For over a decade, MassBike has coordinated the Massachusetts delegation to the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC. This is the nation’s largest annual bicycle advocacy event. It's an opportunity to go to Washington and let our congress know how important it is to continue promoting policies and funding that favor bicycling.
Even if you are new to legislative advocacy, don’t fear: we set up the meetings and train participants on what to do. We will discuss important bicycling issues, share stories, and network with other advocates from across the country.
If you have any questions or plan to join us, please feel free to call 617-542-2453 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation: Update
MassDOT’s contractor, White-Skanska-Consigli (WSC), anticipates setting up the final configuration of Stage 3 by Thursday, February 11, 2016. The shift of the tracks to their temporary positions was completed over a series of Red Line Weekend Diversions. The relocation of the large barrier fence along the tracks will be completed by February 1. The installation of the upstream “Salt and Pepper” towers, hampered by the cold temperatures of mid-January, is complete with the last stones installed this week. Now that the towers are complete, removal of the staging will begin this weekend, followed by the placement of concrete sidewalks and curbs adjacent to the towers. Once the sidewalks and curbs are in place, the final sections of temporary fence needed for the new upstream bicycle lane can be installed. WSC anticipates the final set up for the upstream bicycle lane will be complete by the end of the day on Thursday, February 11, 2016, when inbound and outbound bike travel is shifted. Stage 3 work will take approximately eight months to complete. View the Stage 3 Graphic for travel space configuration along the Longfellow Bridge.
All bike travel, both inbound and outbound, will be shifted to the sidewalk on the upstream side of the bridge on February 11. During this stage, inbound vehicles and all pedestrians will continue to use the downstream side of the bridge.
Red Line Configuration
The construction of the temporary outbound Red Line track (called a “shoo-fly”) on the roadway is complete. The outbound trains were shifted to the shoo-fly track and the inbound trains were shifted to the old outbound track in mid-January. This shift allows WSC to rehabilitate the bridge under the current location of the MBTA inbound tracks.
The Cambridge-bound detour remains in place using the existing signed route from Charles Circle following Charles Street to Leverett Circle, Monsignor O’Brien Highway (Route 28)/Charles River Dam Road and Land Boulevard.
For more information, visit the project website at www.mass.gov/massdot/longfellowbridge. For questions or issues and concerns related to construction, please call the project hotline at 617-519-9892 or email email@example.com. View construction progress photos on MassDOT’s Longfellow Bridge Flickr Album.
MassDOT’s contractor, WSC, encourages drivers to avoid the area and seek alternate routes to minimize delays. Those traveling through the area should expect delays and should reduce speed and use caution. The schedule for this major infrastructure project is weather dependent and subject to change without notice.
BOSTON, M.A..- (January 25, 2016) - On March 1 the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition will take an anchor position in a shared work environment with potentially other transportation advocacy leaders at the Cambridge Innovation Center at 50 Milk Street in downtown Boston. The CIC houses co-working space in Kendall Square and Boston. The long term goal of the co-working space is to create a hub of active and sustainable transportation advocacy.
With proximity to the State House, Boston City Hall, and the Department of Transportation the Cambridge Innovation Center is the ideal location to act as home-base for the crucial work that is done with government partners. The shared space will further develop the collaborative efforts within the community, increase MassBike’s ability to effectively pursue change and strengthen a unified voice.
MassBike will be an active and engaged member of the diverse CIC community, hosting various events and educational programming throughout the year. The multi-floor facility specializes in creating affordable shared space environments with event space, conference facilities and professional communication design.
“We want to put our team in an exhilarating environment alongside some of the best and brightest thought leaders. The long term goal is to make the collective bicycle lobby in Massachusetts the strongest in America. In short, we want to go to the zone defense,” said MassBike Executive Director Richard Fries.
Although families have joined the tour throughout the ride’s history, in 2016 Cycle Massachusetts is adding a truly family-friendly weekend option:
- Kids 11 and under ride and eat for FREE
- Shorter manageable tour routes on quiet roads. Ride to Old Sturbridge Village, with shuttle service available in either direction.
- Evening activities – maybe even a campfire with s’mores
- Ride to the famous Publick House to pick up goodies at their famous bakery
- Outdoor kid-friendly movie
- Saturday afternoon ice cream social
Sarah J, from Danvers MA, who rode for the first time at age 8, says: “Cycle Mass is fun because everybody is kind and helps anyone in need. Cycle Mass is also a great way to meet new friends. If you get tired, you can get picked up by a sag wagon. You can have a snack any time at the rest stops. There are fun activities every evening.”
