1,500 Bostonians Speak Up for People-First Streets
On Monday, 5/24, we delivered our Boston Bike Budget petition to the Boston City Council during a hearing on the street's budget for FY22. Close to 1,500 people signed the petition in support of our vision for a connected, protected and equitable bike network.
The letter we submitted along with the petition is available in full below.
Mayor Janey and the Boston City Council:
Last year, Boston made significant progress in expanding its bike network and prioritizing people-first streets. This year, we ask that you further commit to a vision for Boston where people of all ages and abilities, and from all neighborhoods and backgrounds, can safely get around by bike.
In our Boston Bike Budget proposal for FY22, we’re asking the City to fund and build 10 miles of protected bike lanes in each of the next two years, with a focus on filling gaps and forming connections in the network. Critically. The proposal prioritizes bike lanes in Boston's most impacted and under-resourced neighborhoods, and includes suggestions for specific projects for the first 10 miles, some of which (i.e. Mass Ave.) are far along in planning and should be easy to complete. Some projects should be paired with the implementation of bus rapid transit lanes as well, and all projects should include additional safety measures for people walking and using mobility devices. In addition, we are asking that you reduce the police budget and remove policing from Vision Zero. (All our asks are included with this letter, and are available here.)
It’s not only the Boston Cyclists Union asking for this. Approximately 1,500 people who live and/or work in Boston signed our petition for this campaign.
People who signed the petition include parents, students, seniors, lifelong Bostonians and recent transplants. They include a son worried about his mom biking to work, and a grandparent worried about her two grandkids biking to school. They include people who lack drivers licenses or accessible T service, as well as people who say they want to bike but feel forced into driving. Many people who signed shared personal stories of being hit by cars, or knowing others who had. Throughout the petition are stories of broken bones, hospital visits and ghost bike ceremonies—all the result of biking without safe infrastructure. (A small sampling of those stories are included at the end of this letter.)
On behalf of the Boston Cyclists Union and everyone who bikes in Boston, I urge you to consider our Boston Bike Budget proposal for rapidly expanding the city’s bike network.
Executive Director, Boston Cyclists Union
Testimonial in support of the Boston Bike Budget
“Biking is my primary method of commuting and traveling around Boston. I use the BlueBikes share program, and it has been invaluable for my transportation needs…Improved bike lanes are what prompted me to start biking in Boston. When I felt like it was safe to commute along Comm. Ave by bike, I started biking regularly. More protected bike lanes will certainly get more people onto bikes!” — Bohan, Allston
“I want to bike with my 6 year old but there aren’t any protected bike lanes in my neighborhood and it isn’t safe. Columbia Rd to Melnea Cass would improve access to the city from Dorchester which is currently cut off.” — Stacy, Dorchester
“I bike commute to work from Roslindale to the Seaport. I have a family and I want to be around long enough to support them.” — Marc, Roslindale
“I am 68 years old, and I don't feel comfortable riding on the street. I can only ride a bike if there are protected bike lanes. I don't have a driver's license, so bicycling could be an important mode of transportation for me.” — Liudmila, Brighton
“My mom needs to ride her bike to work especially during the pandemic. Every time my mom rides on the street without bike lanes, I feel so nervous and so worried that if anything bad will happen to her. I even bought a new Apple Watch for her just for the fall detection feature.” — Ziyan, Fenway-Kenmore
“I live in Dorchester and bike every day. When I bike to other parts of Boston, I see drastic differences when it comes to bikes. We need to treat all neighborhoods the same. People bike everywhere in this city.” — Jordan, Dorchester
“I would gladly commute from the North End to my job in Longwood Medical Area if there were *protected* bike lanes the entire way. I cannot risk my life mixing it up with cars & trucks on shared vehicle + bike lanes. Unfortunately, there are several missing links in my potential bike commute...I really want to be able to bike for my commute. It would potentially enable me to get rid of my car, which I park in resident parking spaces in the North End, thereby freeing up a space for others!”— Andrew, North End
“I only moved to Boston last year. In no other city did I need a car. But I had to get one to get around here.” — Jessica, Jamaica Plain
“It’s important to me to have more bike lanes because the roads in Roxbury and Dorchester are so unsafe for biking I have to take car trips every time even for a mile or two. I would love to drive less. Please make it safer so I don't have to risk my life.”— Anne, Roxbury
“I am a bicycle commuter (West Roxbury to Boston Seaport), and my sons and wife are cyclists. Marilyn Wentworth was struck and killed on Centre Street at the intersection at the end of my block (Hastings Street). The Centre Street road diet is critical to the safety of my family and my neighborhood!” — Matthew, West Roxbury
“Diabetes and hypertension are big killers in my community and exercise is a way to mitigate the dangers of those diseases. Biking for transportation automatically includes exercise in your day so it's not something you need to add or do extra.” — Michelle, Roxbury
“As someone who has had their life radically altered after being hit by a car while biking in Boston, safety is imperative and infrastructure saves lives. I would still have full faculty if the bike lane I had been riding in had been protected by more than paint.” — Cailin, Brighton
“I live in Beacon Hill. In order to get *anywhere* by bike, I have to ride with traffic on very busy roads (Cambridge St, Charles St, Beacon St). My most frequent routes involve the intersection of Charles St and Cambridge St, which is a complex, busy 9-way intersection with traffic entering and exiting Storrow Dr, and I feel like it's only a matter of time before I get hit.” —Nick, Beacon Hill
“I’m looking to purchase a bike soon, and part of the reason I haven’t yet is because I don’t feel safe cycling in Boston. Increasing the amount of protected bike lanes is hugely important. I shouldn’t have to own a car to take full advantage of the city I live in, especially one so perfectly set up for decreased car reliance as Boston!” — Kyle, South End
“I live in Dorchester, work downtown, have doctors in the South End and Fenway, and attend church in Mattapan, Dorchester, or downtown crossing. In other words, I live, work, play, and pray in Boston, and my bike is my main mode of transportation.” — Mark, Dorchester
“I broke my collarbone in a bicycle accident because I got squeezed out by traffic on a road with no bike lane...Door lanes aren't true bike Ianes and are still super dangerous.” — Barak, Dorchester
“After many years of cycling in this city I can say it’s still super dangerous, just last week I was hit by someone opening their car door on a street without a bike lane. Incidents like these are less common when there are bike lanes. I bike because I don’t have a driver’s license.” — Moon, Brighton
“After five years of living in Boston, I finally started biking in the city this year. I had always wanted to bike more, but never had the courage to start because of how dangerous it felt and how little bike infrastructure I saw in the city. This year, I finally started biking as a means of transportation and recreation during the pandemic, and found it to be truly life changing. It gave me the ability to access the whole city.” — Joanna, Jamaica Plain
“Biking gives such autonomy, and bike lanes provide safety. I'm often discouraged to bike because I live in Dorchester and the infrastructure is not there.” — Elizabeth, Dorchester