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Defend Protected Bike Lanes In Cambridge From Being Removed!

Written by Boston Biker on Aug 06

from the email:

 

This Monday, August 7th, the Cambridge City Council will vote on a policy order which could put a moratorium on all new “pop-up” protected bike lanes.

Earlier this month, Cambridge installed a new 2-way protected bike lane on Brattle Street in Harvard Square that was proposed during participatory budgeting. The new design has dramatically transformed Brattle St into a slower, safer street for all users, especially bicyclists and pedestrians. For the first time there is now a safe route in and out of Harvard Sq for people of all ages and abilities to ride a bike, allowing them to avoid the other streets where they’d have to ride in motor vehicle traffic.

Unfortunately, the Harvard Square Business Association has begun an active and unfounded opposition campaign to try and get the protected bike lanes on Brattle St removed, and have taken their fight to the city council.

Three councilors (Simmons, Toomey, and Maher) have sponsored a policy order for Monday’s agenda that would stop all work on all new “pop-up” protected bike lanes, until City staff have met with every single Business Association in Cambridge.

Passage of this order could dramatically delay installation of all planned protected bike lanes and threatens the City’s ability to install and construct new lanes like the ones recently installed on Mass Ave, and the lanes on Cambridge Street west of Inman Square slated for installation soon.

We need to show up and speak up in favor of safer streets! The Cambridge City Council needs to see that an overwhelming number of people support protected bike lanes, and they shouldn’t cave to the pressure of a few dissenting voices.

We can all work together to address reasonable concerns with the Brattle Street design, and city staff are working to make small changes and address concerns, but eliminating the protected bike lane and delaying the implementation of more protected bike lanes is unacceptable. Just yesterday, a cyclist was hit in Harvard Square, which shows the immediate need for protection.

Action items:

  • Write to the city council right now ([email protected], and please copy [email protected] and [email protected]) and ask them to vote against order O-14 on Brattle St.
    If you are a Cambridge resident, we suggest mentioning that voting against policy orders like this is important for getting your vote and that you’ll pay attention to how the vote turns out. Please be polite!
  • Show up at the city council meeting this Monday and speak out encouraging the council to vote against this policy order.
    Note the unusual location:

    • When: Monday, August 7, 5:30pm
    • Where: Dr. Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 459 Broadway
    • What: Attend and speak against Policy Order O-14

      You can sign up to speak by calling the City Council office at 617-349-4280 on Monday between 9:00am and 3:00pm, or by signing up in person between 5:00pm and 6:00 pm. If you come to the meeting late, you can usually speak by responding to an invitation to speak at the end of public comment.

  • Contact local businesses in Harvard Square and speak with them about why the lanes are important. Be respectful and ask local business owners to support the installation of the bike lanes and speak out against the HSBA’s opposition. After you’ve contacted a business, please send a quick note to us at [email protected] and let us know how it went. Also, if you personally work or own a business in Harvard Square, please get in touch with us – we need your active support on this.

Last, we want the Harvard Square Business Association to see that bikes are GOOD for business! Go to Harvard Square businesses this weekend, make a purchase, and post on instagram or twitter. Use the hashtags #boughtbybike and #saferbrattle, and be sure to tweet at or tag us (@bostonbikeunion / @cambridgebikesafety) as well as the Harvard Square Business Association (@HarvardSquare). We will amplify and retweet, and hope that you do, too!


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Action Alert: Let Your Voice Be Heard For Zoning Reform

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 08

From Livable Streets:

The Senate is taking up a bill updating our zoning law for the first time in 40 years—and we need your voice to support it!

The Zoning Reform bill is the most important planning, housing, and land-use bill in years. This is a critical moment to ask for your Senator’s support! It takes just a moment.

Voice_Your_Support.png
Transportation and housing policies are intimately connected—good policies create more livable streets and communities for everyone.

Will you click here to tell your Senator to support this important bill? It takes just a minute.

To learn more about this bill and why it’s important, read on below or click here.

The Senate will vote this Thursday, June 9th, so now is the time to act.

Thank you for speaking up!

LivableStreets Alliance
http://www.livablestreets.info/


Did you know?

Restrictive zoning is crippling our economy, health and environment. Economists estimate that restrictive zoning drives up housing prices in Greater Boston by nearly 20% and leads to a 20% decline in employment. Outdated zoning has cost our region at least 156,000 jobs.

We are building fewer than half of the homes our state needs annually to meet our current state-wide needs and prevent job loss to other states. Meanwhile, combined housing and transportation costs now eat up an average of 50% of family budgets.

