Dear BCU supporters,
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to unfold, we at the Bike Union want to update you on what this means for our work in the near future. This public health emergency will require everyone to adapt as conditions continue to change, and the BCU is no different.
Public Meetings & Hearings
On Thursday, the City of Boston announced it will indefinitely postpone all meetings and public hearings expected to draw crowds of 25+ people. We expect surrounding towns to follow suit with similar postponements. This means that meetings about major projects we’ve worked hard to shape — involving Connect Downtown: Southwest Corridor Extension, Mass Ave., Tremont St. and more — are effectively on hold. (As of now Boston is still holding office hours to collect feedback about the Connect Downtown since those are drop-in opportunities and not gatherings; you can find a list of all office hours here.)
We will share more information once we have it about rescheduled dates, and expect more of the public engagement to move online.
Boston Bike Budget Campaign
We are postponing all bike- and walk-along meetings with Boston City Councilors around our Boston Bike Budget campaign, which presses Mayor Walsh and the city to allocate more funding for protected bike lanes. These events are critical opportunities for constituents to meet directly with their representatives, so we hope to still hold these outdoor meetings in the coming months. If and when we have those dates confirmed, we will notify you about when you can meet with your Councilor. Councilors are focusing their energies right now on responding to COVID-19.
We will monitor the situation, and send out ways you can encourage the city online, from the comfort of your home, to increase the budget to make Boston better for biking.
Internal BCU Meetings
For the next four weeks, we will be moving online all of our meetings, such as our monthly Activist Group meeting and board committee meetings. After those four weeks, we will reassess whether to continue this practice. We will share information about how to participate in these meetings as they come up.
BCU staff will be working from home for the time-being and will likely have limited time as they take care of their families. I, for example, have just learned that my daughter’s preschool will be closed for at least the next two weeks.
We, like you, are feeling unsettled and uncertain right now. In this difficult time it is imperative that we support each other. Our work is important, but it pales in importance to keeping each other happy, healthy and safe. So please: Take care of yourselves, your loved ones and your community members. We’ll all be better off — and our community will emerge stronger — because of it.
For me, biking has felt liberating and calming in the last week, and I have continued to see friendly faces on bike paths. At 6-months pregnant, I began to reduce my riding, but I am back on the saddle every day now because I need the air, the exercise, and the connection. I encourage you to say hello to your fellow cyclists whether you know them or not. In this time of social distancing, meet up with someone from the community to go for a ride, and/or share a story on social media about what biking means to you. (If you do, use our #BostonBikeStory hashtag, and we can reshare your experience to keep us all a little more connected.) We want to see your faces and know how you all are doing!
We at the Boston Cyclists Union look forward to working with you all, and celebrating our successes, in person once the coronavirus outbreak has abated. Until then, stay safe, and ride on.
Interim Executive Director, Boston Cyclists Union