DCR reaches out, seeks to review snow & ice policies

"I'm Alletta heading to class. Biking year round is normal where I'm from." Shot by Organizing Group member Galen Mook of Allston-Brighton Bikes.

“I’m Alletta heading to class. Biking year round is normal where I’m from.” Shot by Organizing Group member Galen Mook of Allston-Brighton Bikes.

Tuesday morning——after increasing pressure from Allston-Brighton Bikes, Southie Bikes, Bike Union volunteers and dozens of everyday riders posting to Facebook and Twitter——the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) paid a call to the Bike Union to invite the bike community to the table to discuss their snow & ice removal policies.

“We most certainly respect the commitment that bike commuters make in the winter,” said DCR director of external affairs Conrad Crawford, offering to hold a public meeting to discuss a possible review of the agency’s snow & ice removal policy, last updated in 2005-2006. “We have an opportunity to take a look at the increase in bicycle traffic in winter and applying that to our snow & ice removal plan.”

Crawford’s message of peace follows a grassroots campaign involving several groups across the city who coordinated their actions through the Union’s Organizing Group. The Organizing Group includes bike activists from several points in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville. The quickly organized campaign was a reaction to a leak of an internal email chain at DCR where one staffer, described by UHub as a higher higher up (but dubbed someone not involved in policy decision by the DCR) wrote,

“Frankly, I am tired of our dedicated team wasting valuable time addressing the less than .05% of all cyclists who choose to bike after a snow/ice event… If someone is completely depending on a bike for year-round transportation, they are living in the wrong city.”

Rather than get in a squabble about just how many winter cyclists there are in Boston, the Organizing Group chose to instead own the derogatory term “.05%” and humanize the actual riders through photos and video—also playing off the DCR’s mission of offering natural resources to all.

More details about the DCR’s meeting and response, including timeline and scope of the discussion, will likely be made public today or later this week.

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