At least 52% of Americans want to live in places where they do not have to use a car very often. People who live in walkable neighborhoods are twice as likely to get the exercise they need, reducing the risk of obesity and making our communities more livable.

Every day, thirteen acres of forests and farmland are lost to low-density sprawl caused by inefficient and outdated zoning, generating more traffic in addition to infrastructure costs that drain municipal budgets.

Here’s what this landmark bill does:

  • The bill will stimulate home & business development
  • Communities will increase “multi-family” zoning to build more of the homes we need.
  • Allowing homeowners to create “accessory dwelling units” on their property will enable them to create new housing for relatives or to generate rental income to help them stay in their home.
  • Special permits, which are a common approval process, would no longer require a supermajority vote.
  • Variance reforms will make it easier for property owners to make improvements.
  • Developers will have longer, more reasonable time periods to use their permits.
  • Reforming the appeals process will reduce frivolous lawsuits and lengthy court battles over development, saving time and money for local government, taxpayers, and developers.

Provides our cities and towns with the modern planning tools they need

  • Other states use a rational and predictable process to assess impact fees from development to offset the cost of infrastructure—our cities & towns should be able to do that too.
  • Local master plans will become easier and less costly to create.
  • Once a community has started to change its zoning, development rights should become protected only when an owner has more than an imprecise preliminary plan for the property.
  • Cities and towns can implement affordability requirements through inclusionary zoning.
  • Local planning and zoning board members will be able to access more training opportunities.

Preserves open space and discourages sprawl

  • Developers who want to cluster their development to conserve land will be able to do so.
  • Communities will be able to improve the design of unregulated roadside sprawl by establishing a minor subdivision ordinance.
  • Cities and towns will be able to “opt in” to additional tools and benefits if they meet state standards for compact housing and economic development while protecting open space and water quality.
  • Natural Resource Protection Zoning is a new tool to preserve large and important resource areas.

Promotes public health

  • Development project notices are required to be sent to local health boards.
  • Accessory dwelling units are a critical need for families who need to take care of older relatives or those with disabilities.
  • Easier master planning, required multi-family districts in smart growth locations, cluster by-right subdivision, and the opt-in program will all encourage communities to become more compact and walkable.
  • Reforming “Approval Not Required” subdivisions will help reduce the number of driveways that front on busy streets and improve public safety.

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Key Bill Hearing TOMORROW!

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 05

From MassBike:

—————–

State House Hearings on Key Bike Bills – Tomorrow!

Tomorrow at 10 a.m., the hearings before the Joint Committee on Transportation afford citizens the opportunity to speak for or against proposed legislation. So far, we’ve received excellent feedback from the hill at the overwhelming number of letters and e-mails that have been sent in support of these bills. For that, we thank you for your efforts!

For those of you who have yet to write your lawmakers – there is still time to make an impact! The deadline for written comment is the end of the day Wednesday, January 6th.

For a summary of the bills MassBike is advocating for, more info on how to get involved, and how to find your representatives read our blog here.

To read a full listing of the bills and hearings, click here: Mass. Joint Committee on Transportation

Those interested in testifying in support of these bills in person are urged to contact MassBike at [email protected].


Safer Streets in Brookline!

This Thursday January 7th Transportation Division staff will present the proposed bicycle improvement plan for the Beacon Street westbound (Marion to Westbourne Terrace) portion of the corridor. Following the presentation members of the Bicycle Advisory Committee and Transportation Board will take public comment on the proposed plans under consideration. No action will be taken by either Board on January 7th. Copies of the report and two alternative plans are available here.

Thursday, January 7, 7pm9pm

Brookline Town Hall

333 Washington Street, Selectmen’s Hearing Room, 6th Floor


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Action Alert, Contact Your Law Maker Today! Key Bike Bill Hearings Jan. 6

Written by Boston Biker on Dec 29

From MassBike:

State House Hearings on Key Bike Bills Set for Jan. 6

Lawmakers Consider Truck Side Guards, Three-foot Rule, and Other Bills

Hearings have been scheduled on Beacon Hill for several key bills that would impact bicyclists in Massachusetts. To be held Wednesday, Jan. 6, at 10 a.m., these hearings before the Joint Committee on Transportation afford citizens the opportunity to speak for or against proposed legislation. These hearings will be the first opportunity of the New Year for you to get involved – read on to learn how!For many members of the bicycling community these bills have been an ongoing effort. We extend our gratitude to those who have shared their story and contacted their representatives on Beacon Hill. For those of you who have yet to write your lawmakers – there is still time to make an impact!

