Springfield High Schoolers Work Toward Safer Streets

[caption id="attachment_20596" align="alignleft" width="300"] Price and students surveying Carew Street.[/caption]

Last Fall, we went to the Renaissance High School in Springfield to work with a small group of high schoolers on how to do a Bikeability Assessment. That initial training has now grown into a larger project, and last week Programs Director Price Armstrong went back to Renaissance High School to teach even more students about principles of bikeability and how the assessment tool works. Their aim: reshape Carew Street as a route from the High School to the Connecticut Riverwalk and Bikeway.

Like the Blue Line Pilot Program, which was led by East Boston youth, this project is an opportunity for Springfield youth to document the barriers to bikeability that exist in their city. Carew Street is a perfect area for such a project, as it is an alternate highway route that carries fast-moving traffic through residential and commercial areas, not to mention right by their school. Many of the students often go to a small commercial area located further north on Carew Street for snacks or to hang out after school, while others have to cross it just to get home. Improving this street will make it safer for everyone - bicyclists, pedestrians, transit users and motorists.

Ultimately, the information they collect will be put together into a report and submitted to the City. It will serve as the foundation for an ongoing effort to improve Springfield's streets, much of it made possible through the support of Mass in Motion. As the project moves forward, MassBike will continue providing input to help the students be as effective as possible in reaching their goal. This is a great example of leveraging local energy to improve biking in communities around the state. We'll keep you posted as this project moves forward.

This work is part of our Bikeable Communities Program. Do you want to see an activity like this in your community? Email Services@MassBike.org if so!

Bay State Bike Week Right Around The Corner

Snow is still on the ground across much of the state, but Bay State Bike Week is right around the corner. This year, it takes place between May 11 and 19, and will be here before you know it.

Bay State Bike Week is an umbrella event organized by MassBike in partnership with MassDOT and MassRIDES, and is composed of hundreds of local events which celebrate and raise awareness about bicycling. Events are organized locally and then added to the online calendar, meaning that we couldn't do it without the local advocates putting together events. Last year, we had a wide variety of activities on the calendar, ranging from bike rodeos on the Cape, to the Rush Hour Race in Somerville, to film screenings in North Adams.

Are you thinking about organizing an event for Bay State Bike Week? It's really easy, and has great benefits:

  • Kicks off the bike season for 2013, encouraging new bicyclists to discover how great it is to go by two wheels.

  • Demonstrates the strength of the Massachusetts bicycling community.

  • Helps spread awareness about bike safety and access issues, not just to other bicyclists but to all users of the road.

  • Highlights your organization or bike-friendly business.

  • Provides a great way to meet other bicyclists.

  • Gives you the opportunity to request free swag to hand out!

Look here to find more information about how to plan an event. Once you have it planned and submitted, you can request materials (t-shirts, etc) here. Quantities are limited, but we'll do our best to fill your order.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email BayStateBikeWeek@MassBike.org.

Registration For Berkshires To Boston Tour Starts March 28th!

Massachusetts has so much to offer - rolling hills, pastoral valleys, historic towns and cities. This year, we are offering an opportunity to see it all - by bike! Registration for the first-ever Berkshires to Boston Bicycle Tour opens March 28th.

The Berkshires to Boston Tour is a four-day, 240-mile bike ride which will showcase the best of Massachusetts cycling and will also help support MassBike's advocacy efforts. Beginning in the scenic Berkshire hills along the New York border, the tour meanders through the Connecticut River Valley and spins though the historic communities of Lexington and Concord before arriving in Boston. Upon arrival in Boston, riders will join more than 5,000 cycling enthusiasts for Hub on Wheels, Boston's annual cycling festival.

Registration starts at $295 for the full tour and $125 for the weekend. Register early and save money! Space is limited to 300 riders.

This is a wonderful opportunity at a great price, so be sure to reserve your spot today!

Call MassBike at (617) 542-2453 or visit the Berkshires to Boston site for more information.