Of course the Cycle Massachusetts tour has plenty of options for unaccompanied grown-ups, and it’s a particularly beautiful route this year:
- One ride – four states! Not only do we explore Massachusetts, but we’ll ride the quiet roads of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York as well
- There’s an option for just about every schedule – join us for a weekend, or 4, 5, or the amazing 7 day tour
- Back to the Berkshires! We’ll explore the quiet roads of this legendary region. We even have an “Alice’s Restaurant” ride to celebrate the scenes of this famous song
- From ice cream shops to friendly farmstands to roadside museums, Massachusetts is best enjoyed at a bicycling pace. Beautifully-designed routes feature quiet roads, and you’ll have many options of how far to ride.
We’re excited to welcome riders to our fantastic start/finish location at Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts. With two nights on their lovely campus, two nights in the cultural mecca of Great Barrington, and a night each in Agawam and Suffield, CT, riders will have time to explore the most scenic vistas, visit local landmarks, and savor each experience with new friends.
Cycle Massachusetts is from July 30th through August 5th (2, 4, 5, and 7 day options available) and all proceeds support the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition. It’s all available for one low fee – and even better, all proceeds go to support the Massbike. Your vacation will help everyone in Massachusetts enjoy safer bicycling!
Cycle Massachusetts isn’t just about the bike – it’s the unique camaraderie that keeps riders returning year after year. From a daily “social hour”, to sharing stories over delicious hearty meals, to nightly entertainment or excursions to local attractions, to s’mores at the campfire – it’s like summer camp for all!
“At a biking pace, you can stop and discover so many things you wouldn’t see otherwise – it was really wonderful!”
-rider Nathalie Apchin of Milton
Dates: July 30th through August 5th (2, 4, 5, and 7 day options available)
One ride, many choices!
- 7 day (Sat-Fri) $795
- 5 day (Mon-Fri) $575
- 4 day (Sat-Tue) $465
- 2 day (Sat-Sun) $175
Where: Dudley (2 nights), Great Barrington (2 nights), Agawam, and Suffield, CT.
Start/finish location is Nichols College in Dudley, MA
How long? Cycle Massachusetts offers two routes each day. The shorter route is between 30-40 miles and the longer route is usually between 45-70 miles.
For riders getting back in the saddle: Riders who want to shorten their distance can use the free “Head Start Drop-Off” service that allows participants to start up to 20 miles into the route.
The food: We provide a hearty catered hot breakfast every day except registration day. Lunch is “on your own” and enjoyed along the day’s route – we’ll have suggestions of some fantastic local eateries. We’ll enjoy delicious catered dinners at our overnight locations.
Creature comforts: This is a camping tour that includes hot showers. The very-popular “Comfy Campers” service is available for those who prefer to camp in style.
Included: Tent and gear transportation, daily ride choices, cue sheet/GPS files/maps, route notes, most meals, camping privileges, nightly entertainment, tour t-shirt, parking during the tour.
Sign up today: The registration deadline is July 15th, and Cycle Massachusetts is limited to 150 riders! An early-bird discount of $25 for the 7, 5, and 4 day rides ends March 1st.
Please join our pals with the Friends of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail for a public meeting on the redevelopment of Western Avenue in Westfield.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Doors Open at 6.30pm, Meeting Begins at 7:00pm
Westfield Middle School South, 30 West Silver Street, Westfield, MA 01085
- It is a main access route to/from the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail
- It is a major link in Westfield's transportation system, serving east-west travel
- It has ample right-of-way
- It is a connector between major destinations including BayState Noble Hospital, Westfield State University, Westfield YMCA, Stanley Park, Highland Elementary School, downtown, off-campus (WSU) student housing, Amelia Park campus (including Amelia Park, Amelia Park Ice Arena, and Amelia Park Children's Museum), Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield, Westfield Middle School South, and more.
Moreover, a forward thinking design for Western Avenue is one which will:
- Promote healthy & active lifestyles
- Create a sense of community & connectedness
- Promote a vibrant & creative local economy, and
- Provide safe & equitable (all ages, all abilities) access to viable, active, alternative transportation routes.
Add your voice to supporting a forward thinking approach to Western Avenue.