To read a full listing of the bills and hearings, click here: Mass. Joint Committee on Transportation

“This is the opportunity every citizen gets to weigh in on proposed legislation,” said Richard Fries, executive director of MassBike. “While we file letters and make arguments with data and case studies the most effective influence at these hearings are personal stories from Bay State citizens. We are seeking out testimony from the families and friends of victims whose lives and limbs may have been spared if these laws had been in place.”

Amid several transportation bills filed there are four key bicycling measures to be reviewed in next week’s hearings, two of which were filed by MassBike. What may be confusing is that these are listed as eight measures. This is because the bills have versions in both the House and the Senate, (hence the “H” and “S” designation below) which will be considered together in the Joint Committee on Transportation, which makes up or down recommendations before going to a full vote of the Legislature.

Whether in writing or in person, bicyclists statewide are encouraged by MassBike to participate in helping to secure passage of these measures. Should they not pass in 2016 it would be another two years before we could get these even considered.  Of note is that some of these bills would be critical to improve Massachusetts’ spot on the League of American Bicyclists’ Bike Friendly State rankings. Currently we are number four.

These are the bills under consideration:

Truck Side Guard Bill H. 3019/S. 1810

This bill would require side guards and convex mirrors on larger vehicles operating in Massachusetts. A significant percentage of the recent deaths and injuries of bicyclists in the Bay State have involved trucks making right turns in urban situations. This ordinance has been passed in Boston but has little application for trucks registered elsewhere. More than half of bicyclists killed by trucks hit the side of the truck first and are then swept beneath.

Learn more here: Truck Side Guards Explained

Bike Lane Bill H. 2072/S. 1808

This bill is pretty simple in that it would make standing or parking in a bike lane or other on-road bike facility a ticketable offense with a $100 fine. This is not just about the rights of bicyclists. This is a major safety issue for all road users and an environmental issue. The actions of those who double park or park in bike lanes have proved to cause traffic congestion that is often magnified for miles back into the transportation system, wasting fuel and producing unnecessary greenhouse gases.

For more on ways Boston is using interactive data to reduce double-parking and congestion, watch this video: Waze Data and Double Parking

Vulnerable Users Bill H. 3073/S. 1807

Commonly known as a three-feet law, this could be the most significant bill of the bunch for cyclists statewide. Passage of this bill could elevate Massachusetts into the top three of the League of American Bicyclists bike friendly rankings. This bill would require motorists to provide a minimum of three-feet when overtaking a “vulnerable user” even if it requires them to cross the centerline to do so. This bill would align cyclists with police, first responders, construction workers, pedestrians, and others defined as vulnerable users. Research indicates that bicyclists being struck from behind comprise 40 percent of fatalities. Likewise tow truck drivers report a death every six days and police report a fatality every month as they work on our roadways.

A fun look at the three-foot law in California.

Bike Path Crosswalk Bill H. 3072/S. 1808

Passage of this bill would make it legal for bicyclists to do what they are already doing: ride across a bike path crosswalk, provided they yield to pedestrians and operate with reasonable caution. More important it would require motorists to yield to bicyclists in those crosswalks. Current law provides legal protection only to pedestrians in crosswalks, even when they are set as part of a bike path. Currently bicyclists are technically supposed to walk through such intersections if they are to enjoy such protection. This is unrealistic and antiquated.

Any citizen may weigh in during these hearings, but MassBike is working alongside several other members of the Vision Zero Coalition to coordinate a powerful presentation of speakers. Those interested in testifying in support of these bills are urged to contact MassBike at [email protected].

 How else can you help?

Contact your lawmakers. For a sample letter and how to find your State Representative or State Senator click here.


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Action Alert: Help MassBike With The Bike Safety Bill

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 23

From MassBike:

 

This month marks the start of a new two-year session in the Massachusetts Legislature, and MassBike has filed two bills designed to protect bicyclists and other vulnerable road users: the “Act To Protect Vulnerable Road Users” and the “Act To Protect Bicyclists In Bicycle Lanes.”

The Vulnerable Road Users Bill(SD273 in the Senate and HD2137 in the House) defines “vulnerable users” to include pedestrians, bicyclists, wheelchair users, motorcyclists, road workers, emergency responders, horseback riders, and others who are at greater risk on our roads. Beyond giving vulnerable users legal status, the bill sets minimum safe distances for passing vulnerable users, starting at three feet and increasing with speed. Read the full text here (pdf).

