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- How to spread the word about what's happening around bicycling in your community
MassBike Meet-Ups happen every fourth Monday of the month, these virtual chats fill you in on our work, give you a chance to ask questions, and let us know what you’ve been working on in your community. If you have suggestions for future Meet-Up topics, send them to [email protected]
September’s Bay State Bike Month is approaching and to help you get in gear for the month-long celebration of bicycling across Massachusetts we’ve been working to make sure you have everything you need to plan your best bike month yet. In June, our virtual Monthly Meet-Up covered all things Bay State Bike Month and you can now view the recording on the MassBike YouTube channel. The Bay State Bike Month website now includes an updated Resources page, Events Calendar, & 2021 MassCommute Bicycle Challenge information.
The resources page now hosts our new one-pagers and comprehensive “how-to” guides that outline the basics of planning four popular bike-friendly events. You can check out the guides below to help kick-start & guide your event planning.
Comprehensive “How-To” Guides
Once you’ve planned your event, we want to help you spread the word! Our Bay State Bike Month Events Calendar is now accepting submissions for all your bike-friendly events happening this September. If you have any questions on how to submit your events or want to add photos to your listing, reach out to [email protected].
Along with all the events hosted by local advocates, Bay State Bike Month will include the 27th annual MassCommute Bicycle Challenge (MCBC) is happening September 19th-26th. You can get a team together with your workplace to compete against other businesses or join the challenge solo. There are two avenues for ride tracking this year, either through your Transportation Management Association’s ride-tracking platform or through MassBike’s Love to Ride Group if you are not part of a Transportation Management Association. Check out our MassCommute Bicycle Challenge page for more detailed information on how to join.
We hope these resources aid your Bay State Bike Month planning. If there are any additional resources you would like to see or if you have any questions, please reach out to us at [email protected]. We can’t wait to roll with you this September.
A Guest Post by: Petru Sofio
Four years after the implementation of the Arlington Safe Travel Project, which connected the minuteman bikeway through Arlington Center, the bike path has 70,000 to 90,000 users using the intersection every month. The Safe Travel Project used bicycle lanes, a two-stage turn box, and bicycle protective phasing to connect the two end segments of the minuteman path. To see how this was working, the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee (ABAC) recently completed bike counts at the intersection, specifically focused on the utilization of the bike box. The data collected is crucial as it shows that there is a problem with the current design– it doesn’t meet the needs of the number of cyclists who pass through daily. Personally, in the past, I’ve almost been right hooked here multiple times and even honked at by motorists because the bike box was overflowing and I was blocking traffic because of it. Because of that experience, I jumped at the chance to join ABAC's bike count and do something to improve the intersection.Read more
Throughout history, bikes have brought a sense of independence to riders of all kinds. Bikes enable freedom of movement, the ability to find new adventures, and help us find some #bikejoy along the way. This July, we want to hear about how you’ve found independence through bicycling.
How to Participate:
- Take a bike ride & snap a photo during your ride
- Share your story of how your bicycle brings you independence with us! Either tag @MassBike in your biking independence story on social media or email your story & photo to [email protected]
Everyone who participates in our Biking Independence challenge will be entered to win a bike repair kit prize pack. Thanks to our friends at Sadie's Bikes in Turner's Falls, Valley Bike & Ski Werks in Hadley, and Yesteryear Cyclery in New Bedford.
Make sure you're following MassBike on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter so you can tag us in your biking independence photo. You only need to tag us on one platform to be entered into the challenge & we will comment/respond to your post to verify your entry. If your account is private, we won't be able to see your post. Those who email their photo & biking independence story to [email protected] will be given the option to be featured on the Bay State Bike Month Website.
In June, we challenged you to bike to a park and share your adventure with us. Cyclists across the state took advantage of our challenge to enjoy the great outdoors by bike. We got submissions from local parks to stories of grand bikepacking adventures and everything in between. Everyone who participated in our Bike to Parks challenge was entered to win an Eno Hammock and straps thanks to their local REI Co-op.
