Boston Bike Share Passes "Go", Collects $3M

Late yesterday afternoon, I began getting calls from reporters seeking comment on the news that Boston had landed a $3M federal grant to launch the long-awaited bike share program. See the Boston Globe article or visit our Press Room. Yes, that's right, the city now has the money for bike share!

Originally planned to launch this May, then pushed back to July, then going somewhat ominously quiet amid rumors of financial issues, the bike share is back and we are very glad to hear it. The program is now anticipated to launch in Spring 2011. At 500 bikes and 50 stations, the program will not initially be as large as originally planned, but large enough to prove the concept and justify growing to thousands of bikes at hundreds of stations. The money is coming from the Federal Transit Administration, which liked the city's plan to locate many bike share stations near public transit.

While we're sorry it got pushed back a year, it's an great opportunity for the city to make even more progress on infrastructure improvements (like more bike lanes and paths). The safer and more comfortable the city is for cycling, the greater the chance of success of the program. And we really want it to succeed: It is an opportunity to redefine what a "bicyclist" is. With bike share, anyone can choose to shift a trip from driving, or transit, or walking to bicycling at any time. What it really means is a chance for bicycling to become mainstream almost overnight!

There will still be challenges - infrastructure needs and education and safety issues among them - with a program that overnight puts lots of potentially inexperienced cyclists on Boston streets, but that is a good problem to have. MassBike is ready to help with our education program and continuing efforts working with the Boston Bikes program.

MassBike Summer Education Program, Presented By Adobe

Thanks to the generous support of Adobe Systems, MassBike is offering a variety of summer education classes free of charge to the general public. The classes will be in Waltham, where Adobe is located, but all are welcome to attend.



Our first round of classes is listed below. These classes will be our Commuter Workshop and our Maintenance Workshop.

The Commuter Workshop is a fast-paced, one hour workshop covers topics ranging from bike choice, gear choice, route planning, safety, rules of the road, how to look professional when you get to work, and other general tips and tricks. It is a great introduction to a variety of aspects of bicycling, and most people leave this class feeling much more confident about riding their bicycle.

The Maintenance Workshop covers how to fix a flat, how to adjust your seat post, how to lube your chain, and a basic overview of bike parts and what they do. Presenters bring all tools/props needed to teach this class, so attendees will not need to bring anything other than themselves to this presentation (please do not bring a bicycle to be repaired). This class will teach you the absolute basics you will need in order to perform some of the most common bicycle upkeep tasks.

July


16th Commuter Workshop 6-7pm Waltham Public Library Lecture Hall. Ground floor
23rd Maintenance Workshop 6-7pm Waltham Public Meeting Room Basement of Government Center

August


4th Commuter Workshop 6-7pm Waltham Public Meeting Room Basement of Government Center
16th Commuter Workshop 6-7pm Waltham Public Library Lecture Hall. Ground floor
23rd Maintenance Workshop 6-7pm Waltham Public Library Lecture Hall. Ground floor
26th Commuter Workshop 6-7pm Waltham Public Meeting Room Basement of Government Center

September


2nd Commuter Workshop 6-7pm Waltham Public Library Lecture Hall. Ground floor
9th Commuter Workshop 6-7pm Waltham Public Library Lecture Hall. Ground floor
16th Commuter Workshop 6-7pm Waltham Public Meeting Room Basement of Government Center
29th Maintenance Workshop 6-7pm Waltham Public Meeting Room Basement of Government Center

Click here for a map showing the Library and the Public Meeting room, as well as local transit options for getting to the classes.

Each class is one hour long, and is limited to 30 students, these fill up quickly so be sure to RSVP by emailing Shane@massbike.org. Specify how many people will be attending and the date of the class you wish to attend.

More and different classes will be offered soon, stay tuned to MassBike.org for details.