MBTA Improves Security At Pedal & Parks

The MBTA has announced a long-awaited enhancement to its "Pedal & Park" secure bike parking facilities. Ever since the first Pedal & Park was installed at Alewife Station in 2008, MassBike has urged the T to close what we saw as a significant gap in security - there was no way to identify the owner of a Bike CharlieCard used to control entry (and those cards were available to anyone simply by asking).

So we are pleased that, effective May 1, 2013, bicyclists must register either a Charliecard OR their Bike CharlieCard online to access these bike parking facilities. There will be no charge for this and it will further enhance the MBTA′s efforts to provide safe and secure areas for bike parking.

You can register your card anytime, but starting May 1st, unregistered cards will no longer open the Pedal & Parks. You can use any CharlieCard; the T is no longer issuing special Bike CharlieCards - these are now collector's items!

Pedal & Park facilities are now open at Alewife, Forest Hills, South Station, Braintree, Oak Grove and Wonderland.  In 2013, 8 more Pedal & Parks will open at Ashmont, Davis, Malden, Back Bay, Dudley, Wollaston, Alewife and Beverly.

Click here to register your Bike CharlieCard or regular CharlieCard now for uninterrupted access to Pedal & Parks.

MassBike Is Hiring!

We have an incredibly busy year of advocacy and education planned, and we need more help to make it happen! We have two positions available immediately: a half-time Program Associate and a full-time Events and Outreach Manager. Check out the job descriptions below for the details, and please forward this on to others who might be interested.

Events and Outreach Manager

This position will have primary responsibility for the planning and execution of our two major riding events – the Summer Century and the Berkshires to Boston Tour (a new multi-day ride) – and for our day-to-day public outreach and communications activities. In addition to promoting the events, the Events and Outreach Manager will work closely with other staff members to develop content for our blog, email newsletter, and social media. See the full job description here.

Program Associate

This half-time position will primarily be responsible for coordinating the Education Program, including our Safe Routes to School classes and Adult Education Classes. This will include corresponding with customers to arrange classes, working with our instructors around the state to get the classes in their schedules, and providing instruction for many of the classes in the Boston area. Finally, the Program Associate will work closely with the Events and Communications Manager to help with outreach and communications as needed. See the full job description here.

If you are interested in applying to either of these jobs, please send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample no longer than 1000 words to Jobs@MassBike.org (blog posts are preferred for the writing sample, and links are fine). We will accept applications until the position is filled, though prefer applications to be sent in by Friday, March 29.

MassBike Report Shows Assets, Obstacles To Hampshire County Bikeability

Back in November, we worked with local advocates to undertake a Bikeability Assessment in three Hampshire County communities (Amherst, Belchertown and Northampton). This project was done at the request of Healthy Hampshire, in collaboration with the Towns of Amherst and Belchertown and the City of Northampton. The focus was specifically on intersections, and how to make them safer and easier to navigate for bicyclists.

[caption id="attachment_20322" align="aligncenter" width="574"] Local bicyclists in Northampton getting ready to collect data.[/caption]

Thanks to the hard work of the local volunteers, we collected an enormous amount of information about the layout of the intersections and areas that could be improved. The fantastic thing about having local bicyclists undertake these assessments is that we can get information that only a frequent rider on a particular road would know - such as that a certain intersection becomes unmanageable after the adjacent high school lets out, but otherwise appears adequate.
After analyzing the data and going through the pages of notes, we are proud to release the Hampshire County Bikeability Assessment. Click here if you would like to look at the full report. Some of the main points from the report were:

  • Amherst: The intersections in and around the UMass Campus are barriers to bicycling, particularly the intersection of Triangle Street and East Pleasant Street.

  • Belchertown: The intersection of Routes 9 and 202 should be the focus for improvements in the future. Due to the geometry of this intersection a roundabout with grade-separated bicycle facilities should be considered.

  • Northampton: Intersections along King Street (Route 10) all need additional bicycle infrastructure. Route 10 is an arterial road that provides access not only to many commercial destinations, but also the Northampton Bikeway and the Franklin County Greenway. Tightening turn radii and adding colored biycle lanes and/or bike boxes should be done to improve bicyclist safety and comfort.

