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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From Fenway to Franklin Park, there are bike paths all along the Emerald Necklace — except for a glaring gap between Jamaica Pond and Forest Hills. This is one of the only missing links in a low-stress route connecting people to jobs and providing access to premium green space. This stretch is also one of the highest crash corridors in Boston. In 2017 and 2018, on average there was a crash every 5 days.
We're working with residents and other advocates to get protected bike lanes on the Arborway.
In 2018, we won a critical campaign resulting in protected bike lanes across the Longfellow Bridge. Now, we're working on connections to that/from infrastructure. In the summer of 2021 we launched a grassroots campaign in Beacon Hill led by residents and commuters to get Boston to commit to a 2-way cycle-track on Charles St. Despite there being 3 vehicle lanes, 2 car parking lanes and no bike infrastructure whatsoever, bikes already account for up to 26% of total traffic on Charles St (during the PM peak in summer 2020).
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. After forming a campaign team and ramping up our efforts around this issue in 2018, we won a major victory when Boston announced plans for a two-way, protected cycletrack (our preferred design!) on this stretch of Mass Ave. The COVID pandemic delayed construction, and we're now pressing Boston to make this project a priority .
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. A two-way cycle track is already being implemented on Warren St. in Dudley Square, 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 Community Organizer Malaysia (mfstaten @ bostoncyclistsunion.org)
Centre St, West Roxbury
Centre Stree 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.
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.
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.