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News, Events, Updates
In January, we filed two bills with the Massachusetts State Legislature, and we just found out that the bills are going to be heard in committee next Wednesday. We need your help to get these bills moving! The bills are:
- The Act To Protect Vulnerable Road Users (S 1639) adds protections to bicyclists, pedestrians, wheelchair users, and other vulnerable users of the road. It gives law enforcement more flexibility to impose more severe penalties for dangerous driving. (Click here for the full text of the bill.)
- The Act To Protect Bicyclists In Bicycle Lanes (S 1640) prohibits motor vehicles from parking in bike lanes. (Click here for the full text of the bill.)
The first hearing on these bills before the Committee on Transportation is scheduled for Wednesday, June 26 at 10:00 AM, in State House Room B-1.
We hope you are able to join MassBike at the hearing to tell your story, and to urge the Joint Committee on Transportation to report favorably on these two bills. This is the second legislative session for the Vulnerable Road Users Bill, and the first hearing ever for the Bike Lane Bill. For more information on the bills, please see our Legislative Fact Sheet.
If you are unable to attend next week’s hearing, we ask you to do the following:
- Send an email or write a letter to the Chairs of the Joint Committee on Transportation – Senator McGee (Email) and Representative Straus (Email) – and ask that they act favorably on these bills.
- Call or email your State Senator and State Representative and ask that they recommend to the Joint Committee on Transportation Chairs to act favorably on these bills.
- Cc [email protected] on all your emails, or send us a message telling us who you contacted.
Don’t know who your legislators are? Find out here.
We were able to educate a lot of legislators about this legislation at the Bike/Walk Summit, so we think we are in a good position to move this legislation forward. We need your help again to get this legislation rolling. As always, we couldn’t do it without you.
Tags: act now, action, massbike, politics
Posted in advocacy | No Comments »
Amazing….and ultimately sad.
On Saturday, voters in Arlington proved themselves simultaneously foolish and shortsighted when they attempted to shut down a proposal for bike lanes on a one-mile strip of Massachusetts Avenue. They’re foolish because the vote, essentially, rejects $6.8 million in funding from the state and federal governments. And they’re short-sighted because the installation of bike lanes on some—not all—streets is the future for cities and towns.
A recap: Massachusetts Avenue in East Arlington is a disaster. It’s a chaotic stretch of road with no painted lanes and few cross-walks that’s been the scene of far too many accidents. A few years ago, the town started planning an update for the street, and secured $6.8 million in funding from the state and federal governments. As state senator Ken Donnelly noted, however, MassDOT required that bicycles be accommodated in some fashion, either through bike lanes (which would eliminate one of four lanes of car traffic) or through wider outside car lanes (which would reduce the size of the sidewalks or remove parking).
With the rest of the Boston Metro area running full speed ahead to improve cycling infrastructure, what exactly is wrong with Arlington? It doesn’t take an oracle to see that the future of urban living involves lots and lots of cycling, pedestrian, and public transportation infrastructure. Arlington is almost literally shooting themselves in the foot here. Sad. Lets hope that this non-binding vote isn’t the last one.
Tags: Arlington, politics, stupid
Posted in news | 9 Comments »
From the email:
CITY OF CAMBRIDGE SOLICITING MEMBERSHIP APPLICATIONS
FOR THREE TRANSPORTATION ADVISORY COMMITEES
Application deadline is Friday, January 11.
This committee works to improve conditions for bicyclists in the City of Cambridge and promote bicycling as a means of transportation. Activities include organizing and participating in public events such as biannual community bike rides; reviewing plans for road construction; commenting on proposed development projects; creating promotional materials to encourage bicycling in the city; and working with City departments on network planning. This committee generally meets on the second Wednesday of each month from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway.
This committee works to promote walking and to help create a more comfortable, safe, and pleasant environment for walking in Cambridge. It advises on the design of roadway projects and policies related to traffic calming, traffic signals, and sidewalk design. It also identifies intersections and other locations where it is difficult to walk, makes suggestions about proposed development projects as they affect people on foot, and undertakes other activities to promote walking. This committee generally meets on the fourth Thursday of each month from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway (November and December meetings are on the third Thursday.)
