Cambridge takes major steps towards expanding its network of protected bike lanes

On Monday, June 26th, after hearing testimony from dozens of residents and business owners, including many of you, the Cambridge City Council passed an ordinance asking the City Manager “to accelerate the planning and installation of two or more protected bike lanes by September, produce a plan by October 2017 for the roll-out of protected bike lanes on all major city thoroughfares, and ensure that the CambridgeBike Plan recommendations are fully implemented on all road projects.” (Wicked Local Cambridge)

To add to this fantastic news, this week the City created a new stretch of protected bike lane on Mass Ave, as well as a 2-way protected bike lane on a stretch of Brattle Street in Harvard Square! The Brattle Street protected bike lane is a particularly welcome change because it creates a safe and legal way for people biking to ride contraflow (which was very common before the change), and motor vehicle traffic now flows slowly and safely on Brattle Street thanks to the lane reduction.

Mass Ave (top) and Brattle Street (bottom). Photo courtesy of Cambridge Bike Safety

Mass Ave (top) and Brattle Street (bottom). Photo courtesy of Cambridge Bike Safety

These steps are thanks to the passionate advocacy of the Cambridge Bicycle Safety group, as well as continued pressure from the Bike Union and other neighborhood activists. We can’t wait to see the City’s plan for implementing protected bike lanes on its major thoroughfares! If you want to help the City decide where these new protected bike lanes should go, fill out this survey!

Want to see even more protected bike lanes in Cambridge? The City is currently accepting ideas for the 2017 Participatory Budgeting ballot! In past years, protected bike lanes have been the most popular ideas in the Participatory Budgeting process, and in fact, these two projects were funded through the Participatory Budgeting process! Click here to submit your ideas!

P.S. If you support these projects and want to see more, let the City of Cambridge know! Send a note of thanks to the following emails:

The Bike Union is hiring!

The Bike Union is hiring a Membership and Events Coordinator!

The Coordinator manages the Boston Cyclists Union’s rapidly growing membership and volunteer programs. They manage the Union’s donor database,  develop and execute communication strategies, assist in planning events and fundraisers, and collaborate with staff and partners to explore other fundraising opportunities. Through this work they fulfill the Bike Union’s goals of growing and supporting our membership, and building the bike community and the network of bike-friendly businesses in the Boston area.

This is a full time, salaried position. Click here to read the full description and apply!

Support a safer Beacon Street!

beaconstoneway

The City of Boston is proposing to install a parking-protected bike lane on Beacon Street in the Back Bay, but we need to speak up to make sure the best design possible in chosen!

At a public meeting on June 12th, the Boston Transportation Department presented 4 design alternatives for Beacon Street, and two different options for the intersection of Mass Ave and Beacon Street. We need to make sure that Alternative 1 is selected, and that Option A is chosen for the block of Beacon Street approaching Mass Ave.

Option B proposes a “mixing zone” where right-turning cars and all bike traffic will merge together before reaching Mass Ave, creating an unnecessary conflict point between car and bike traffic. This design was created to accommodate cars turning right onto Mass Ave. However, the City’s presentation made it clear that the mixing zone is not necessary, and Option A can adequately handle all turning movements without traffic backing up Beacon Street. The mixing-zone would also require removing 12 on-street parking spaces from Beacon Street.

The proposed "mixing-zone" in Option B.

The proposed “mixing-zone” in Option B.

Copy and paste the message below into an email, and let the City know you support a parking-protected bike lane on Beacon Street all the way to Mass Ave!

P.S. Don’t forget to fill out this survey about inbound/outbound connections after you email your comments!


to: visionzero@boston.gov

subject: Beacon Street Design Project Comments

As a person who bikes in Boston, I am extremely excited to see the City propose installing a parking-protected bike lane on Beacon Street in the Back Bay. With a parking-protected bike lane, I will feel much safer and more comfortable biking on Beacon Street.

I strongly support Alternative 1, and I hope that after Beacon Street is repaved in the future, the protected bike lane can be made two-way, as shown in Alternative 2. That said, I am concerned about the lane widths proposed in Alternative 1, and I support narrowing the travel and parking lanes, and adding enough space to the bike lane to allow for 2 people to ride side by side. I would also like to see the stretch of Beacon Street from Charles Street to Berkeley Street redesigned to be safer for people biking, as well as have space on Arlington Street dedicated for biking. Also, if Alternative 1 is implemented, please create an inbound route for people biking along Marlborough Street, including a contra-flow lane on the final block of Marlborough Street.