ACTION ALERT: Help Needed With Speed Limit Bill

MassBike needs your help to pass House Bill 4728 to reduce the prevailing speed limit in Massachusetts urban areas from 30mph to 25mph. MassBike and other safety advocates have long supported efforts to decrease the speed limit, and this is the closest it has ever been to passing! This bill, originally sponsored by Representative Denise Provost (Somerville), would significantly increase pedestrian safety in neighborhood settings by slowing vehicle traffic to speeds safer for walkers and cyclists. It is currently in the House Committee on Bills in Third Reading, and when it reaches the Senate, it will be on the fast track, so please take action to support this bill by calling or emailing TODAY.

Why is this bill important? This is an important safety measure because bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities from crashes with automobiles are directly related to speed: When struck by a vehicle going 40 mph, 90% of bicyclists and pedestrians die, as compared to only 5% when the vehicle is going 20 mph. Massachusetts' prevailing speed limit of 30 mph is too fast for local roads in densely developed areas, and 25 mph is the safer standard, which has been adopted by many other states across the country. Massachusetts should join these states in protecting the safety of all our residents and visitors.

What can you do to help?

1. Call or email your State Senator and ask him or her to ask Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo to move H4728 forward.

2. Call or email your State Representative and ask him or her to ask Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo to move H4728 forward.

3. Email action@massbike.org to let us know who you contacted.

Thanks for your help - we can't do it without you!

Click here to find your State Representative (called "Rep in General Court") and your State Senator (called "Senate in General Court"), then click on their names to get phone numbers and emails.

New On MassBike.org: Infrastructure Problem Contacts



Photo courtesy of League of Michigan Bicyclists via Flickr


We all remember that pothole on the way to work or class, you know the really deep one that always fills with water when it rains and is near invisible at night. It’s been there for months and is downright dangerous on your bike as you go into work. Have you always wanted to call the city and get them to do something? But when you got to work you forgot or couldn’t find the information?

MassBike has the answers!

We now have a page documenting the phone, email, and hotline contacts, for approximately 80 communities across the state This is sorted by town in alphabetical order and it's not just for potholes. If you have any issues with infrastructure, be it streetlights, potholes, or sidewalks, this is the place to go.

The page can be found under the "Resources" tab at the top of the page.

We are not perfect though, so if you see something wrong, missing information, or a town you would like added, please contact us so we can update the page.

We hope you like it and find it useful.
-John (intrepid MassBike intern)

While Out For A Ride Keep Your Eyes Peeled For These Nasty Pests

Cycling is a great way to travel. You are moving at a speed that is quick enough to get you places on time, but not so fast that everything speeds by in a blur. Because cyclists are uniquely situated to take a good look at there surroundings we are asking everyone to be on the lookout for Asian Longhorn Beetles.



We just received this information from the MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources—please read this, spread the word, and help stop the spread of this critter that required 27,000 trees to be cut down in Worcester in 2008-2009.

----------------------
This weekend a small infestation of Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) was found in Jamaica Plain (Boston). The site is at Faulkner Hospital, just across from the Arnold Arboretum. Six infested maple trees were found so far, in close proximity to each other, and have already been removed by USDA/DCR. Surveys will continue this week.

It is extremely important that we get the word out ASAP to everyone in the Boston, Brookline and Newton area to be on the lookout for:
1) Adult Asian longhorned beetles (shiny black beetles with white spots and long, banded antennae)
2) ALB exit holes (dime-sized, perfectly round holes, especially in maple, but also in birch, elm, horsechestnut, willow and other hardwood trees…but not oak)
3) ALB egg-laying sites (divots in the bark ranging in size from 1/4 to 3/4 inches across – fresh pits often have oozing, foaming sap)

Anyone seeing anything suspicious should report it immediately at http://massnrc.org/pests/albreport.aspx or toll-free: 1-866-702-9938. Take photos if you can.