The MassBike team was inspired by all the entries we received and added some parks to our "to visit" list. Galen, MassBike's Executive Director, ended June with his own Bike to Parks adventure with MassDOT Secretary Tesler and Steve from the SE Mass NEMBA at Wompatuck State Park in Hingham. After some mountain biking, they checked out the multimodal improvements that connect the park to transit. Wompatuck State Park is easily accessible from the Cohasset Commuter Rail Station thanks to the Whitney Spur Rail Trail. Mass DCR installed some nifty wayfinding signage to make it even easier for riders to navigate between the park and the commuter rail station.
Below, you'll find some of the great submissions we received throughout June– maybe they'll inspire your next bike to parks adventure since we hope our challenge inspired you to keep rolling to parks & enjoying the best nature has to offer. If you didn't get a chance to take part in our Bike to Parks Challenge, we hope you join our July Bike Challenge & share your biking independence stories with us for a chance to win a bike repair kit from our friends at Sadie's Bikes.Read more
MassTrails, Governor Baker's team working on our statewide trail network, recently released their Shared Use Path Benefits Primer and Shared Use Paths Impact Study. These resources summarize a study MassTrails did on the impacts of four shared use pathways across the Commonwealth. The study sought to understand how shared use pathways comprehensively affect our communities by looking at their economic, health, transportation, environmental, safety, accessibility, and equity impacts.
The key findings show that shared use paths come with robust benefits for communities across the commonwealth. They found in terms of transportation that, “During the study period, the shared use paths encouraged over 90,000 active commute trips and reduced motor vehicle travel by over 700,000 miles.” The study only looked at the pathways during a four-month period in 2019– imagine how many active commute trips could be encouraged through a statewide network of shared use pathways. Advocates across Massachusetts have been discussing the benefits of these paths for a long time and now there is local data to back up our claims.
The Shared Use Path Benefits Primer will be an excellent tool for advocates working to build shared use pathways in their communities. It takes the key study findings and makes them accessible for community members to understand the immense benefits of these pathways. Those who wish to understand the detailed methodology and findings from the study can take a look at the comprehensive report.
MassTrails has created a very valuable tool for advocates across the commonwealth and we’re grateful for the hard work that went into this comprehensive look at shared use pathway benefits in Massachusetts. Now we can cite local data to support our trails as we seek to connect our statewide network.
You can access the Shared Use Path Benefits Primer and Shared Use Paths Impact Study at www.mass.gov/guides/benefits-of-shared-use-paths
Mark your calendar- this month’s MassBike Meet-Up is happening Monday, June 28th at noon and we’re going to be chatting all things Bay State Bike Month. We’ll be helping you set the groundwork to host well-attended bicycle-friendly events in your community. Attendees will get a sneak peek at our digital resource guides and help shape this year’s Bay State Bike Month celebrations.
Tune in to this virtual chat to learn about:
- Bay State Bike Month
- Tips on hosting engaging Bike Month events
- How to add events to the Bay State Bike Month Website
Attendees are highly encouraged to share some of their favorite ways to celebrate Bay State Bike Month and lessons they’ve learned about hosting bicycle-friendly events. Learn more about Bay State Bike Month at www.baystatebikemonth.org.
MassBike Meet-Ups happen every fourth Monday of the month, these virtual chats fill you in on our work, give you a chance to ask questions, and let us know what you’ve been working on in your community.
Date: Thursday June 17th, 2021, 10 AM
Location: Riverside Park at the Pony Truss Bridge
Followed by a tour of the Pony Truss Trail and planned Greenway improvements.
