The 5 biggest wins for biking in 2019

Members of the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition with Gov. Baker at the ‘hands-free’ bill signing ceremony

As 2019 comes to a close, we’re looking back at some of our proudest achievements from the year. We couldn’t have accomplished all this without the support from people like you. So if, like us, you’re thrilled by the developments listed below, then please consider donating to the Boston Cyclists Union. With your support, we can achieve even bigger things in the year to come. 

‘Hands-free’ legislation

In November, Gov. Baker signed a law that bans the handheld use of phones while driving. Similar laws in other states have proven to be effective deterrents to distracted driving, which makes roads dramatically safer for everyone. This was our top legislative priority at the State House in 2019, and we worked hard to get it passed. As a member of the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition, we’re now eager to work with the legislature and Baker administration to pass more road safety bills in 2020.

Boston Bike Budget

For the third straight year, through our Boston BIke Budget campaign we successfully lobbied Boston to allocate more funding for bike projects. The results this year: A 200% increase in funding for bike projects, plus specific line items for some of our top priorities, including a  commitment to address the lack of bike facilities on Mass Ave. in Dorchester. Our collective advocacy, including the Glacial Pace of Progress rally/ride that elevated this issue in the press, got big results, and we’re excited to build off that progress to secure even more funding for bike infrastructure in 2020.

Protected bike lanes on TWO Charles River Bridges

Midway through last year, there were no protected bike lanes (PBLs) across the Charles River. Now, two bridges connecting Cambridge and Boston have PBLs — both of which are the direct result of our advocacy. By rallying opposition to DCR and MassDOT’s unsafe plans for the Craigie Bridge, we convinced the agencies to create PBLs in both directions. And after winning PBLs on the Longfellow last year, we held MassDOT accountable to its promise to upgrade the inbound lane this year by widening it to allow safer while further slowing traffic. The campaign also led to PBLs feeding into the bridge on Main St. in Cambridge, and speed feedback signs on the Mass Ave. Bridge, which will help us build our case for protection there next.

Commonwealth Ave. (BU)

Comm Ave. has some of the highest bike ridership in the entire city of Boston, and ridership is poised to spike even higher following the completion of PBLs from the BU Bridge to Packard’s Corner. We organized cyclists to show up and speak up as part of a fierce coalition that pushed to get PBLs here, and in 2015 emerged victorious when the city presented its first-ever plans for curb-separated PBLs despite vocal opposition over the loss of some parking spaces. Unexpected construction challenges delayed completion, but we’re thrilled to see this vital piece of Boston’s bike network is now fully operational!

Beacon Street (Somerville)

Another long-term project completed in 2019, the reconstruction of Beacon St. in Somerville created a raised, separated bikeway on a key corridor north of the river. Now, people biking have a comfortable, direct route from Porter Square to Inman and points beyond.

Stay tuned: Tomorrow we’ll publish a list of some of the most impactful projects we’ll tackle in 2020.