If you are with an environmental group or other organization that needs outreach materials, we will provide you with ID cards, fact sheets, etc., for free. Just contact Jen Forman Orth (jennifer.forman-orth@state.ma.us; 617-626-1735)

Spread the word, not the beetle! Get all the latest ALB news at: http://massnrc.org/pests/alb

I Am An Electronic Design Engineer, And I Ride

Here is yet another great And I Ride story. We are seeking to put a face on cycling in support of a legislative campaign that we are working on this year. You can read the rest of these great stories here.


We are still accepting entries, so be sure to read below to find out how to send in your story.


Our next story comes from Scott.





Where I Ride: Boston and surrounding areas

How Often I Ride: Daily


My Story:


I love to bicycle, it is a very good type of exercise and my daily bicycle commute to work keeps me feeling great all day. In addition, I ride into Boston frequently to meet friends and go places like MassBike events.



Thanks Scott!


We want to hear your story. Tell us about yourself and how bicycling is a part of your life. Just copy and paste the form below into an email, fill it in, and send it to shane@massbike.org.



  • Name:

  • Email:

  • Where You Ride:

  • How Often You Ride:

  • Your Profession/Relation/Title (lawyer, nurse, Grandma, son, etc):

  • A picture of you on your bicycle, or you in your daily life (be sure we can see your face):

  • A paragraph or two about your life and your bicycle:


MassBike Announces First "MassBike Summer Century & Family Ride”



MassBike is pleased to announce the first MassBike Summer Century & Family Ride on Saturday, August 14, 2010, starting from Lexington High School. “The event is designed to offer something for every type of bicyclist from the serious roadie to families and casual riders,” said Bob Dangel, the event coordinator and MassBike’s Treasurer. “It’s a celebration of bicycling that gives bicyclists of all types an opportunity to enjoy riding together,” he said.

Click here to register

All rides (10, 20, 40, 62 and 100 miles) will traverse the heart of American Revolutionary history, from Paul Revere’s Ride through Lexington and Concord and to nearby battlefields. Longer rides visit the towns and villages that sent the first Minutemen. After the rides, everyone is invited to stay at Lexington High School for lunch and socializing.

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. Bike mechanics will be on hand before the rides to check riders’ bikes, and MassBike’s certified bicycling safety instructors will give quick tips on safe riding for children and their parents.

Pricing for the event is $15 for MassBike members in advance and $20 for non-members in advance (advance sales through Wednesday, August 11). Day-of-event registration is $25 for all. There is no charge for children under 16 accompanied by an adult.

Although not required, riders are encouraged to raise additional funds for MassBike’s advocacy and outreach programs through a special VIP registration or by gathering donations using MassBike’s online fundraising system. “As a non-profit organization, MassBike is completely supported by members and voluntary contributions,” said John Siemiatkoski, MassBike President. “MassBike receives no government funding to do the important work we do. Every day, our professional staff in Boston is watching out for the interests of bicyclists throughout the Commonwealth. We need the support of all bike-minded people to help continue our important work.”

Dangel encourages all bicyclists to participate: “We’re looking forward to seeing fellow bicyclists on August 14 and hope everyone comes out to enjoy a nice summer bike ride, have fun, and support MassBike.”

Click here to register

For more information, contact MassBike at 617-542-2453 or events@massbike.org.

MassBike Gets You Sweet Deals: 20% Off Bike Bags From Mission Workshop!


MassBike has negotiated a special deal for our members and supporters: If you are in the market for a new bag, you can now get 20% off Mission Workshop products!


Mission Workshop is a San Francisco-based company with 15 years experience designing and manufacturing American Made packs and bags.


Mission Workshop recently introduced a expandable cargo backpack in two sizes and roll-top messenger bags in three sizes.


If you enjoy this sort of perk you might want to think about joining MassBike, as you get even MORE great benefits, and support all of our advocacy work.


Use the code MASSBIKE to get 20% off.


