DCR Gets It Right - With A Little Help From Advocates

We are pleased to declare victory for bicyclists on two separate but related roadway access issues, on the Alewife Brook Parkway on the Arlington-Cambridge-Somerville line, and on the Mystic Valley Parkway in Arlington.

[caption id="attachment_19775" align="alignleft" width="169"] Narrow shoulders, wide lanes[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_19793" align="alignright" width="169"] New bike lanes in progress![/caption]

In late August, we discovered what appeared to be preliminary striping for very narrow shoulders and very wide travel lanes on the newly-repaved Mystic Valley Parkway in Arlington. As shown, those shoulders would not have been wide enough to qualify as bike lanes.  We immediately expressed our concern to the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and were quickly joined by other advocates who also noticed the problem. This was urgent, as paving and striping were ongoing. A flurry of emails and phone calls, and five days later we learned that DCR would stripe five-foot bike lanes - a big improvement. And those bike lanes are now installed! Many thanks to all the advocates for jumping on this right away, and to DCR for listening to us.

[caption id="attachment_19774" align="alignleft" width="179"] "No Bikes" signs went up ...[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_19794" align="alignright" width="189"] ... and finally came down![/caption]

The other problem involved some incorrect road signs and, surprisingly, considering there was no engineering or paint involved, took much longer to solve. Several months ago, we learned that "No Bikes" signs had appeared at intersections on the Alewife Brook Parkway, ostensibly banning bicyclists from riding on the road. This surprised us because we know that Massachusetts law gives bicyclists the right to use all public roads except for limited access or express highways (such as I-93 or I-95). Other bicyclists also noticed the signs and complained to neighboring municipalities. More emails and phone calls ensued, over a period of months, until two weeks ago, when we got the word that the signs would come down. And down they are.

For the record, we agree that the Alewife Brook Parkway is not a particularly good road for bicycling. Cars go too fast, and there is little or no shoulder so bicyclists must take the lane. The new Alewife Greenway offers an alternative, but some bicyclists prefer to ride in the road for a variety of reasons. We believe DCR acted to protect bicyclists, though we disagreed with their approach. The answer is not to remove bicycles from the road - it is to make the road safer for bicyclists. MassBike will continue to defend bicyclists right to use the road, and we have committed to working with state officials on future efforts to improve bicyclist safety on the parkway. Though we often have to be persistent, we are very lucky to have state agencies, like DCR, that value our opinion and, ultimately, agree with us.

 

 

Public Health Commissioner Resigns, Biking And Walking Lose A Champion

Most people have heard of the drug testing scandal that emerged out of the state crime lab a few weeks ago. The head of the state Department of Public Health, Commissioner John Auerbach, resigned in its wake. Unfortunately, the situation has implications for biking and walking in Massachusetts, because Commissioner Auerbach was one of our strongest supporters in state government. We recently wrote to the Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, expressing our concern, and urging her to appoint someone just as committed to active living:
Dear Dr. Bigby:

I wanted to express my concern over the departure of John Auerbach and your search for his successor. While I certainly understand the circumstances that led to his resignation, Commissioner Auerbach was a true champion for active living and sustainable transportation. Under his leadership, DPH has engaged in many programs to more effectively promote biking and walking, such as Mass In Motion, Communities Putting Prevention to Work, and most recently the Community Transformation Grant. MassBike has been a strong partner with DPH on all of these programs, which have made a real difference, particularly for people who live and work in areas where biking and walking is both most necessary and most challenging.

So as you begin to consider the next DPH Commissioner, I hope you will select someone who will continue to strongly support our mutual efforts to get more people living actively.

Thank you for your ongoing support!

David Watson
Executive Director
MassBike

We are encouraged that Secretary Bigby immediately responded and affirmed the Patrick Administration's ongoing support for the work begun on Commissioner Auerbach's watch. And we thank John Auerbach for making biking and walking an important part of the state's wellness programs.

Kickoff Fall With Bike Trainings!

Fall has officially arrived in the Bay State, which means changing leaves and crisp fresh air, perfect for outdoor activities. Why not kickoff this fall season with a bicycle education class?! If you need a little refresher course on the rules of the road, how to stay safe, riding skills, or just want to feel more comfortable getting from A to B, check out the classes below. We also want to point out that we are offering three more of our Bikeable Communities Trainings, which give an introduction to the process for making change in your community and an overview of the specific policies and infrastructure that supports bicycling.

Though these classes are all free and open to the public, we kindly ask you to register here. Just click on the date and time below for more class details. Stay safe and enjoy the beautiful fall weather while it lasts!