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE
This newly established committee will advance an agenda for a robust public transportation system for those who live and/or work in Cambridge. The committee will be composed of a cross section of stakeholders including businesses, large institutions, commuters, persons with disabilities, low income, elderly, youth, students, and advocates. The committee will guide city positions and policies regarding long term sustainable funding for transit by the Commonwealth, service planning for expansion or modification of bus routes, and service reliability and improvements including ways to better design our street network to prioritize bus transit. This committee will generally meet on the first Wednesday of each month from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway beginning in 2013.
Beginning in 2013, in place of individual committee meetings, these three committees will meet jointly on occasion to advise the city on higher level sustainable transportation policy.
Applications are sought by dedicated individuals who live or work in Cambridge. Members are expected to attend monthly meetings as well as engage in projects outside of regular meetings. To apply, please prepare a cover letter indicating which committee you are interested in, a description of your interest in the topic, and any specific issues you would like to contribute time to working on. Please be sure to include your mailing address, phone number, and email. Send to:
Robert W. Healy, City Manager
c/o Jane Maguire,
Community Development Department
344 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139
Email: [email protected]
Application deadline is Friday, January 11.
Appointments are made by the City Manager and are for two years of service. For more information, call 617-349-4610.
Tags: cambridge, politics, transportation committee
Posted in advocacy | No Comments »
Not sure where to fucking vote, find it here.
Vote tomorrow, take a friend. Ride your bike, and you wont have to worry about parking.
This blog isn’t about politics, but I suggest you vote for the candidates that will best support the environment, good transportation policy, and health care (things we cyclists need most). In my opinion those issues are best supported by Barack Obama and Elisabeth Warren.
Which politician party is better for cycling? Who are you supporting? Whats your prediction for the electoral college vote break down? Will you be staying up late to watch?
Political open thread in the comments. Get it all out of your system, because its all going to be decided soon (hopefully).
Tags: go fucking vote, open thread, politics
Posted in Bike Business | 1 Comment »
A sad sad commentary on just how fucked our political system is these days. I suggest a careful review of the issues, who voted for what, and some judicious application of your first amendment right, as well as your right to vote. These fuckers need to know we are pissed.
The federal transportation bill, a focus of much analysis and anxiety (we’ve written most recently about it here and here), was finally passed through congress late last week. It’s not good news. This bill, which was largely based on the Senate’s legislation “MAP-21″, is being considered a “step backwards,” a “failure,” a “missed opportunity,” and “devastating.”
On our part, we kept in communication with the staff of Representative Ed Markey (Massachusetts Seventh District), a member of the committee that produced this legislation. Mr. Markey, who has consistently supported dedicated bike funding, wrote an excellent piece on why he declined to sign the Conference Committee Report for the legislation (found here). Despite strong bipartisan support for our cause from the entire Massachusetts delegation, this legislation cut bike and pedestrian funding by 33% (or more, depending what individual states do – more below).
Our national partners are still working through all of the details of the 1,676 page document, but basically it lumps the three federal programs which previously had dedicated bike/ped funding (Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails) into one “Transportation Alternatives” category. Whereas the three prior programs had a combined funding total of $1.2 billion in 2011, the new “Transportation Alternatives” has a total funding level of around $800 million per year.
Furthermore, states can opt out of up to half of that amount, instead funding highway maintenance, bridge repair, or any other transportation need. So, depending on how many states choose to opt out of that half of the funding, the real cuts could be as high as 66%.
Finally, there is a clause in the bill called a “Mandatory Sidepath Law.” This would require bicyclists riding on federally-owned roads (generally in national parks) to ride on a sidepath if the road doesn’t meet certain standards. This clause sets a dangerous national precedent for compromising our hard-won right to the road.
In short, this is not a good day for the biking/walking world. Read a thorough analysis of the bill by America Bikes here.
The question, then, is what does this mean for us in Massachusetts? We are fortunate to be in a state that has solid policies and initiatives in place to promote biking and walking, includingGreenDOT (MassDOT’s sustainability policy) and the Healthy Transportation Compact.
