Critical funding for Boston’s bike network is on the line — and we need your support to ensure it makes it into the city’s budget.
On Thursday, May 7, at 10 a.m. the City Council will hold a hearing about the next fiscal year’s proposed budgets (FY21) for the Public Works and Transportation Departments. This includes an increase, to $2.6 million, proposed by Mayor Walsh for the city’s capital budget for building bike lanes.
Ways and Means Hearing: FY21 Budget: PWD, BTD
Thursday, May 7 || 10 a.m.
Click here to watch the livestream
There are two ways you can endorse this increased funding for the city’s strategic bike network.
• Testify during the hearing —Sign up in advance to speak during the meeting by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Then join the meeting on Zoom using the credentials below:
Click here to launch the meeting
Enter Meeting ID: 359 230 088
• Submit testimony in advance — Written testimony or prerecorded videos may be sent to the Ways and Means Committee (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org) or email@example.com and will be made a part of the record and available to all Councilors.
Background + Talking Points
When we launched our annual Boston Bike Budget Campaign this year, we planned to ask the city to commit $8.2 million per year to the strategic bike network. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, rendering that initial ask unfeasible given our new economic reality. For that reason, we are now asking that the city pass the funding levels Mayor Walsh proposed, and spare the bike network from any budget cuts.
Although Walsh’s proposal is less than we’d originally hoped for, we are still pleased with several components of it. We are glad to see:
- An increase in the proposed capital budget for the strategic bike network to $2.6M (from $1.75M in FY20.)
- Funding to build nearly 6 miles of new bike lanes in 2020, and another 5+ the following year, including specific plans to complete high-priority projects.
- Reinstated funding for youth in-school bike programs and continued funding for the women’s Learn to Ride program, as well as maintained funding for bike rack installation. All of these are important ways to increase, sustain and diversify bike ridership. (If you have personal experience with the benefits of these programs, please speak to that in your testimony.)
- Increased funding for the overall Vision Zero budget to address high-crash corridors and safety on our streets.
Boston is behind schedule on its own goals, laid out in GoBoston 2030, of building around 33 miles of bike lanes by 2022; in 2019, Boston built ONLY about 1 mile of protected bike lanes. While the city clearly has many priorities during the current crisis, the bike network should be one of them.
More people are already biking, either for social distancing (to avoid transit) or due to economic hardship. When Bostonians begin returning to workplaces, a robust bike network will be vital to sustaining that ridership growth and encouraging more people to bike instead of driving.
Your testimony (whether written or spoken) is most powerful and convincing when you speak from your own lived experiences. Share why biking is important to you in general and in the current context — are you looking to biking more as an affordable and socially distant mode of transportation? Do you know people who are starting or hoping to bike for the first time because of these reasons? The BCU has already shared with the city data about progress of the bike network, crashes and other data-based arguments.
We need YOU to share your personal experiences and why a connected, protected, equitable bike network will make a difference in your life.