Boston City Council Hearing Testimony

From MassBike's Programs Director Barbara Jacobson, a letter to Councilor Ayanna Pressley

The Honorable Ayanna Pressley
1 City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201

Dear Councilor Pressley:

I am writing on behalf of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition in regards to the City of Boston’s efforts to improve the safety of the roadways for vulnerable road users. As bike ridership continues to increase, better infrastructure is needed to meet the demands of safety and usability of bicyclists on the streets of Boston. The City of Boston signed onto Vision Zero in March of 2015, but from the public’s perspective, there has not been much action taken on the proclamation of the goal of zero fatalities on the roadways. Since Vision Zero was adopted, three bicyclists have been killed: Fritz Philogene, 18; Yadielys Delcan Camacho, 8 and Dr. Anita Kurman, 36.

Better protected infrastructure is possible and is necessary in order to prevent crashes and fatalities from happening within the City. Innovative infrastructure redesigns and enhancements such as separated bike lanes and protected intersections must be considered and implemented throughout the city in order to ensure that biking is safe for all on all of Boston’s streets.

High speed arterials such as Blue Hill Avenue in Mattapan, Washington Street in Roxbury, Massachusetts Avenue, and Tremont Street in downtown Boston should be top priorities for building out the spine of the bike network plan.

With the implementation of better and safer infrastructure comes the issue of maintenance: both for pre-existing projects as well as for year-round bicycling, such as snow removal. The City needs to have a larger maintenance budget for existing projects and additional funds for short-term pilot programming for testing protected intersections with additional funds for implementing more permanent curbing.

By allocating more funds for separated bike facilities, protected intersections and pilot programming, and having an active timeline for project implementation and maintenance, it will demonstrate the City of Boston’s commitment to Vision Zero and clearly convey to operators of large trucks and motor vehicles that bicyclists belong on Boston’s roadways and all precautions are being taken to account for their safety.

As a personal note, every day when I commute from my apartment in Jamaica Plain to my office in the Financial District, I tell myself the same thing, “Not today.” I await the day when I no longer have to tell myself this mantra and can bike safely without thinking that I will get into a crash or die while biking on the streets of Boston.

Sincerely,

Barbara Jacobson
Programs Director, Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition

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