Nonetheless, we must work even harder to ensure that biking and walking are priorities for our state agencies and policymakers. Because so much flexibility is now given to the state to spend bicycle funding on other things, groups like MassBike must work even harder to make the case that investing in biking is crucial to having a healthy, livable state. It is through continued efforts like Bay State Bike Week, the Bike/Walk Summit, and advocacy on major projects that we can maintain the state’s support. And, importantly, collaborative efforts likeTransportation for Massachusetts will be key to creating a united voice for our cause.
If you have time, please contact your U.S. Representative and Senators to let them know that you appreciate their support. (Don’t know who they are? Find out here.)
Tags: massbike, politics, Transportation Bill
Posted in advocacy | No Comments »
Thats right once again our elected leaders have fallen short of their duties when it comes to making biking awesome, so lets go kick some ass!
The below is from MassBike.
Action Alert #1: Bicyclist Safety Bill
This important bill will improve the safety of bicyclists throughout the Commonwealth, but we need your help. The bill, now designated S. 2573 (formerly S. 1414), was passed by the Senate earlier this year thanks to the efforts of retiring Senator Pamela Resor and our other friends in the Legislature. It is now in the House Ways and Means Committee. It needs to get reported favorably by the committee, enacted by both houses of the Legislature, and signed by the Governor before the end of this year. We are making a push to get this done now.
The key provisions of the bill are: police training on bicycle law; clarification of how to safely pass a bicycle; clarification of how to safely make turns in front of bicycles; “dooring” subject to ticket and fine; riding two abreast permitted when it does not impede cars from passing; improved enforcement of bicycle law for both motorists and bicyclists; and additional legal protections for bicyclists who choose to ride to the right of other traffic. The full text of the bill can be found here. For more details about the bill, including links to the affected statutes, see our previous Action Alert,
Here is what you can do:
1. Call or email Representative DeLeo, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, directly and urge him to support bill S. 2573, An Act Relative to Bicyclist Safety. His email is [email protected] and his phone number is 617-722-2990.
2. Call or email your own state representative and ask him or her to contact Representative DeLeo in support of the bill.
Your participation counts – don’t assume everyone else will do it!
Action Alert #2: Commuter Benefits for Bicyclists
This just in from the League of American Bicyclists on a federal bill that may benefit bicyclists:
We understand that the United States Senate may vote on an energy legislation package this week, (The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (pdf) ), which will provide a number of incentives to promote clean energy sources. The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, also includes the bicycle commuter tax benefit provision, previously introduced by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). The provision provides for qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement for such reasonable expenses incurred by an employee for the purchase of a bicycle, bicycle improvements, repair, and storage. The Senate is expected to vote on this legislation as soon as this week! Please take a moment to contact your Senator to urge them to vote “yes” on the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
Tags: bicycles, kicking ass, politics
Posted in advocacy | No Comments »
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) has introduced The Complete Streets Act of 2008, which would work to promote the design of streets that are safe for all of those using the street— including motorists, bus riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians, and people with disabilities.
Between 1993 and 2003, nearly 52,000 pedestrians and more than 7,400 bicyclists were killed in road accidents; studies show that the designing streets with pedestrians in mind may reduce pedestrian risk by as much as 28 percent. Harkin was joined in this effort by Senator Tom Carper (D-DE).
“Making our streets bike and pedestrian friendly is a win-win for us all,” said Harkin. “It not only promotes healthier lifestyles, it lowers the amount of traffic congestion that many people deal with every day.”
A recent study by the Texas Transportation Institute found that providing more travel options, including public transportation, bicycling and walking facilities, is an important element in reducing traffic congestion. The study reported that congestion was responsible for an annual $78.2 billion loss in fuel during traffic jams in 2005, an increase from $57.6 billion in 2000.
Also, as recently as 30 years ago, up to 70 percent of children were walking or riding bikes to school. Currently, the number has dropped to only 10 percent. Parents report that traffic safety is the main reason they do not permit their children to walk or bike to school. This legislation will make our environment more inviting for physical activity, especially for kids.
Harkin’s proposal has been endorsed by: AARP, America Bikes, America Walks, American Council of the Blind, American Planning Association, American Public Transportation Association, American Society of Landscape Architects, Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, League of America Bicyclists, National Center for Bicycling and Walking, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Smart Growth America, Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, Thunderhead Alliance, and Rails to Trails Conservancy.
Tags: harkin, politics, safe streets law
Posted in advocacy, news | 1 Comment »