The Bike Union campaigns for better bike infrastructure and safer streets throughout Metro Boston. We engage with policymakers and elected officials, organize residents, and mobilize our membership to influence projects big and small.
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- Arborway, Jamaica Plain
From Fenway to Jamaica Pond, there are bike paths along the Emerald Necklace parallel to the Jamaicaway/Arborway — but then there is a gap from Jamaica Pond Pond until the cycle tracks near Forrest Hills. This is one of the only remaining gaps in a key separated, low-stress route, and we will not accept painted lanes as a solution to complete this missing link. The BCU has advocated since 2011 for protected infrastructure along this stretch, but the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has not held a public meeting about this project since 2015. We expect a renewed public planning process to begin fall of 2019; stay tuned for more developments.
- Boston Bike Budget
Since 2017, we've campaigned every year for the City of Boston to increase its budget for bike infrastructure so it can build out the bike network at a faster pace. We've made progress every year — including a doubling in bike infrastructure funding in the city's 2020 budget — but even still, Boston is on track to miss its own goals for bike lane mileage as laid out in Go Boston 2030. Read more about our FY2019 and FY2020 budget campaigns, and stay tuned for info on how to get involved in our FY2021 campaign.
- Cambridge St, Downtown Boston
In 2018, we won a critical campaign resulting in protected bike lanes across the Longfellow Bridge. Now, we're working on connections to that infrastructure. Cambridge St. is a high-volume connector providing job access to a diverse population around Metro Boston; bikes comprise 20.2% of all eastbound traffic on the Longfellow Bridge at rush hour, according to the 2017 Boston bike count. However, it's also one of the highest crash corridors for cyclists in all of Boston, and Tremont St. (the continuation of Cambridge St. downtown) is a high crash area for all modes.A protected bike lane on Cambridge St. was the second-most popular item overall — and rated as the highest priority item for Cambridge St. — in the North Station Area Mobility Action Plan, released in September 2017 by the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) and the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA.) The City of Boston identified the protected bike lane on Cambridge St. as be a priority project to be completed by 2022.
- Mass Ave "South", Dorchester/Roxbury/South End
Mass Ave. has one of the highest crash rates in the entire city for all modes of transportation, and the stretch from Melnea Cass to Columbia Rd. (“Mass Ave. South”) is particularly perilous for cyclists because it has a high level of truck traffic yet zero bike infrastructure. The City has promised several times over the years to bring protected bike lanes to this stretch of Mass Ave., but has so far failed to deliver. After forming a campaign team and ramping up our outreach and organizing efforts around this issue in the summer and fall of 2018, we won a major victory when Mayor Walsh announced the planning to implement safe bike facilities on this stretch would begin in the fall of 2019.
Help us see this project through to completion! Once this process begins, we'll need all of you who live, work or ride in this area to come to public meetings and advocate for protected bike lanes!Learn more about the campaign here, and find the latest news about our progress here.
- Public Garden, Beacon Hill
This area, in the very heart of Boston, is a major missing link in the bike network. Providing safe bicycle accommodations here will enable people to make connections between the Charles River , Downtown, the Connect Historic Boston Bike Trail, the Harborwalk, and the Southwest Corridor.
In September 2013, the City of Boston hosted a public meeting to discuss the option of a two-way cycletrack around the Public Garden. Two months later, Mayor Walsh was elected, and plans have not moved forward since then.The Walsh administration's transportation and climate blueprint, GoBoston 2030, calls for putting protected bike lanes along three sides of Boston Common by 2022, with Beacon St. is listed as a 15-year project (by 2032), but we want to see even swifter progress to fix this glaring gap. In April 2017, the BCU held a rally called “Make Way for Bike Lanes” to call attention to the dangerous conditions on roads around the Public Garden, and we continue to build partnerships with residents, local groups and Friends of the Public Garden.
If you live in Beacon Hill/Back Bay and want to see this project progress, your voice will be extremely important in 2019 and 2020. Contact us to get more involved in this campaign!
There will be many other opportunities to get involved in this area over the coming year, too, including a planning process for improving Boston Common, the Southwest Corridor Extension project, and PLAN: Downtown by the BPDA. For now, you can fill out the Boston Common survey, and sign up for alerts about the SW Corridor Extension project (which will include plans for Charles St).
- Vision Zero
As member of the Massachusetts Vision Zero Caolition, the BCU and its partners work to reduce and eventually end traffic fatalities and serious injuries. This includes lobbbying lawmakers at the State House and City Hall, rallying residents to speak up for safer streets, and organzing events (World Day of Remembrance, Day of Action at the State House) to bring about change. Among other victories, in 2019 this advocacy led Massachusetts to pass our top legislative prkiority: A "hands-free" law to curtail distracted driving.
- Brookline Ave, Boylston St. and Park Drive, Fenway Area
- Centre St, West Roxbury
Centre St is the Main Street district for West Roxbury and has four lanes of vehicle traffic, no bike lanes and is challenging to cross as a pedestrian. When Centre St was redesigned 15 years ago, advocates and many residents and businesses suggested a road diet to make it safer to cross; the City said it wasn’t feasible. After Marilyn Wentworth was struck and killed while crossing Centre St in February 2019, residents and businesses again started to organize. Shortly before this tragic event, BCU worked with residents to form the West Roxbury Bicycle Committee; a pedestrian safety group called West Rox Walks also formed around this time. These two groups have been leading the way around education, outreach and advocacy for a road diet and protected bike lanes on Centre St. Get involved with the West Roxbury Bicycle Committee to ensure a safe, people-first design for Centre St!
- Centre-South St, Jamaica Plain
One of the BCU’s first wins was getting painted bike lanes on Centre St. in 2010, at a time when these were the norm for bike facilities. We now know painted lanes create a dangerous “dooring” threat, and that physically separated bike infrastructure is far more effective at preventing crashes. In January 2019, Boston’s Vision Zero program released high crash maps showing Centre St. as a high-crash road for cyclists — likely due to dooring. Shortly thereafter, when it became clear that the Boston Transportation Department was going to implement outdated concepts (from 2011) to redesign the section of Centre St. between Jackson Square and Gayhead St, residents began gathering signatures to change the design and add protected bike lanes. The BCU joined the organizing effort in May 2019, and helped restart the JP Bike Group (formerly JPBikes) with the improvement of Centre-South St. as their first campaign goal.
- Cummins Highway, Mattapan
- Malcolm X Blvd, Roxbury
Malcolm X Blvd. is the most direct route from the Southwest Corridor to Dudley Square. Along this stretch, there are two high schools and a community college, and Timilty Middle School is just one block away. Yet the road has four lanes of traffic that make it a dangerous place to bike, and a hard street to cross. After an elderly woman was struck by a vehicle and seriously injured in 2016 while crossing the street, BTD added a crosswalk but didn't make other improvements. A two-way cycle track is already being implemented on Warren St. in Dudley Square, in 2019, and it could continue down Malcolm X Blvd. The BCU is looking to connect with people who live/work/bike in the area and are interested in getting involved in a campaign to win physically separated bike lanes on Malcolm X Blvd. To get involved, contact Roxbury organizer Emmanuel (edebarros @ bostoncyclistsunion.org)
- Morrissey Boulevard, Dorchester
This is a key road, owned by DCR, that connects Dorchester and points south to downtown Boston. DCR approved a re-design of Morrissey Blvd to make it more bike- and pedestrian-friendly, and to give people easier access to the beach. However, plans stalled after neighborhood groups objected to the proposal because it would take away a driving lane, and Mayor Walsh asked DCR to meet with and get approval from all those groups before moving forward. As time went on, DCR and the City of Boston determined that Morrissey Blvd. should also be elevated more to act as a flood wall. According to Climate Ready Boston, Morrissey Blvd. will flood regularly in 2050 if the design is not significantly altered. Planning for Morrissey Blvd will now be included in Climate Ready Dorchester planning process, which will launch in September 2019. You can find out more information and sign up here to get updates.
- Northern Ave Bridge, Seaport
- Tremont Street, South End
Go Boston 2030 identified Tremont St., between Herald St. and Melnea Cass Blvd., as a priority corridor for bike and pedestrian improvements. Tremont St. was the site of multiple fatal crashes involving pedestrians in recent years, increasing the urgency to act. In the fall/winter of 2018-19, the BCU conducted outreach to find out what community organizations, residents and business owners wanted to see on Tremont St. We heard a lot of concerns about the four lanes of traffic, insufficient pedestrian crossings, and lack of safe bike facilities. At a public meeting in June of 2019, BTD shared their preferred plans for Tremont St., from Massachusetts Ave. to Herald St., which includes a road diet, parking-protected bike lanes, raised intersections on many cross streets, and an addition of short-term parking. (Note: During the planning process in 2019, BTD removed the Lower Roxbury section from the redesign process due to a lack of community support. BTD is revisiting what, if any improvements, will be made in that stretch in the future.) We will keep organizing and advocating for these safe, multi-modal plans, which we hope to see on the ground in 2020.
- Summer St, Seaport/South Boston