The Bike Lane Protection Bill (SD284 in the Senate and HD2130 in the House) addresses a common problem: It makes it a ticketable violation statewide for a motorist to park or stand in a marked bicycle lane or other on-street bicycle facility. When a motorist parks or stands in a bike lane, it endangers bicyclists by causing them to merge into traffic or squeeze between the parked vehicle and the curb or other parked cars. Read the full text here (pdf).

Read more about these bills on our website and in our fact sheet (pdf).

Thanks to Senator Will Brownsberger and Representative Dave Rogers, the bills have been filed in both the House and the Senate to get maximum exposure on Beacon Hill. We are actively seeking co-sponsors for these bills, and the deadline is rapidly approaching on January 30th! Having a lot of co-sponsors demonstrates strong support for a bill, and can help it move forward. That’s where all of you come in.

How You Can Help

  1. Get contact information for your state legislators here. Enter your home address, then click on the name of your State Senator and State Representative to get their email address or phone number.
  1. Email or call your State Senator, and ask her or him to support protecting pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vulnerable road users by co-sponsoring SD273 and SD284. Tell them to email [email protected] to sign on.
  1. Email or call your State Representative, and ask her or him to support protecting pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vulnerable road users by co-sponsoring HD2130 and HD2137. Tell them to email[email protected] to sign on.
  1. Email (or cc) [email protected] to let us know who you contacted.

If you have any questions, email [email protected] or call 617-542-2453. Thanks so much for your help. You are our political power – we cannot do it without you!


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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Two Days Left To Register To Vote In Cambridge! October 16, 2017
      TweetFrom the email:   Are you registered to vote? The last day for Cambridge municipal election registration is this Wednesday, October 18 at 8pm. Hi all, All seats on Cambridge City Council are up for election this November 7, and the make-up … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Two Days Left To Register To Vote In Cambridge! October 16, 2017
      TweetFrom the email:   Are you registered to vote? The last day for Cambridge municipal election registration is this Wednesday, October 18 at 8pm. Hi all, All seats on Cambridge City Council are up for election this November 7, and the make-up … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Speak Up For A Safer Beacon Street On Monday! September 29, 2017
      TweetFrom the email: Now is the time to speak up for a safer Beacon Street! On Monday, October 2nd, the City of Boston is holding a “drop-in” meeting to share an update on the Beacon Street redesign project, a Vision Zero corridor project. … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Action: Ask Council Candidates To Sign Onto The Bike Safety Platform September 29, 2017
      TweetFrom the email: Contact City Council candidates and ask them to sign onto the Cambridge Bicycle Safety platform (text below) urging a more aggressive implementation of the 20 miles of protected lanes called for in the City’s Bike Plan, along … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • 15th Annual Historic Bicycle Tour Of Middlesex Canal – This Sunday October 1st September 29, 2017
      TweetHistoric Bicycle Tour of Middlesex Canal On Sunday, October 1, 2017, the Middlesex Canal Association, the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission and the Middlesex Canal Commission will sponsor the 15th annual historic bicycle tour of the Middlesex Canal.  Because the MBTA is not running trains on the Lowell Line … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Free Hubway Ride Today! September 29, 2017
      Tweet Today is Free Ride Day! courtesy of High Brew Coffee It’s National Coffee Day! Jump start your morning with a bike ride and an energizing can of cold brew coffee. Come see us at Hubway’s Aquarium Station or Congress Street … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Neighborhood Slow Streets: Construction, New Zones Updates September 14, 2017
      Tweetfrom the email: CITY OF BOSTON Vision Zero Update NEIGHBORHOOD SLOW STREETS Our first two Neighborhood Slow Streets projects are heading into construction, and we’re getting ready to begin community walks with each of the five communities that were selected … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Hubway Is Expanding In Boston Voice Your Input On New Station Locations September 13, 2017
      TweetHubway is getting bigger and even better! The Boston Transportation Department is adding more than 70 new stations over the next two years. The Boston Transportation Department (BTD) needs your help finding new locations in Boston for bike share stations! Starting this … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Squirrel Head Badge Installed August 30, 2017
      One of my customers sent this awesome picture of my squirrel head badge installed on a bicycle. I think it looks awesome! Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Your Hard Work Paid Off! August 23, 2017
      Tweetfrom the email: ————–   We emailed, we called, we showed up – and we won! Due to the tremendous support for protected bicycle lanes over the past 3 weeks–in emails, calls, and in-person testimonies–on Monday, August 7, the City Council … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker