Federal Transportation Bill A Step Backwards

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).

The Analysis



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.

Next Steps



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, including GreenDOT (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 like Transportation 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.)

Also, consider joining or donating to MassBike. We are supported primarily through our members, and so truly could not do it without you.

Autumn Escape Bike Trek - September 28th - 30th



The American Lung Association needs your support in our fight for healthy lungs and healthy air. Join us for the 2012  September 28th to 30th  Autumn Escape Bike Trek. This cycling adventure from Plymouth to Provincetown offers a weekend filled with beautiful scenery, entertainment and fun. To find out more about how you can escape to the Cape with the American Lung Association, go to biketreknewengland.org or call us at 781-314-9001
Link to Youtube Video



Update: The 2012 Summer Century and Family Fun Ride Routes Set

The routes for the 2012 Summer Century and Family Fun Ride have been set and can be found in full detail here. We are really looking forward to this event and hope to see you there!

Here is a little bit more information about the ride in case you are unfamiliar...

The Summer Century and Family Fun Ride take place Saturday July 28th at Lexington High School. We welcome riders of all levels to come out and enjoy a great day of riding, while supporting bike advocacy in Massachusetts.

You can choose from from 12, 21, 42, 63, and 100 mile rides. The routes will traverse the heart of early American history, from Paul Revere’s Ride through Lexington and Concord to nearby battlefields. Longer rides visit the towns and villages that sent the first Minutemen.

Plus, by joining in the MassBike Summer Century & Family Fun Ride, you’ll be helping to make bicycling better in Massachusetts. All proceeds go to support MassBike’s bicycling advocacy. MassBike works through legislation, education, and infrastructure projects to get more people on bicycles and to make our roads and paths safer. Your support is important to making sure that bicyclists are protected in Massachusetts.

Just like last year’s ride, all rides have rolling start times for the convenience and safety of riders. The start window for Century (100 miles) riders will be 7-8:30 A.M., Metric century (62 miles) riders 8-9:30 A.M. and 40 mile riders 9-10:30 A.M. These rides feature arrowed routes with rest stops and cue sheets. Family rides of 10 and 20 miles will start in guided groups from 10-11 A.M., although families are welcome to follow the routes on their own.

After the great day of riding, lunch will be provided by Redbones Barbecue. Preregister today and get a Summer Century t-shirt.

All types of bicyclists are encouraged to join us and support the fantastic work of MassBike. With your help, we can make bicycling better in the Bay State. Enjoy the ride! Find out more info about the ride here.

Keep MassBike Rolling During Our 2012 Summer Appeal



Whether we ride every day or just occasionally, we are all cyclists. We ride because it is good for the environment, our health, our communities, and just for the fun of it. There as many reasons to ride a bicycle as there are places to ride. But no matter what your reasons are for getting on a bike, we know that when people ride bikes, great things happen.

MassBike is your resource for bicycling education, advocacy, outreach, and fun throughout the Bay State. But we need your support to ensure that we can continue to be the voice for bicyclists in Massachusetts!

We have been advocating for bicycling in Massachusetts for 35 years, and whether you are a new member or have been supporting us from the beginning, we have achieved some remarkable accomplishments thanks to you. Here are a few examples of our most recent successes:

Protected federal funding for bike lanes, bike paths, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails from repeated attacks in Congress.
Organized the first-ever Massachusetts Bike/Walk Summit at the State House, bringing together legislators, staff, and community advocates to build support for legislation that makes biking and walking safer in Massachusetts. We got Beacon Hill moving!
Won broad support for our still-pending Vulnerable Road Users Bill from legislators, advocacy groups, and ordinary citizens who want safer streets.
Fought resurgent attacks on bicyclists’ rights to use Massachusetts roads and parkways.
• Helped ensure that MassDOT’s ongoing Accelerated Bridge Program meets the needs of bicyclists.

But even with these successes there is still work to be done. Your support is critical to help make it happen!

Still to come in 2012, we will be rolling out our new Bikeable Communities Training statewide in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, helping local communities make real progress on bicycling. Our work in Boston’s under served neighborhoods will continue with the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness. MassBike bike safety instructors will fan out across Massachusetts to teach thousands of schoolchildren and adults. And we are proud to be working with Transportation for Massachusetts to solve the state’s long-term transportation problems.

Your support allows MassBike to continue working on important projects in your community and around the state, from the local level all the way to Washington, D.C., wherever bicyclists need a voice. We need you to contribute to make sure that we win the laws, policies, and funding that bicyclists need.

We can make Massachusetts a better place for bicycling, but we can’t do it without you. Please support our important work today by following this link.

On-Street Bike Parking = Awesome!

I saw this in Kendall Square, Cambridge, on my commute recently:

 


What an awesome sight! I've seen similar on-street bike parking in Boston, Somerville, and even suburban Lexington. Why do we think this is so great? Several reasons:

  • It increases the number of bike racks dramatically and quickly

  • It uses existing space (usually a parking space)

  • It's mobile - so installation is simple and relocation is easy

  • It's good business - you get more customers from 15 bikes than 1 car

  • And nothing says "Bikes Matter" more clearly than taking space from cars!


So what do you think about this? Where else have you seen it in Massachusetts?

Featured Event: "Circle The City" This Sunday

Join us in Franklin Park in Boston this Sunday, June 24th, for the first Circle The City event. Visit our booth for bicycling safety information, memberships, maps, and the latest MassBike merchandise. And park you bike in our free valet bike parking, sponsored by the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness!

Free activities for all ages will include:

  • Fitness and Yoga classes, Zumba and Hula Hooping

  • Street Hockey clinics with the Boston Bruins and Bruins Defenseman Andrew Ference. Pre-register here for these clinics.

  • Bikes and instruction with Boston Bikes

  • Kids’ art and nature activities with the Boston Nature Center and Museum of Science

  • Walks and bike rides

  • Kickball, Basketball, Frisbee golf, Tennis

  • Healthy Food Trucks

  • Kite Flying

  • Music and dance performances

  • A 4pm concert with the Boston POPS Brass Ensemble


Common Boston will also co-sponsor two exciting CTC activities Please pre-register here.

  • 10am: Join Alan Banks of the National Park Service for a 5-mile walk of the Emerald Necklace from the Emerald Necklace Conservancy Visitor Center to Franklin Park.

  • 2pm: Join Laurie Pessah of Toole Design Group for a 2-hour bike ride from Boston Common to Franklin Park.


Don't Miss The Summer Century And Family Fun Ride!

We can't believe it's been three years since the Summer Century and Family Fun Ride started out. Last year, everyone had a great time and enjoyed the Red Bones barbeque finishing their rides. This year promises to be everything that has worked well in the past, plus some route modifications to make it even better.

register for MassBike's 3rd Annual Summer Century & Family Fun Ride today!

We are welcoming riders of all levels to come out and enjoy a great day of riding, while supporting bike advocacy in Massachusetts.

You can choose from from 12, 21, 42, 63, and 100 mile rides. The routes will traverse the heart of early American history, from Paul Revere’s Ride through Lexington and Concord to nearby battlefields. Longer rides visit the towns and villages that sent the first Minutemen.

Plus, by joining in the MassBike Summer Century & Family Fun Ride, you'll be helping to make bicycling better in Massachusetts. All proceeds go to support MassBike's bicycling advocacy. MassBike works through legislation, education, and infrastructure projects to get more people on bicycles and to make our roads and paths safer. Your support is important to making sure that bicyclists are protected in Massachusetts.

Just like last year's ride, all rides have rolling start times for the convenience and safety of riders. The start window for Century (100 miles) riders will be 7-8:30 A.M., Metric century (62 miles) riders 8-9:30 A.M. and 40 mile riders 9-10:30 A.M. These rides feature arrowed routes with rest stops and cue sheets. Family rides of 10 and 20 miles will start in guided groups from 10-11 A.M., although families are welcome to follow the routes on their own.

After the great day of riding, lunch will be provided by Redbones Barbecue. Preregister today and get a Summer Century t-shirt.

All types of bicyclists are encouraged to join us and support the fantastic work of MassBike. With your help, we can make bicycling better in the Bay State. Enjoy the ride! Find out more info about the ride here.

Pre-Order A Locally-Made MassBike Jersey!

You may have seen our post earlier this month letting you know that MassBike will be producing a limited run of jerseys made right here in Massachusetts. We will be taking orders for the jerseys until June 28, at which point we will submit the order to VOmax for production. Don't miss your opportunity to get this stylish, comfortable jersey (and support the local economy)!



VOmax bicycle jerseys are made of Microdry fabric for exceptional comfort, fit and quality. This order will be club fit (not too tight, not too loose) and are available in men’s and women’s sizes S-XL. This is a limited time offer, and may never be offered again, so if you like what you see and want to support making bicycling better throughout the Bay State, order now!

Northampton, Boston Bike Classes Coming Up

The bicycle education season has come back full force! We have two trainings that are coming up, one this weekend and then a second one the next. Read below for the details, and if you are interested in registering, please email education@massbike.org or call (617) 542-2453. Both classes are free and open to the public.

Basics of Better Biking - Seaport District



The Basics of Better Biking class is designed for adults who want to get back into bicycling, improve cycling skills, learn to ride more effectively and safely in traffic, and/or participate in a large-scale benefit ride. This four-hour weekend session provides guided instruction with simple practice drills in a parking lot, easy-paced riding on local roadways for short distances, and group-discussion breaks along the way. Topics covered include bike and helmet fitting, starting and stopping your bike in traffic, shifting gears, scanning and yielding, choosing the correct lane position in the road, handling intersections, and more.

This class takes place Saturday, June 23 from 1 - 5, and meets at South Station.

Some notes about the class:

  • A bicycle in good working order and a helmet are required.

  • Preregistration is required.

  • This class is intended for participants 18 and older. For minors wishing to take the class, please contact education@massbike.org.

  • Sometimes we have to cancel a class due to low registration. We will let you know no less than three days in advance if the class is canceled.



This class, sponsored by the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness, is free and open to the public.

Bikeable Communities Training, Part 1 - Northampton



We are excited to announce our first Bikeable Communities Training! The focus of this training is to work with community members to improve infrastructure and policies which support biking as a means of recreation and transportation.

The first training is in Northampton, on June 30th from 1-4pm at the Forbes Library.

Our first training will focus on effective citizen engagement, with case studies from signature undertakings from around the state. This training will have an emphasis on:

  • How the decision-making process works for local projects and policies, and the interaction between local, state, and federal entities when making those decisions.

  • An overview of how projects are funded, and explanations of how the public is involved in the various stages of those funding decisions.

  • Building alliances with citizens and organizations sharing complementary goals or missions, and maintaining momentum behind efforts that can sometimes take years.

  • Best practices when engaging public officials, including methods of communication, preparing for meetings, messaging.



This class, sponsored by Mass in Motion, is free and open to the public. To register, email education@massbike.org.

New Transportation Choice On The Cape

This just came in from the Cape Cod Chapter. It's great to see progress being made. Be sure to check it out when you're down there this summer! 

[caption id="attachment_19377" align="alignleft" width="300"] National Park Service and Local and State Officials Announce the New Service[/caption]Rob Miceli, Chapter Chairperson for MassBike’s Cape and Island Chapter, was at the ribbon cutting on June 14 for the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority's new Outer Cape Bike Shuttle. From June 16, 2012 through September 2, 2012, the shuttle will provide service every 1.5 hours Saturday and Sunday (Excluding holidays) from 8 AM to 6:15 PM. The shuttle provides room for 12 bicycles and riders. This means bicycle riders can now bike beyond the Cape Cod Rail Trail to village centers in Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown as well as trails in the Cape Cod National Seashore then hop on the shuttle for a ride back to the rail trail or Marconi Beach. The shuttle makes 9 stops between Marconi Beach in Wellfleet and Macmillan pier in Provincetown.

Riders can now ride to Wellfleet and board the shuttle to Provincetown to avoid riding on Route 6, or could park in Wellfleet, ride to Provincetown and take the shuttle back. The Cape is a veritable cornucopia of transportation options! Tell your bicycling friends on Cape Cod and bicyclists who plan on visiting the Cape on weekends this summer!

For a schedule and more info, go to http://www.capecodrta.org/bike shuttle.htm.


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