The Riverside Greenway Working Group is hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Pony Truss Bridge & Trail in Newton on Thursday, June 17th, 2021 at 10 am. The ceremony will be followed by a tour of the Pony Truss Trail and planned Greenway improvements. Please join DCR Commissioner James Montgomery, EEA Assistant Secretary Kurt Gaetner, State Representative Kay Khan, Newton Mayor Ruth Fuller, and the Riverside Greenway Working Group to celebrate the restoration of this historic trail which was completed in March 2021. The Pony Truss Trail restoration was made possible thanks to grants from the Mass DCR Recreational Trails Program and the Solomon Foundation.
According to the Riverside Greenway Working Group, "Since the 1850s the Pony Truss Bridge and Pony Truss Trail brought folks to the banks of the Charles River Lakes District to walk, boat, and enjoy the beauty of the Charles River. The restoration of the bridge in 2013, the trail in 2021, together with planned trail connections over the next few years, will restore the legacy of “The Riverside Recreation Grounds” as part of the Riverside Greenway."
Bay State Bike Month is happening this September and we need your help to come up with our theme! Last year our theme was “Ride your way, every day!” and bicyclists across the commonwealth showed off all the different ways they ride. This year we will be able to ride together again and we need the perfect theme to encapsulate the excitement Bay State Bike Month and the MassCommute Bicycle Challenge brings to bicyclists across the state every year.
The theme winner will get some MassBike swag and their tagline will be used on all of the 2021 Bay State Bike Month materials- including the coveted Bike Month t-shirt!
To help get you started, here are some words of inspiration for the theme:
We are looking for something short and sweet, but let your creativity roam free! Bike puns are always appreciated, but not necessary.
Submit your theme ideas to [email protected] by June 20th and help us make Bike Month 2021 the best one yet!
Earlier this year, a MassBike member alerted us to an issue of MBTA bus routes being operated by private carriers that weren’t equipped with bike racks, meaning if you were looking to bring your bike on certain routes you were out of luck. Since our organization advocates for multi-modal connections that help bicyclists combine their trips with public transit, we worked to alert the MBTA of our member concerns and checked to see how possible it would be for the private carriers to install racks on all their buses (note: there are a few exceptions to bringing a bike on restricted routes that include tunnels or electric catenary wires).
Over the years MassBike has worked with the MBTA on several projects, most recently partnering with LivableStreets Alliance and the MBTA to redesign new bus operator training with an all-day curriculum for safe driving around people on bikes. So, we know the agency is aware of the challenges bicyclists face in making multi-modal connections and have shown a willingness to help make their services more accessible to bicyclists. It was through these relationships that we were able to inquire the reasons why the buses operated by private carriers on MBTA routes were missing racks, and how we could help get them installed as soon as possible.
We found that the MBTA was already having internal discussions about adding a requirement for bike racks to the service specification when they start the next round of contracts, expected for FY24. They had added bike racks to the Winthrop 712/713 contracted bus routes with the start of the current contract but hadn’t included it for the smaller shuttle-style buses used for the 710, 714, and 716 routes. At our prompting, the MBTA agreed to approach their current contractors to see what ability they had to add racks under the remaining contract.
In late March, we got a photo from the MBTA's Senior Director of Service Planning (a daily bicyclist herself) with the news that bike racks had been installed on the mini-buses utilized for Route 716 in Canton, and about a month later we received photos of the newly installed bus bike racks to be used on Route 714 in Hull! They were just as excited as we were about getting bike racks on these routes and they also look forward to seeing bike racks on more private carrier routes. Next up, they're working on other options for over-the-road coaches that substitute for rail services.
We are grateful for the partnership we're able to build with the MBTA, to help our multi-modal riders throughout the commonwealth. For a truly connected transportation network, bike+bus connections are crucial, and the addition of racks on these two routes mid-contract is a testament to the MBTA’s support of bicyclists' transportation needs and a willingness to quickly respond to their riders' concerns.
Have you tried out the bike racks on buses? Let us know how they work for you. And for more information on how the MBTA system supports bicyclists, you can check out their page here: https://www.mbta.com/bikes