Lastly, I strongly oppose “Option B” for the intersection of Beacon Street and Mass Ave. The mixing zone shown in Option B would increase conflicts between bike traffic and right-turning vehicles, as well as require the removal of 12 on-street parking spaces. Please continue the parking-protected bike lane all the way to the intersection at Mass Ave, as shown in “Option A”.

Thank you for considering my comments.

*Please CC the following:

chris.osgood@boston.gov;
gina.fiandaca@boston.gov;
vineet.gupta@boston.gov;
stefanie.seskin@boston.gov;
Michelle.Wu@boston.gov;
Ayanna.Pressley@boston.gov;
daniel.koh@boston.gov;
Frank.Baker@boston.gov;
JOSH.ZAKIM@boston.gov;
A.E.GEORGE@boston.gov;
ANDREA.CAMPBELL@boston.gov;
william.brownsberger@masenate.gov;
Jay.Livingstone@mahouse.gov;
info@bostoncyclistsunion.org

Who Bikes Boston? Claiming Your Identity in Boston's Bike Culture.

NOTE: This is the first of six guest blog posts with reflections on Boston’s first Neighborhood Bike Forum. The forum was held on April 29th in Dudley Square, Roxbury. It was sponsored by Let’s Get Healthy, Boston! a partnership between The Boston Public Health Commission and Boston Alliance for Community Health, together with Boston Cyclists Union, Transportation for MA, Mattapan Food & Fitness Coalition, Roxbury in Motion and the Boston Project Ministries. 128 people attended this four hour event.

In addition to “Who Bikes Boston,” conversations and panel discussions were held around neighborhood bike rides, tips and success stories on engaging in advocacy, how to bike safely and defensively without ideal infrastructure, youth and biking, and bikes and entrepreneurism. You can watch videos of some of the panel discussions on periscope by clicking the links, recorded and posted by Marc Ebuña of Transit Matters.

Join the conversation #ibikeBOS #bikeyourhood. 


 

Who Bikes Boston? Claiming Your Identity in Boston’s Bike Culture.  Thoughts and Reflections on the panel discussion.

By: Angela Johnson, Program Associate, Transportation for MA, Panel Facilitator; Boston Cyclists Union Board Member

Who Bikes Boston

Bike culture and identity can be a dicey subject. But it was important to make it center stage at the Boston Neighborhood Bike Forum.

In the U.S., “bikers” are on motorcycles and “cyclists” ride very expensive racing bikes. “People who bike” was conjured up as a way to describe the people in the middle — those of us who are just on a bike, for any reason. Indeed, there’s power in using this phrase, as popular perception has given the previous labels specific definitions, but I’ve always questioned why “cyclist” had to be so narrow in definition in the first place.

Now, let’s add race and ethnicity to the conversation.

Racing cyclists are often perceived to be white, male, athletic, and of higher socioeconomic status. In reality, in regards to people who bike, they’re the minority. The average person on a bike is Latino, male, and working class. Yet, unless he is suited in Lycra, he is a bike commuter, a person who bikes, or an “Invisible Cyclist”, depending on both his socioeconomic and immigration status.

The primary goal of the “Who Bikes Boston” panel was to give an opportunity for residents of color to share their experiences biking in the city, and in a setting specifically conceived for us. The secondary goal was to debate who gets to be called a cyclist. But the underlying goal was to push back against this idea that folks of color, especially Black people, don’t bike. Because we do.

From my own experience as an Afro-Latina, a cyclist, and as a transportation advocate, biking in Boston does feel quite white. For some, this perception can lead to feeling alienated in present bike spaces that associate bikes with a certain race and socioeconomic status. So, it was very important that the panel feature both speakers of color and a facilitator of color in order to foster trust. Michelle Cook, founder of Roxbury Rides, Peter Cheung, bike advocate and Boston Bike Party, and Farah Wong, Allston-Brighton Healthy Community Champion and Hubway user, each shared their unique experiences on Boston’s streets. Continue reading Who Bikes Boston? Claiming Your Identity in Boston’s Bike Culture.