people

Another preventable tragedy and ACTIONS you can take to help

From Cambridge Bike Safety:

Last Friday we lost a member of our community. Meng Jin was killed while biking on the Craigie Bridge near the Museum of Science. He was a grad student at Boston University studying economics and had just arrived in Cambridge two months ago to start school. We cannot imagine the pain and grief his family is now going through. Our hearts go out to them.

MassDOT and DCR were told a long time ago that this bridge badly needs bicycle infrastructure, something which is obvious to anyone who tries to commute across it. They promised to work on it after the Longfellow bridge project completed earlier this year, but it never happened. Meng is dead because MassDOT and DCR prioritized six lanes of motor vehicle traffic over safe bike infrastructure.

While we can’t bring him back, we can tell our governments that this isunacceptable and that these deaths are preventable. While the Craigie Bridge is under DCR jurisdiction, Cambridge has control over most of the roads leading up to the Craigie Bridge and a responsibility to keep people safe on them. Furthermore, the O’Brien Highway is identified as requiring protected bicycle lanes in the Cambridge Bike Plan, and Cambridge must work to build out its plan for 20 miles of protected bike lanes—including proactively engaging with state agencies—to prevent future injuries and deaths.

ACTIONS

1. Attend the World Day of Remembrance this Sunday, Nov 18 at 2pm at the Massachusetts State House, and Ghost Bike Ceremony at 12:30pm near Museum of Science. 

We will gather to mourn the people who have died on our roads this year and to tell our elected officials that protected bike lanes save lives. We will not accept any more heartless trade-offs in our streets.

Please tell everyone you know about this, including your elected officials, both local and state. We need a huge turnout to show our elected officials that many people care deeply about this, and that their decisions affect the lives of many people. Please attend this event if at all possible.

Earlier that day there is a ghost bike ceremony in memory of Meng Jin. Meet us at 12:30pm at the intersection of Charles River Dam Road and Museum way, near the Museum of Science where Meng Jin was killed. After the ceremony we will ride to the World Day of Remembrance event at the State House.

2. Email Cambridge officials council@cambridgema.gov,ldepasquale@cambridgema.gov and cc clerk@cambridgema.gov andinfo@cambridgebikesafety.org and tell them:

  • We want them to stand with us at the World Day of Remembrance so that they can hear the stories of people who are closest to the pain and learn from them.
  • We want them to support rapidly building out the city’s own plan for 20 miles of protected bike lanes because protected bike lanes save lives.

3. Email your state representatives (find them here) and tell them:

  • We want them to stand with us at the World Day of Remembrance. Their support is crucial for making changes happen at the state level.
  • If the State House acts quickly there is a chance they can pass the piece of the bike omnibus bill which requires state and state-contracted trucks to have safety side-guards and convex mirrors. Tell your state representative that they should help pass this bill to keep us safe around trucks. (Only the State House can help here; the State Senate has already passed this bill.)

Every death leaves our community hurting and scared. We will work together to make sure our streets show compassion instead of violence.

Cambridge Bike Safety Update

from the email:

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We wanted to update you on a few new action items for safer streets but first, a reminder about our petition campaign! We want to show city officials that people throughout Cambridge support a safe, connected network of protected bike lanes. Sign the petition here if you haven’t already and share widely!

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1. Act Now for a Protected Lane on River Street – and an Implementation Plan for the Citywide Network

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This Monday, there are two key bike related items on the Council’s agenda.

First, the City Manager is requesting funds to update the implementation plan of the bike network (see the second ask on our petition!) Additionally, there is also a request for a protected bike lane on River Street. Take action, more details below.

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ACTION ? Email council@cambridgema.gov, ldepasquale@cambridgema.gov, and cc clerk@cambridgema.gov and info@cambridgebikesafety.org and (1) request the council to approve the budget allocation for an implementation plan for the citywide bike network, and (2) let them know that the reconstruction of River Street MUST include a safe, protected bike lane.

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If you can make it please show up on Monday Nov 5, 5:30pm at City Hall to speak in support of the budget item and policy order. Sign up to speak here or in person.

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The implementation plan for a citywide bike network is potentially quite important, as this could provide a blueprint for implementation of the full bike network within 5 years, as our petition requests. We need to make sure that the council approves this budget item, and that the implementation plan the City comes back with lays out how a complete, safe, connected network of protected bike lanes across the city can be built ASAP.

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The city is rebuilding River Street in 2020 and they have the opportunity to include a protected bike lane. Since River Street goes inbound it would complement the Western Ave protected lane, providing a key connection to and from the Charles River paths.

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On Monday November 5th the City Council will vote on a policy order specifically requesting a protected bike lane as part of the River Street reconstruction. The order was originally scheduled for this week but it was delayed by Councilor Simmons.

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Also, as part of the redesign, they will be forming a working group of stakeholders and thank you to everyone who applied to help advocate for safe bike and pedestrian infrastructure!

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2. Ask your employer to sign on to our business platform

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Local business support can be crucial in getting safe bike infrastructure built. Many employers recognize that a protected bike lane network would be a great asset to Cambridge as well as providing safe transportation for their customers and employees. All we need to do is ask for their support!

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If you work in Cambridge, see here for instructions to ask your employer to sign onto our business platform supporting safe bike infrastructure.

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3. Other updates:

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  • Read the beautiful remembrance written by friends of JJ Zhao who was tragically struck and killed by a dump truck driver in early October while she was walking at Putnam Ave and Magazine St.
  • World Day of Remembrance: This Nov 18 is the World Day of Remembrance. Come to the State House in Boston at 2pm to mourn the people who were killed on our streets this year. Last year’s event was a powerful reminder that the number of pedestrians and cyclists who were killed is much higher than you expect and that urgent action is needed to correct this public health crisis. After the vigil there will be a bike ride and a march to demand safer streets.
  • In addition to signing onto our business platform, two local businesses Industry Lab and Synapse Energy Economics also took the additional crucial step of emailing the city to express how important a protected bike lane network is to them (read Synapse Energy Economics’ statement here). Thanks Industry Lab and Synapse Energy Economics for supporting safe bike infrastructure!

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Industry Lab is a co-working space located in the vibrant hub of Inman Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Inhabiting nearly 20,000 square feet of a historical brick building with wood floors and lots of windows, Industry Lab is a neighborhood for artists, engineers, scientists, and designers to co-exist and collaborate.

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Synapse Energy Economics provides research, analysis, expert testimony, reports, regulatory support, and other consulting services related to energy, economics, and the environment.

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.

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