WinterBiker campaign to bear fruit in summer & fall

DCR Commissioner Jack Murray met with representatives from several bike groups and WalkBoston last month, and welcomed new ideas for improving bicycling conditions on major bike routes.
The frenzy of social media posting that was the #WinterBiker campaign in February is setting the stage for some big improvements for cyclists come fall. Last month the Bike Union and other advocates were invited to meet with a phalanx of DCR staffers including representatives from path maintenance, community relations, planning, recreation, and DCR Commissioner Jack Murray.

The hats, mittens and scarfs of the photo campaign gave way to ties and jackets at the meeting, and Boston’s advocacy groups went in armed with a list of desired outcomes from grassroots participants in the campaign. Input came from the Union’s Organizing Group and another meeting of the minds hosted by MassBike and the Bike Union.

It was people using social media that triggered the meeting, but it was clear the Dept. of Conservation seemed to have been waiting for an excuse to recalculate their priorities in the light of the increase in bike ridership in the state’s larger cities. In fact, many of the DCR staffers around the table are avid riders themselves, including director of external affairs Conrad Crawford, senior planner Dan Driscoll, and director of recreation Gary Briere.

It’s the Bike Union’s hope that the new process to review policy will address not just the snow & ice removal that tripped this all off but a host of other items affected by the new acknowledgment of the DCR’s important role in bicycle transportation.

“The meeting was very positive and productive, with DCR acknowledging its important role in bicycle transportation and sharing agency plans to update its snow removal policy to meet current needs,” said Crawford in an official statement. “DCR committed to a transparent and public process to address these issues this year.”

It’s possible that a public process will be coupled with a community advisory group to help frame the wider discussion beforehand, but this detail is yet to be hammered out.

Want to be involved in the discussion? Join the Union’s Organizing Group. We meet monthly and talk about a wide variety of campaigns from the most local to state and even nationwide. Call 617-516-8877 or info@bostoncyclistsunion.org.

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