The Union Rider: July 2020

Image: Boston Transportation Department

Boston installs first “Healthy Streets”
pop-up bike lanes

Last week, Boston finally installed pop-up bike lanes downtown as part of the city’s “Healthy Streets” pandemic response. (The city also added pop-up bike lanes on Cummins Highway to test a long-term safety solution there; Cummins was not included in Boston’s original Healthy Streets plan.) Now that temporary infrastructure is in place, the Bike Union will be advocating to make the new lanes permanent. We’ll also continue advocating for Boston to install more pop-up bike lanes in the next phase(s) of Healthy Streets, with a focus on equity and extending the bike network into neighborhoods disproportionately experiencing the health and economic impacts of the pandemic. Read our full Healthy Streets recommendations here.

Want to make these bike lanes permanent, or see more of them around Boston? Share your feedback with the city!

Boston presents cycletrack design for Mass Ave. (!)

We are thrilled that the Boston Transportation Department this week shared plans for a protected, two-way cycletrack on Mass Ave. between Melnea Cass and Columbia Rd. The Bike Union has been organizing around this part of Mass Ave. since 2018 and, thanks to your support and engagement, we were able to convince Boston to opt for what we believe is the best, safest design. Our only issue with BTD’s plan is that implementation will be postponed from this summer/fall to 2021. In the interim, we’ll be advocating for Boston to add pop-up infrastructure to improve safety immediately on this high-crash corridor. For more information, check out BTD’s Virtual Open House, which you can attend anytime, here.

State House closes in on transportation spending bill

The Massachusetts State Senate this month passed a major bond bill to fund transportation initiatives statewide. Although the bill as a whole is underwhelming, it includes some wins for sustainable transportation, including a favorable regulation classifying e-bikes and scooters that would enable Bluebikes to introduce e-bikes to its fleet. The House in March passed its transportation bill, and the two chambers are now hammering out compromise legislation.

Mattapan on Wheels celebrates 10 years

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the Mattapan on Wheels Bike-a-thon. In lieu of a ride this year, organizer Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition held a series of virtual events — including one in which MFFC honored the Bike Union with an award recognizing our longstanding partnership! The BCU has supported Mattapan on Wheels since year one, and we look forward to continuing that partnership in the years to come.

Ride for Black Lives

Saturday saw Boston’s second Ride for Black Lives, a Black-led and Black-centered ride in solidarity with the fight against systems and acts of oppression, police brutality, and murder of Black people. For a recap of Saturday’s ride, check out this video from event co-organizer and BCU Board member Peter  Cheung. Follow the Ride for Black Lives facebook page to find out about future rides! 

Rep. Pressley introduces bill to fund free transit

Representative Ayanna Pressley this month introduced the Freedom to Move Act, which would provide $5 billion in annual grants to fund transit improvements and fare-free service nationwide. The Bike Union has endorsed the legislation as a powerful way to promote transportation equity and support transit ridership. “Transit justice is at the center of every issue — housing, health care, climate,” Rep. Pressley told Curbed. “You can’t do the work of equity and racial justice without centering public transit.”

What We’re Reading

  • Boston Proposes 2-Way Protected Bikeway for Mass. Ave. in Dorchester (StreetsblogMass)
  • Boston installs new downtown bike lanes — for now (Boston Globe)
  • Why Bus-Loving Rep. Ayanna Pressley Wants Transit to Be Free (Curbed)
  • Bluebikes will expand into Arlington, Chelsea, Newton, Revere and Watertown (Boston Globe)
  • How We Can Build an Anti-Racist Outdoor Industry (Outside Magazine)
  • I’ve Seen a Future Without Cars, and It’s Amazing (New York Times)
  • Cambridge Council Recommends Updates to ‘Cycling Safety Ordinance’ to Accelerate Bikeway Projects (StreetsblogMass)

Chain of events

Full chain of events here.