Zero to 60 in 2010, and faster in 2011, but we'll need your support!

The Cyclists Union helped expand the bike lane network by taking advantage of opportunities in the stimulus repaving program.

Back in January 2010 a group of 19 bike advocates from all over Boston met to start a new group that would organize neighborhoods to achieve advocacy goals rather than relying exclusively on engineers, planners and top-level meetings. The new Boston Cyclists Union’s goal was to change the culture of our city from the ground up.

A year later, these methods have turned out to be far more effective than we dreamed possible. The Union is changing Boston in dozens of ways, but keeping up this pace means we all have to chip in. Every cyclist in Boston has a personal interest in keeping the union going. If you’re not a member yet or would like to make a donation, do it now. With your support, the union will have an even bigger impact in 2011.

Check out this list of Union achievements for 2010, and below that what the Union is cooking up for 2011. You’ll see that if you’re a cyclist in Boston, it just makes sense to support.

What we’ve accomplished in 2010:

  • Expanded the number of streets that got new bike lanes under stimulus, including Talbot Ave., Martin Luther King Blvd., Blue Hill Avenue, and Columbia Rd.
  • Ensured that a few anti-bike lane residents in Jamaica Plain did not derail the city’s plan to install bike lanes on Centre and South streets. Over 1,800 people signed our petition!
  • Improved the city’s bike crash data by working with the ambulance department (Boston Emergency Medical Services) and the Boston Police Department to separate bike crashes from pedestrian crashes on incident reports, giving a clear picture of the scope of the problem for the first time.
  • Worked with the MBTA and other advocates to vastly improve safety policies around bicycles, including a new policy that encourages to drivers to slow down to avoid “leapfrogging” with cyclists, and a new day-long remedial bus-bike training program for drivers who have received multiple complaints from cyclists-part of which will be delivered to all drivers over the next 18 months.
  • Suggested adding a bike lane to S. Huntington and improvements to the intersection at S. Huntington and Heath Streets-which have since been installed.
  • Suggested installing a parking-protected cycletrack on Western Avenue in Allston! Half of the new facility has now been painted, and the next half is due in 2011.
  • Worked with DotBike and a number of other neighborhood groups to make sure space was available and neighborhood support for a new bike cage at Ashmont Station-now scheduled to be installed in 2011.
  • With help from a generous grant from the City of Boston, the bike union started what we now call the “Bike to Market” program. We visited nine farmer’s markets three times each in neighborhoods without bike shops and fixed over 622 bikes for free!
  • Taking advantage of the data we helped create back in March and April, we created the Boston Bike Crash Map, an interactive bike map that tracks where bicycle accidents are happening across the city.

Cyclists Union volunteers helped repair over 600 bikes in neighborhoods without bike shops last summer.

While accomplishing all of this, we were also involved in dozens of longer-term efforts, and smaller ones too. Things like community efforts to get new bike paths in Eastie, Dorchester and Mattapan, improving bike parking in neighborhood business districts and asking for a cycletrack on Cambridge Street in Allston. And in 2011 our plans are even more ambitious. But your support is crucial. Just that tiny membership fee from you could going a long way toward making Boston a bike friendly city. Donate today.

Here are just a few of our efforts getting underway for 2011, and what your donation will support:

  • Bringing together Boston and Brookline to focus on a new design effort for the Route 9 Crossing. The Union plans to follow the project through to construction funding.
  • Convening the city and the state to improve the multi-jurisdictional crossings along the Southwest Corridor.
  • Working with Charlestown cyclists to ensure a bike lane is painted on Main Street.
  • Collaborating with AIR Inc. and other community groups in Eastie to get Massport to build a new bike path connecting Orient Heights and Constitution Beach to the Bremen Street Bike path.
  • Working with grad students from Tufts University to create a new plan for the Dorchester Coast Trail from UMass Boston to Port Norfolk.
  • Participating in and ensuring robust community input in the creation of the City of Boston’s bike network plan that will guide new bike lane and cycletrack creation in Boston until 2020!
  • Filling in the gaps between our new Dorchester and Roxbury bikeways on MLK Blvd, Blue Hill Avenue, Columbia Rd., and Talbot Ave. to make a more connective network.
  • Helping to create a new helmet promotion program with the Boston Public Health Commission that does not threaten the gains we’ve seen in ridership.
  • Engaging the Boston Police Department’s Hackney division to give taxi drivers more awareness of cyclists’ rights to the road.
  • Expanding the Bike to Market program to 5 new neighborhoods while improving outreach to low-income families at all locations. Also to offer affordable helmets, more quality information, and help with “micro-advocacy” projects, such as ensuring your building allows bikes in the hallways and has adequate bike parking.
  • Taking bike crash data to whole new levels that will tell us more about what’s happening out there and how to prevent crashes from happening, including working with the police to improve their resource.
  • A series of themed community bike rides for all levels of riders.
  • Encouraging youth-focused organizations like the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Clubs to do more bike programming for kids.

If the prospect of seeing any of these goals become a reality makes you smile, please consider supporting the union with a membership or donation today!

Leave a Comment