Overall, communities in Hampshire County are leaders in the state when it comes to bike-friendly infrastructure. They have a considerable off-road network, many traffic calming features, and painted infrastructure like bike lanes, sharrows, and even a bike box. However, the process of retrofitting our streets to encourage bicycling is still in its infancy, even in our most advanced communities. This report should further the conversation on prioritizing areas for improvement.

You can find out more about our Bikeability Assessments (which is a part of our Bikeable Communities Program) by clicking here. If you are interested getting an Assessment for your community, please email Services@MassBike.org.

Register TODAY For The Bike/Walk Summit

Your voice is crucial this year for biking and walking. Governor Patrick has proposed increasing funding for transportation, including a four-fold increase for bicycle and pedestrian funding - and we need your help to make it reality. You can read the details here, but under his plan, we would have $430 million devoted to multi-use paths and other bicycle and pedestrian facilities. This is unprecedented, and we must urge our legislators to support the Governor's transportation plan.

Help us send this message loud and clear by attending the 2013 Massachusetts Bike/Walk Summit on Thursday, April 11 from 10 AM to 1 PM at the State House in Nurses Hall. For the second year in a row, MassBike and WalkBoston are teaming up to host the Summit so that bicyclists and pedestrians speak with one voice on Beacon Hill.

Please register today by clicking here.

In addition to transportation funding, we will also be asking participants to encourage their legislators to support several pieces of bike/ped safety legislation:

  • Vulnerable Road Users Bill (SD.1639) - Would give added protection to bicyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable users of the road.

  • Bike Lane Protection Bill (SD.1640) - Would prohibit motor vehicles from parking in bike lanes.

  • Senior Safety Zones Bill (HD.550) - Would create zones around areas with high senior citizen populations similar to school zones.

  • Active Streets and Healthy Communities Bill (HD.3091/SD.68) - Creates incentives for communities to design streets which encourage biking, walking and other forms of active transportation.

  • Speed Limits Bill (HD.3129) - Would give communities the flexibility to lower the prevailing speed limit on certain roads to 25 mph.

  • An Act to Promote Pedestrian Safety (HD.1570) - Would encourage snow removal from sidewalks.

And if all that isn't enough excitement, after the legislative meetings, we'll have lunch in Nurses Hall with special guest speaker Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong, a Massachusetts healthy communities rockstar! Please attend this important event, and make sure that the safety of bikers and walkers doesn't get overlooked. Together, let's get Beacon Hill Moving!

Recap Of 2013 National Bike Summit

“This is a fight we have to win. We have to do more.”  Said Senator Ben Cardin at last week's 2013 National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C. The focus this year was on how bicycling means business, and this was explored, discussed, and debated in workshop, over meals, and during coffee breaks. There were over 750 attendees from all 50 states, Washington D.C. and three Canadian provinces, and we heard from influential top leaders like New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

[caption id="attachment_20328" align="alignleft" width="301"] Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood[/caption]

Due to a snow storm, most of the congressional meetings were canceled, including all Massachusetts delegation meetings. Nonetheless, we were still able to discuss important bicycling issues, share stories, and network with other advocates from across the country. Because we were not able to meet with our delegation on Capitol Hill, we are working on scheduling meetings with them locally to continue our ongoing relationship, and as well as build new ones with Senators Warren and Cowan and Representative Kennedy.

To watch videos of the keynote and plenary talks, visit the League’s YouTube Channel. If you were not available to attend the Summit, the League has made the presentations from break-out sessions public; click here to view.

The National Women's Bicycling Forum

[caption id="attachment_20330" align="alignright" width="305"] Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth[/caption]The day before the National Bike Summit, the National Women’s Bicycling Forum took place, which had an inspiring number of women bicycle advocates. These included Georgena Terry, the first bicycle fabricator to create women-specific bikes, and Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) who discussed health benefits, equity and transportation at the federal level, as well as her moving story. She lost both of her legs in Iraq and now uses her hand-crank bicycle as means of transportation and recreation (not to mention she has completed several marathons on her bike as well).