Biking For Everyone Workshops



Hubway Workshop
Tuesday, October 2, 6:00 – 7:00 PM
Boston Public Library Main Branch, McKim Conference Room

Basics of Better Biking (On-Bike Workshop)


Saturday, October 13, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Meets at the front entrance of South Station in Boston

Bikeable Communities Training (Part 1: Plugging Into The Process)



Wednesday, October 3, 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM
Metropolitan Area Planning Council, 3rd floor conference room
60 Temple Place, Boston

Bikeable Communities Training (Part 2: Policies, Programs, and Projects)


Monday, October 22, 6:00 – 8:30 PM
MassBike office, 171 Milk St., Boston

Wednesday, October 24, 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM
Metropolitan Area Planning Council, 3rd floor conference room
60 Temple Place, Boston

These classes are made possible through the generous support of the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness. If you have any questions, please email Education@MassBike.org.

Volunteers Needed for MassBike Events!

We have a bunch of super fun events coming up soon (as early as this weekend) and we really need some help to make these events happen! We have lots of different types of volunteer opportunities so there is something for everyone. Volunteering with MassBike is a fun way to spend some time showing your support for better bicycling in Massachusetts!

RSVP to volunteer@massbike.org

 

Saturday September 22nd

TD Bank Mayors Cup - Boston



 

 

 

 

 

11am to 5:30pm
Take in some high speed bike racing and help spread the word about MassBike!

 

300th Anniversary of Lexington: Bike Parking - Lexington


 

 

 

 

10am to 5pm
Help park some bikes and celebrate the 300th anniversary of Lexington!

 

Sunday September 23rd

Hub On Wheels - Boston



 

 

 

9am to 2pm
Share the MassBike love and cheer on the riders as they pedal down a car free Storrow Drive!

 

Sunday September 30th

Yelp Helps: Hop To It! - Somerville



2pm to 9pm
The Yelp Helps: Hop To It! event marries greater Boston's finest craft brew with volunteer-powered NPOs to make a tasting/expo hybrid the world has never seen.
 

Sunday October 7th


Boston Local Food Festival - Boston



 

 

 

 

10:30am to 5:30pm
Help park bikes in our bike valet and spread the word about MassBike at this festival celebrating the joys of a healthy lifestyle!

We Did It! 2 Mile Challenge A Success!

During the month of August we asked you, our members, supporters, and the cycling community at large to rally together and log each bike trip they rode online for the ClifBar 2 Mile Challenge. The Challenge is designed as a fun, interactive way to get people onto their bikes while at the same time supporting grassroots advocacy - $1 for every trip logged, up to $10,000. During August, MassBike was the recipient of that donation.


We are pleased to announce that we reached our goal and have successfully logged 10,000 bike trips during the month of August on 2milechallenge.com! Riders from throughout Massachusetts and across the nation rode their bikes and logged their miles in support of the good work MassBike does to make cycling a safe, practical option for transportation and recreation throughout Massachusetts. Thank you to everyone who logged trips and to ClifBar for inviting MassBike to participate in this campaign. We really couldn’t have done it without you. No, really. This money is going to go to support our advocacy and education work, including programs like Bay State Bike Week, putting on the Bike/Walk Summit, and involvement on infrastructure projects like the Fore River Bridge. Basically, every trip you logged was an action to make Massachusetts better for biking. Happy riding!

Stay Safe, Take These Classes!

[caption id="attachment_19748" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Source: bikeyface.com[/caption]

We hope you made it safely through the (sometimes hectic) return of students to the Boston area. There are certainly a lot more cars on the road, a lot more pedestrians everywhere, and a lot more bicyclists trying to squeeze between other users, including other bicyclists. If you need a little refresher course on the rules of the road, how to stay safe, riding skills, or just want to feel more comfortable getting from A to B, check out the classes below. Though these classes are all free and open to the public, we kindly ask you to register here. Stay safe!

Biking For Everyone Workshops


Urban Cycling Workshop (Sponsored by the City of Newton and Harris Cyclery)
Thursday, September 7:00 – 8:00 PM
Newton City Hall, Room 202
1000 Commonwealth Ave, Newton

Hubway Workshop
Friday, September 14, 12:00 – 1:00 PM
Boston City Hall

Hubway Workshop
Tuesday, October 2, 6:00 – 7:00 PM
Boston Public Library Main Branch, McKim Conference Room
Boston

Basics of Better Biking (On-Bike Workshop)


Saturday, September 15, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Boston University
Meets at the Corner of Agganis Way and Commonwealth Avenue

Sunday, September 16, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Boston University
Meets at the Corner of Agganis Way and Commonwealth Avenue

These classes are made possible through the generous support of the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness. If you have any questions, please email Education@MassBike.org.

