cambridge-city

Boston Cyclist Union Still Fighting For Improvements To Longfellow

Anyone who has ridden over the new Longfellow bridge knows…its not good.  Even with the new “improvements” it still is pretty bad, especially considering how much better it could be.  But the BCU and a lot of other people are STILL FIGHTING!

Update from them below:

It’s been more than a month since you’ve received an update on the Longfellow, and a lot has happened!

The Boston City Council unanimously passed a resolution last month endorsing our proposed striping design, joining the Cambridge City Council, which passed a similar resolution in April. Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone and Rep. Mike Capuano also endorsed the plan, with Capuano writing to MassDOT, “…the Boston Cyclists Union raises legitimate concerns, and I urge MassDOT to address them.”

Responding to mounting pressure and working with advocates, MassDOT has already committed to several safety improvements we have been asking for. This includes reducing the speed limit to 25 miles per hour, and installing a speed feedback board; narrowing inbound travel lanes by a total of one foot, while widening the bike lane from 5.5’ to 6.5’; installing flex posts on the inbound and outbound sides to physically separate cyclists from moving car traffic; and adding signage directing large vehicles to use the left inbound lane, to give additional comfort to cyclists in the bike lane. All of these changes to the original design are slated for completion in the first week of June.

These are all welcome changes that will make the bridge dramatically safer than it would have been under MassDOT’s original plan. We applaud MassDOT for listening to and heeding the voices of so many cyclists, advocates and elected officials, and for showing a commitment to working with us toward a safer solution.

What’s more, MassDOT is not done making improvements to the bridge. After hearing from us, many of you, and other stakeholders who have engaged with them over the past few months asking for safety upgrades to the bridge’s design, MassDOT is working hard to respond to our concerns. Yesterday, MassDOT met with stakeholders, who have engaged over the past few months with safety concerns over the bridge design, to discuss future plans to make the bridge even safer. Secretary Pollack committed to working with stakeholders to run a pilot on the inbound side of the bridge, testing out the narrowing of the bridge to one lane for cars with a wider, separated bike lane that would allow safe passing. We’ll be looking to you to give feedback as this change happens, to help secure the safer, wider lane permanently, so please continue to follow the progress and be in touch with us!

This is a huge victory, and it would not have been possible without you showing up and speaking up. Whether you canvassed for signatures, signed our petition online or in person, emailed or called your state rep or city councilor — YOU made a difference and are impacting a decade-old decision that many felt was unchangeable. We are accomplishing the impossible, all because we stood together to ensure MassDOT listened. This is our collective strength in action.

We look forward to seeing this project progress. We hope the flex posts and other design changes make you feel safer when the bridge reopens to full beneficial use, and we are eager to see what further improvements we can achieve by continuing to work together. Momentum is on our side.

Action Alert: Council To Vote On Inman Sq Redesign TODAY

From the email:

Tonight, the City Council will vote on whether the Inman Square intersection redesign project, now a two-year process, goes forward. These safety improvements have been proposed in response to the death of Amanda Phillips in the intersection in 2016 and because of the high crash rates and injuries for people biking, walking and driving. The current design was not our first choice as we laid out in our recommendations last year, but city staff should be commended for including needed protected infrastructure throughout the intersection and some best-in-class transit improvements. We all need to contact the City Council and let them know that we cannot wait another two years for a protected intersection in Inman Square!

Take Action:

  • Contact city councilors at council@cambridgema.gov (and bccinfo@cambridgebikesafety.org) and ask them to vote in support of moving the Inman Square redesign forward because we can’t wait any longer for protected bicycle lanes and other Vision Zero safety improvements.

The existing Inman Square intersection is dangerous by design for all road users. In terms of major squares of Cambridge, it is as bad as Porter Square in overall crashes, and second only to Central Square for bicycle crashes. Pedestrian crashes also occur due to the long intersection that encourages speeding and the misalignment of crosswalks with desire lines. Historically, a third of all crashes in the intersection resulted in injuries requiring EMS.

Other users of the intersection will also benefit from redesigning for safety: with substantially reduced crossing distances and shorter signal times, pedestrians will face less delay and lower vehicle speeds. Bus riders from will benefit from the city’s first floating bus stops, which do not require merging with traffic, and a proposed queue jump that allows buses to get ahead of traffic at the leading signal. This means less delay on the 69 connecting East Cambridge.

The city is ready to move forward and this vote is the last step. Help support protected bike lanes by emailing council@cambridgema.gov (bcc info@cambridgebikesafety.org) and/or attend the city council meeting tonight, May 21, at Cambridge City Hall at 5:30 to speak on this subject (register here, call 617-349-4280, or sign up in person).

  • Read our full statement on the proposed redesign.

  • Read the home rule petition the Council will be voting on.

A little more on what’s happening tonight:

The City Council is voting on a home rule petition which is necessary move the design forward, because a part of Vellucci plaza will be moved across the street. If the city council votes yes the petition will be sent to the statehouse for approval. Then the city will start building protected bike lanes in Inman square!

If the Council votes no, the city will likely have to start from scratch with a new design which doesn’t touch Vellucci plaza. And who knows what will happen for future bike lane projects.

Two Days Left To Register To Vote In Cambridge!

From the email:

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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 of the Council is critical to making rapid progress toward safe biking infrastructure for all ages and abilities. The last day to register to vote in Cambridge municipal elections is this Wednesday, October 18 at 8pm. Spend two minutes to make sure you’re registered and send to five friends.

We know that our streets are still not safe for bikers and pedestrians, which is why CBS has laid out a bold Cambridge Bicycle Safety Platform requiring a clear timeline for fast-tracked implementation of the 20 miles of protected lanes called for in the city’s Bike Plan.To get the platform implemented and not take out the lanes we already have, we need councillors good on bikes, and that means we all need to vote!

Here are some of the Council policy orders that kick-started the last year’s pop-up protected lanes. We need many more.

Here is what we need to do before Wednesday:

1.  Check if you are registered to vote, and if not: Register yourself (unless you have a Mass drivers license, you have to print and mail or deliver in person)Send or deliver the signed form to: Cambridge Election Commission, 51 Inman St., Cambridge, MA 02139.

2.  Sign up to be reminded on election day to get out and vote. You can also join our facebook registration event to be reminded and share with your friends. If you know you will be out of town, you have to register in advance for an absentee ballot.

3. Forward this to 5 Cambridge friends.

(If you are a student, first-time voter, or registered in another state for national elections, this FAQ by MIT is super helpful.)

CBS has published statements of candidate signers to our platform, and will be publishing good actions and statements by candidates on our website and facebook page.

Defend Protected Bike Lanes In Cambridge From Being Removed!

from the email:

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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 (council@cambridgema.gov, and please copy info@cambridgebikesafety.org and info@bostoncyclistsunion.org) 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 info@cambridgebikesafety.org 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!