Congresswoman Duckworth said, “As you promote cycling as a way to be fit and as a way to become part of your community, think of the disabled. Three steps can permit me from getting into a bike shop. Simple things that cost little prevent many disabled people from participating. Continue to help promote this lifestyle, you are making a difference in this avenue.” Along with her inspiring words, many other speakers at the Women's Forum had words of wisdom.

[caption id="attachment_20325" align="aligncenter" width="413"] MA Attendees & MassBike Staff[/caption]



Tweet Congress To Support Bicyclist Safety

You might have heard that Washington DC offices are closed on account of snow. This isn't great timing for us, since today was supposed to be our day on Capitol Hill for the National Bike Summit. However, the League of American Bicyclists is asking for bicyclists nationwide to tweet their members of Congress to make sure they get our message.

The biggest ask for Congress this year is to support USDOT establishing a safety goal for bicyclists. It might sound unbelievable, but right now there is no goal for reducing bicyclist fatalities. The League wants to a 50% reduction by 2020 - we can do it, but first we need to formally establish the goal.

The League is also pushing the Senate to confirm Sally Jewell as Secretary of the Interior. Jewell is the President and CEO of REI, in addition to being an active conservationist. She was awarded the National Audubon Society's Rachel Carson Award in 2009 for her work. With places like the Minuteman National Park and the Cape Cod Seashore under the Department of the Interior's supervision, having a leader who gets it is important to the Bay State.

Here is what we are asking you to do:

  1. Tweet your Representative and Senators (you can find their Twitter handles below).

  2. For your Representative, write: "[@RepresentativeX] Pls sign the letter to set bike safety goals #nbs13 #MassBike"

  3. For your Senator, write: "[@SenatorX] Pls support the confirmation of Sally Jewell for Sec of Interior #nbs13 #MassBike"

Twitter Handles:

  • District 1, Richard Neal - @RepRichardNeal

  • District 2, Jim McGovern - @RepMcGovern

  • District 3, Niki Tsongas - @Nikiinthehouse

  • District 4, Joseph Kennedy - @RepJoeKennedy

  • District 5, Ed Markey - @Markeymemo

  • District 6, John Tierney- @RepTierney

  • District 7, Mike Capuano - Not on Twitter

  • District 8, Stephen Lynch - @RepStephenLynch

  • District 9, Bill Keating - @USRepKeating

  • Senator Elizabeth Warren - @SenWarren

  • Senator Mo Cowan - @SenMoCowan

Don't use the Twitter? Then do it the old-fashioned way - by email! Email your Representative and Senators asking them to support Sally Jewell for Secretary of the Interior, and that they sign the petition to create bicyclist safety goals (found here). Be sure to CC Action@MassBike.org. Thanks!

Sign Up Today And Save On The Mass BikePike Tour

The Mass BikePike Tour is a scenic bicycle tour celebrating all the best that Massachusetts has to offer!  Taking place from August 1st to 4th, it is “The Friendliest Ride in the East” and is suitable for anyone from novices to experienced cyclists. It’s a GREAT use of limited vacation time - join us after work on Wednesday and we’ll enjoy the next four days of exploring on two wheels. You’ll return home Sunday afternoon with new friends and fun memories.

Each evening features a pre-dinner “social hour”, and optional nightly field trips to local attractions. The Mass BikePike Tour is affordably priced – less than $400 if you sign up before March! – and proceeds go to MassBike.

This year's ride features the rolling hills and picturesque towns of north-central Massachusetts, from the Johnny Appleseed Trail to the Connecticut River Valley.  The ride will also head north into Keene, NH, and (long ride only) Brattleboro, VT.

The Mass BikePike Tour offers two routes each day. The shorter route is between 25 and 45 miles and the longer route is between 45 and 70 miles. For more information please visit www.massbikepike.org.

Donate Join Volunteer
Accept Credit Cards