Bicyclists Pack Hearing Room to Compel Lawmakers to Make Roadways Safer
BOSTON, Mass. -(January 7, 2016) - Emotional testimony filled the State House hearing room as the Joint Committee on Transportation yesterday heard legislators, advocates, law enforcement officers, doctors, lawyers and those who have been impacted by injury or loss of a loved one testify in favor of critical bills to protect cyclists and pedestrians. The standing-room only crowd spoke in favor of several bills, with a focus on four that consist of the vulnerable users bill, bike lane protection bill, truck-side guard bill, and a bike path crosswalk bill.
Rep. William Straus, co-chair of the committee, opened the event by announcing that after the completion of testimony from lawmakers and government officials, the testimony for bicycle and pedestrian bills would be moved up in the hearing schedule due to the number people there to speak.
MassBike’s team was onsite to speak on behalf of the two bills they filed for vulnerable users and bike lane protection. “We can potentially prevent these incidents from happening rather than dealing with the after-effects of tragedy,” said Barbara Jacobson, programs director for MassBike.
“Maybe the people listening could hear what happened and hopefully choose to make those changes that would save someone else's life,” said a tearful Brianna Arnold, a political science major at Stonehill College, who lost her uncle just last week when he was killed riding his bicycle in Worcester.
This hearing was a big step towards making these bills state law in Massachusetts but the process will continue during the spring before receiving a full vote of the House and Senate.
“For bike advocates this was the most important chance to speak. We had a broad range of support and emotional testimony. And our bills had zero opposition,” said Richard Fries, executive director of MassBike. “We will need this type of political momentum as these bills move to the Ways and Means Committee and then to the full votes of both houses.”
MassBike will follow the Transportation Committee to provide updates as to whether they report favorably on each bill.
“We expect a favorable report at the phase,” said Fries. “But when we go to the full vote is when we will need our membership to engage with each of their lawmakers. This could be historic for bicycling in the Bay State.”
First off, the big question of the day...How did it go?
MassBike representatives arrived at the State House this morning to see a full house. Legislators, advocates, enthusiasts, those who have been impacted by injury or loss of a loved one, law enforcement, doctors, lawyers and many, many more lined the rows of the crowded, standing-room only hearing room in front of the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Transportation. Key bills dealing with the safety and protection of cyclists and pedestrians were on the docket, including two bills filed by MassBike (you can find a summary here).
Hearings began with Rep. William Straus, co-chair of the committee, announcing that after all testimony from lawmakers and government officials was completed, the testimony for bicycle and pedestrian related bills would be moved up in the hearing schedule due to how many people were interested in testifying. What a great success in terms of turnout! Thank you to all of those who attend and to those who provided written testimony.
Great thanks to the support of fellow advocacy organizations like the Boston Cyclists Union and Livable Streets Alliance, and all citizens who came to testify. You can see full live coverage on twitter in our Storify.
While many of you may remember “I’m Just a Bill” from the famed Schoolhouse Rock this hearing today is just the start of the process for these key bills. While that is at the Federal level, the process at the State level is very much the same. We think we’re off to a great start, but there is still a lot of work to be done. For how a bill becomes a law in Massachusetts, read about the process here.
What else can you do to help?
We will be posting more updates as they become available and will alert the community when action is needed. There will be more times where public comment, letters and emails become crucial when we need to draw lawmakers attention to these matters. This process will take some time and we will need your continued energy to complete the job. In the meantime, consider supporting MassBike. If you believe in our efforts to make bicycling safer and more enjoyable around the state, become a member or donate today. We rely on the support of our members and donors to be able to do work like this supporting bicycle friendly legislation.
Join Today or Donate
Thursday, January 7, 7pm - 9pm
Brookline Town Hall
333 Washington Street, Selectmen's Hearing Room, 6th Floor
Tomorrow at 10 a.m., the hearings before the Joint Committee on Transportation afford citizens the opportunity to speak for or against proposed legislation. So far, we've received excellent feedback from the hill at the overwhelming number of letters and e-mails that have been sent in support of these bills. For that, we thank you for your efforts!
For those of you who have yet to write your lawmakers - there is still time to make an impact! The deadline for written comment is the end of the day Wednesday, January 6th.
For a summary of the bills MassBike is advocating for, more info on how to get involved, and how to find your representatives read our blog here.
