenue  will be closed to buses and cars to allow for more than 50 free activities for thousands of residents and visitors to walk, bike, roll, dance and play together in the streets of Boston.

Come ride your bike and check out the Boston Cyclists Union at the  corner of Huntington Ave and Gainsborough. We will be using temporary barriers including planters and seated areas to create a segregated bicycle track to enjoy and relax.

Other activities along the route include  live music including Salsa Y Control, an REI Climbing wall, and a dedicated Kid’s Zone. From OMBE Yoga to Zumba, dance and fitness classes will be offered through out the day for all ages along the route. Remember to keep an eye out for neighborhood and sculpture tours near the Christian Science Center Plaza and Brigham Circle, Art Making at the MFA and Food Trucks for a tasty bite.