Traffic Advisory: Southwest Corridor Path Under Construction

DCR REPAIRING BIKE PATH ALONG SOUTHWEST CORRIDOR PARK

WHAT: The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will be resurfacing portions of the bike path along the Southwest Corridor Park between Forest Hills and the Massachusetts Avenue T station. The work will correct surface defects such as exposed tree roots, providing a smoother ride for bicycle commuters and recreational users. Cyclists will be detoured around the work areas.

WHEN: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
June 28, June 29, June 30
7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Bike path Southwest Corridor Park Various locations between Forest Hills and the Massachusetts Avenue T station

Bicyclists, Opposition Speak Out At Mass Ave Meeting

Here's what happened at the public meeting earlier this week. The Town and engineering consultants made a presentation about the goals of the project, the original and current designs, and the process and timeline. Then they opened the floor for public comment.

The most troubling changes to the design from the original concept is that lane widths have crept back up to 12-13 feet, the flush islands have been removed, and some sidewalks are not being widened as much (and in one case narrowed). The design still includes 5-foot bike lanes on both sides for the length of the project except the very end approaching Alewife Brook Parkway. The Alewife Brook intersection itself remains outside the scope of the project. So, at present it is pedestrian space that is being chipped away. As problematic as that is, I am concerned that if the "chipping" continues bicyclists will be the next group to sacrifice space to cars.

I'll be blunt: the comments were divided between those who fear change, and those who embrace change. And there were many people there on both sides.

Project opponents focused on concern about traffic backups on Mass Ave and cut-through traffic on side streets. These concerns are certainly legitimate, but the Town has addressed them already. The engineering consultants responded to the traffic questions with an analysis that showed the redesigned road would have enough capacity for projected traffic volumes out to 2028. Because capacity is high enough on Mass Ave, there should be no incentive for people to cut through on side streets. The general response from opponents: "I don't care what the analysis says - common sense says removing lanes will make traffic worse."

One particularly angry man reported that he had hired his own engineering consultants and lawyers to fight the project. Then his lawyer presented a legal argument questioning the authority of the Board of Selectmen to "narrow" a state highway. The Town's response: "MassDOT says this isn't a problem." Even if you accept this far-fetched argument based on an archaic statute, one response is the the Town is not narrowing the road, merely reallocating the space among various legally-recognized modes of travel. This argument overlooks that the road consists of the entire right-of-way from the buildings on one side of the street to the buildings on the other side of the street. The space is currently allocated among sidewalks, parking lanes, and travel lanes. The project is merely reallocating the same space, not reducing it at all.

Many project opponents laughed at a somewhat fanciful rendering of happy people and families strolling along a tree-lined sidewalk lined with busy shops and restaurants, but others said "what are you laughing at - that's what we want!" The implication was that the opponents think East Arlington's business district is just fine as it is and needs no improvements other than simply repaving the road.

One man actually stood up and said he moved to Arlington because it was more "car-friendly" and he didn't want all the bicyclists slowing him down like they do in Boston and Cambridge.

Project supporters (including me) emphasized the need to make Mass Ave safe and welcoming for all modes of travel, and reminded everyone that state law and state and federal policy all require bicyclists and pedestrians to be accommodated. Some expressed a preference for fully separated lanes (like cycletracks), but the consensus among bicyclists was that bikes lanes of some sort were needed. Various speakers refuted opponents' claims that bicyclists shouldn't be riding on Mass Ave when the Minuteman Bikeway is nearby; that bicyclists riding now on Mass Ave was proof that bike lanes were not needed; and that education of bicyclists and motorists could address the safety problems without infrastructure changes. Several parents talked about fearing for the safety of their children when crossing Mass Ave or biking together.

The meeting simply concluded when the comments were done. The next steps will be re-submission of the 25% design to MassDOT, then a public hearing on the design after it is approved by MassDOT. At that point it will be very difficult to make any significant changes to the project, so it is critically important to get any remaining comments in now. Click here for official project information and contacts.


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