To read a full listing of the bills and hearings, click here: Mass. Joint Committee on Transportation
Those interested in testifying in support of these bills in person are urged to contact MassBike at bikeinfo@MassBike.org.
BOSTON, DEC. 29, 2015 - Hearings have been scheduled on Beacon Hill for several key bills that would impact bicyclists in Massachusetts. To be held Wednesday, Jan. 6, at 10 a.m., these hearings before the Joint Committee on Transportation afford citizens the opportunity to speak for or against proposed legislation. These hearings will be the first opportunity of the New Year for you to get involved - read on to learn how!
For many members of the bicycling community these bills have been an ongoing effort. We extend our gratitude to those who have shared their story and contacted their representatives on Beacon Hill. For those of you who have yet to write your lawmakers - there is still time to make an impact!
To read a full listing of the bills and hearings, click here: Mass. Joint Committee on Transportation
“This is the opportunity every citizen gets to weigh in on proposed legislation,” said Richard Fries, executive director of MassBike. “While we file letters and make arguments with data and case studies the most effective influence at these hearings are personal stories from Bay State citizens. We are seeking out testimony from the families and friends of victims whose lives and limbs may have been spared if these laws had been in place.”
Amid several transportation bills filed there are four key bicycling measures to be reviewed in next week’s hearings, two of which were filed by MassBike. What may be confusing is that these are listed as eight measures. This is because the bills have versions in both the House and the Senate, (hence the “H” and “S” designation below) which will be considered together in the Joint Committee on Transportation, which makes up or down recommendations before going to a full vote of the Legislature.
Whether in writing or in person, bicyclists statewide are encouraged by MassBike to participate in helping to secure passage of these measures. Should they not pass in 2016 it would be another two years before we could get these even considered. Of note is that some of these bills would be critical to improve Massachusetts’ spot on the League of American Bicyclists’ Bike Friendly State rankings. Currently we are number four.
These are the bills under consideration:
Truck Side Guard Bill H. 3019/S. 1810
This bill would require side guards and convex mirrors on larger vehicles operating in Massachusetts. A significant percentage of the recent deaths and injuries of bicyclists in the Bay State have involved trucks making right turns in urban situations. This ordinance has been passed in Boston but has little application for trucks registered elsewhere. More than half of bicyclists killed by trucks hit the side of the truck first and are then swept beneath.
Learn more here: Truck Side Guards Explained
Bike Lane Bill H. 3072/S. 1808
This bill is pretty simple in that it would make standing or parking in a bike lane or other on-road bike facility a ticketable offense with a $100 fine. This is not just about the rights of bicyclists. This is a major safety issue for all road users and an environmental issue. The actions of those who double park or park in bike lanes have proven to cause traffic congestion that is often magnified for miles back into the transportation system, wasting fuel and producing unnecessary greenhouse gases.
For more on ways Boston is using interactive data to reduce double-parking and congestion, watch this video: Waze Data and Double Parking
Vulnerable Users Bill H. 3073/S. 1807
Commonly known as a three-feet law, this could be the most significant bill of the bunch for cyclists statewide. Passage of this bill could elevate Massachusetts into the top three of the League of American Bicyclists bike friendly rankings. This bill would require motorists to provide a minimum of three-feet when overtaking a “vulnerable user” even if it requires them to cross the centerline to do so. This bill would align cyclists with police, first responders, construction workers, pedestrians, and others defined as vulnerable users. Research indicates that bicyclists being struck from behind comprise 40 percent of fatalities. Likewise tow truck drivers report a death every six days and police report a fatality every month as they work on our roadways.
A fun look at the three-foot law in California.
Bike Path Crosswalk Bill S. 1809
Passage of this bill would make it legal for bicyclists to do what they are already doing: ride across a bike path crosswalk, provided they yield to pedestrians and operate with reasonable caution. More important it would require motorists to yield to bicyclists in those crosswalks. Current law provides legal protection only to pedestrians in crosswalks, even when they are set as part of a bike path. Currently bicyclists are technically supposed to walk through such intersections if they are to enjoy such protection. This is unrealistic and antiquated.
Any citizen may weigh in during these hearings, but MassBike is working alongside several other members of the Vision Zero Coalition to coordinate a powerful presentation of speakers. Those interested in testifying in support of these bills are urged to contact MassBike at bikeinfo@MassBike.org.
How else can you help?
Contact your lawmakers. For a sample letter and how to find your State Representative or State Senator click here.