As the City of Boston enters the home stretch for setting its next budget, we’re thrilled to say we’ve already scored some significant victories in our campaign to boost funding for bike infrastructure and Vision Zero initiatives. Mayor Walsh’s proposed FY 2020 budget, released on April 5, included $2 million in funding for bike infrastructure, an increase from $1.25 million last year. Thanks to your advocacy, it also included a commitment to start a planning process this fall to extend protected bike lanes on Massachusetts Avenue into Dorchester, and on Columbus Ave all the way to and through the Public Garden to MGH.
However, that funding would still fall short of what’s needed for the city to complete priority projects on schedule and to hit its own goals for protected bike lane mileage over the coming years. That’s why we need you to speak up NOW for more bike funding while the budget is still up for debate.
The final budget won’t be voted on until June, and we need your help over the next few weeks to make biking a safe and viable option for everyone who wants to bike in Boston, whether for leisure, errands or commuting. Here’s what you can do:
- Contact your councilor and say that while the mayor’s proposed budget makes progress, it does not go far enough. The City Council will review and suggest changes to Walsh’s proposal over the coming weeks, and the more they hear from constituents the more willing they’ll be to push for increased funding. (Sample script below.)
- Attend the hearing on Tuesday, May 7, when the City Council will review the proposed transportation budget. This is your chance to testify in person, and to show our strength in numbers. High turnout in past years led to increased funding for our causes. The hearing starts at 10:30 and we expect public testimony to start after noon. Contact Eliza if you want support on creating your testimony.
- Tweet at Elected Officials: “I bike Boston _______________ (with my kids/to get to work/because it brings me joy/to maintain my health/etc). @marty_walsh Pass the #BostonBikeBudget and help me get there safely #bospoli #visionzero” (tag your City Councilor as well)
- Join us as we ride to call out Boston’s slow rate of improvement. The Glacial Pace of Progress Rally and Ride will start at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 5 at City Hall Plaza. Just two days before the budget hearing, this action is our chance to demonstrate our power and call on our elected officials to protect us, our friends and family who ride bikes in Boston. The ride will highlight routes that have been committed or planned, but not seen improvements on the ground.
- Join us for a City Councilor Meeting or bike ride:
Sample script to contact your councilor:
To: Mayor@boston.gov, your city councilor
CC: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Dear Mayor Walsh and Councilor [ X ],
As a resident of [YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD] who bikes/who would bike in Boston if it were safer, I ask that you increase capital funding for Vision Zero and the Strategic Bike Network to the levels recommended in the Boston Cyclists Union’s 2020 Bike Budget, $12 million and $4 million, respectively.
I am encouraged by components of Mayor Walsh’s proposed FY 2020 budget that would improve street safety, reduce congestion and promote bike ridership. Extending protected bike lanes on key corridors like Mass Ave. and Columbus Ave., expanding BlueBikes, and increasing parking meter fees are all great ideas that I hope are included in the final budget.
However, the proposed level of funding will not get us far enough to create a connected network of safe bike routes. There are still critical gaps in the network and dangerous roads that aren’t addressed in the proposed budget. Bostonians in all neighborhoods deserve transportation choice and Boston is not living up to its commitment to make biking a viable, safe option for all ages and abilities.
[SAY SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE RIDING A BIKE IN BOSTON]
The Bike Union’s proposed funding would put Boston on track to achieve Go Boston 2030’s bike network goals over the coming decade, while ensuring critical priority projects are completed on schedule. If Boston is serious about minimizing traffic fatalities, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and making our City a better, more livable place, we must raise funding for the bike network and Vision Zero projects in FY20.
Thank you for your consideration,
[Your name / contact info]