Your Role In The Bicycle Revolution

[caption id="attachment_19746" align="alignright" width="231"] Click here for a copy of the companion document, "Shifting Gears".[/caption]

There are a lot of times here in the MassBike office that we get a familiar call. Our phone rings, and a concerned citizen starts telling the story of a terrible road, dangerous intersection, bad enforcement, or any number of other barriers that keep them from bicycling. And the question inevitably follows, "So, what should I do?"

What's more, we know that for every one of these calls we get there are dozens of others who don't call our office but are thinking the exact same thing. In response, we have put together our two-part Bikeable Communities Training, which gets to the heart of that critical question - "What should I do?" The first part of the training, "Plugging into the Process" goes over how local advocates can get involved. The second part, "Policies, Programs, and Projects," provides an overview of the different ways that a community can encourage bicycling.

The classes are free and open to the public, though registration is required. You can register here. See below for the class schedule, and feel free to email Education@MassBike.org if you have any questions.

Part One, “Plugging Into The Process”


Tuesday, September 18, 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Boston Public Library Main Branch, McKim Conference Room
Boston

Wednesday, September 19, 6:30 - 9:00 PM
Collaborative for Educational Services
97 Hawley St, Northampton

Wednesday, October 3, 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM
Metropolitan Area Planning Council, 3rd Floor Conference Room
60 Temple Place, Boston

Part Two, “Policies, Programs and Projects”


Tuesday, September 25, 6:00 – 8:30 PM
MassBike Office
171 Milk Street, Suite 33
Boston, MA

Wednesday, October 24, 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM
Metropolitan Area Planning Council, 3rd Floor Conference Room
60 Temple Place, Boston

These trainings are made possible thanks to the generous support of the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness and Mass in Motion.

Come Join The Fun At The 2012 Connnecticut Valley Century Benefit Bike Ride - Sept. 9, 2012

The COVAC 2012 is a fun but challenging ride offering four routes: 100, 75, 50 or 25 miles.

The rides are relatively flat and follow rolling terrain on the West bank of the Connecticut River to Brattleboro, VT, crossing into New Hampshire and returning following the East bank of the Connecticut River through picturesque farmland and passing a waterfall before heading back to Hatfield.

The Connecticut Valley Century was founded in 1985 and for the first 22 years was organized and hosted by the Franklin-Hampshire-Freewheelers Cycling Club to promote cycling in the Connecticut Valley.  Starting in 2007, the COVAC ride has been hosted by the Rotary Club of Amherst as a fund-raiser.

This is an all volunteer event.  Net proceeds of this annual event will go to benefit the Amherst Rotary Good Works fund, which supports a broad range of humanitarian, intercultural, and educational programs and activities, including local high school scholarships and charitable organizations throughout Hampshire County. A portion of this year’s proceeds will also benefit MassBike.

 

Registration is $30 before 9/5 and includes a free COVAC 2012 T-shirt

Day of Registration is $40

For More Information and to Register Online head over to COVACride.org

MassBike Comments On GreenDOT Implementation Plan

In 2010, MassDOT launched its GreenDOT initiative, a comprehensive program to combat climate change, encourage biking, walking and transit, and support smart growth. This year, MassDOT released a draft GreenDOT Implementation Plan, and invited public comment.

The plan focuses on what MassDOT can do to reduce greenhouse gases from its own operations and to make itself more sustainable. The plan also includes more general goals around improving conditions for and creating opportunities for bicycling, walking, and public transportation. MassBike is very pleased that MassDOT is moving forward with GreenDOT, and we offered comments to Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey to make the plan even better (click here for a full copy of our comment letter).

The over-arching theme of MassBike's comments was "change can happen faster". We recommended accelerating the proposed update to the MassDOT road design guidelines to reflect current standards, so that better projects for biking and walking would start happening sooner. We pushed for actually reducing vehicle speeds on busy roads, rather than merely studying how to do it. We asked for additional measures of dedicated bicycling facilities, bike parking, access to transit, and the number of school children who actually receive biking and walking safety training and then ride or walk to school.

We await MassDOT's response to our comments and those of other advocates and members of the public. And we will continue working with MassDOT to ensure that bicycling conditions in Massachusetts keep improving (and improve even more rapidly).

 

2 Mile Challenge Update - Only 9 Days Left!

For the past 22 days riders all across the country have been logging into 2milechallenge.com and recording their bike trips in support of MassBike. Each trip logged during August equals a dollar for MassBike up to $10,000. So far we have been really cruising, averaging 304 trips a day and logging a total of 6,783 trips! That is the equivalent of pulling 5 cars of the road for a year!  We are really pleased with the progress we have made so far but  in order to reach our 10k trip goal we need to keep riding and logging trips.  So get out there, go for a ride, and when you get home record it at 2milechallenge.com

Thank you to everyone who has been recording trips for MassBike and if you haven't started but need some help logging on we have created some step by step instructions just for you.

Happy Riding Everyone!


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