- Bike4Life Ride
Issue #62 / April 2012
In this issue
Calendar: Click here to view full listing of upcoming events and public meetings
Spring member meet and greet
Thursday, April 26, 6:00-8:00pm
@ LivableStreets office 100 Sidney Street Cambridge
Spring fever? We have the cure.
LivableStreets is celebrating spring by hosting a party for
you. Come hang out and meet other members, and enjoy a beverage and snacks out on the patio. Hear about our new exciting work, learn about new opportunities to get involved, and celebrate recent accomplishments.
Special guest: Boston Bikes Director Nicole Freedman. We will be saying thanks to Nicole for all that she has accomplished to make biking better in Boston, and wishing her a farewell as she is stepping down as Boston Bikes Director (more details below).
Free for members.
Join/renew at the door for only $35.
Additional $10 for spouse.
Be one of the first to sign up for new household membership.
Kids are always welcome.
Part 7, on why LivableStreets is working to create safe streets for all.
We want to hear from you this time! Why do you subscribe to LivableStreets StreetLife? Why are safe streets important to you?
MassDOT Board votes 4-1 for 23% fare increase same day that Governor Patrick files Transportation bill to close remaining budget gap
After 31 public meetings, 6,000 meeting attendees and 5,850 emails and 400 letters sent, the MassDOT board has voted 4-1 on "Proposal 3" to increase fares 23% and institute minor service cuts. Public vigils were held, protests were in full effect, and the announcements were on the cover of every news outlet.
On the same day, Governor Patrick filed "An Act Relative to Certain Reforms and Corrective Changes Relative to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation," HB 4011. This bill seeks to close the MBTA's $61M budget gap for 2012, in large part by transferring $51M from the state motor vehicle trust to the MBTA.nbsp;While this bill is good for this year because it eliminates a large fare increase and service cuts for 2012, it does not address the long term transit funding need for Massachusetts. The Joint Transportation Committee is expected to vote on the bill in the next couple of weeks.
LivableStreets Ambassadors have collected hundreds of postcards from people like you asking Governor Patrick for long term transit funding at the public meetings, at T stops, and even at their own parties. While the fate of the 23% fare increases in service cuts for 2012 lies largely on the Joint Transportation Committee's decision on this bill, the fate of the vitality of our transportation system as a whole [including transit, biking, walking, and driving] depends largely on a prioritization of a long-term, diverse funding plan from our elected and appointed officials. Your postcards and support influence the decision. Support LivableStreets transit advocacy work today by becoming a member now. For more information, and to get involved with LivableStreets transit advocacy work, contact Kara@LivableStreets.info.
Boston Bikes Director stepping down
With Nicole Freedman announcing her departure from leading the Boston bicycling revolution, we take this opportunity to take a look back and provide you with some LivableStreets history... and look forward and ask, what's next?
2004: The Boston Phoenix wrote, "Three years ago Boston had a new bike coordinator, an advisory committee, an interagency task force, and a comprehensive plan for making this a cycle-friendly city. That's all gone. So who's planning Boston's bicycling future?" Boston is named (again) in Bicycling Magazine's list of the worst US cities for bicyclists." LivableStreets is launched.
2005: Steve Gag and Steve Miller, LivableStreets board member, start Hub On Wheels, the first mayor-sponsored citywide bike ride to raise awareness of bicycling.
2006: Bicycling Magazine wrote, "This is the third time Boston has made our "worst" list since 1999, and it does so for the same reasons as before: lousy roads, scarce and unconnected bike lanes and bike-friendly gestures from City Hall that go nowhere - such as hiring a bike coordinator in 2001, only to cut the position two years later. We know Boston has the potential to be a two-wheeled haven. And recent events give us hope: the newly formed LivableStreets Alliance, an advocacy group patterned after successful organizations in Chicago and New York"
2007: LivableStreets works with the City of Boston, and Mayor Menino launches the Boston Bikes Program and hires Nicole Freedman. League of American Bicyclists and LivableStreets work with the city to host a Boston Bike Summit bringing together national and international experts with local planners to share best practices.
2008: At the last minute, bike lanes are added to the Commonwealth Avenue reconstruction project running through Boston University Campus. Designed with the help of LivableStreets, these are the first significant bicycle lanes in the city (at the time, Boston only had 0.25 miles of bike lanes).
2009: Mayor Menino first uses the phrase, "car is no longer king," and launches the Complete Streets Initiative, a collaboration to develop new street design guidelines and improve approach to project implementation. LivableStreets hosts 1st annual Boston Bikes Update event with Nicole Freedman at the Boston Public Library. The event was started to have a public forum on bicycling in Boston.
Fast forward to today: 50 miles of bike lanes implemented, bike network planning in the works, Hubway bike share launched, dozens of community events and programs, and so much more!
Thank you Nicole. You have done an incredible job building the Boston Bikes program and creating change. We wish you all the best.
Now what? There's still more work to be done, and LivableStreets wants to see more infrastructure and changes in our street designs to make biking safer and more attractive to more people. Become a member to make more change happen in the coming years. We are your advocate for better biking, walking, and public transit.
Also, at the LivableStreets Spring Member Meet and Greet April 26, we will be thanking Nicole for all that she has done. Come on by for the spring celebration, and hang out with other LivableStreets members.
Create a series of walkable/bikeable corridors connecting Boston neighborhoods to each other and to surrounding communities.
Nearly 40 people braved an early March ice storm to attend a preliminary meeting about creating a regional GreenRoutes Coalition hosted by LivableStreets Alliance, MAPC (Metropolitan Area Planning Council), and Northeastern University.
Regional "GreenRoutes" would connect, and build upon, the current network of existing and planned hiking trails, multi-use paths, and bike networks. Today many of the pieces of a network are isolated with little connection to a larger system of non-motorized facilities suitable for both recreational and transportation use.
The GreenRoutes Coalition is working to create a way for local advocates to support each other, putting particular emphasis on closing the gaps separating current segments. Fortunately, dozens of local projects are already in development - from efforts to link together the pieces of Boston's park system, to regional efforts like MassDOT's state-wide bikeway system, to the 200-milelong Bay Circuit Trail, and many more.
The March Coalition planning meeting set up working groups to make GIS maps of current walking and cycling facilities, to develop standards for wayfinding and branding signage, to look for funds to staff the Coalition effort, and to plan future meetings.
If you are interested in the Coalition or in joining one of the working groups, please contact Steve Miller at Steve@LivableStreets.info
Circle the City: Boston's Open Streets Initiative
Free activities for all ages that promote healthy, active urban living
Circle the City is an initiative to get everyone out of their homes and cars and onto safe, car-free streets to walk, bike, roll, play and celebrate some of our greatest urban resources and our parks. Using Boston's wonderful park system as its anchor, Circle The City includes street closings and lots of activities from dance sessions to bicycle lessons, from health screenings to Zoo adventures.
Circle the City is a collaborative project of the LivableStreets Alliance, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, the Boston Consortium for Food and Fitness, Boston Parks Advocates, Friends of Franklin Park, and the City of Boston.
For more information, click here >>>
LivableStreets at the National Bike Summit
In March, LivableStreets Jackie Douglas and Kara Oberg attended the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C to lobby for the continuation of federal biking and walking funding, as well as learn advocacy and street design best practices from the more than 800 advocates, city and state officials, engineers, and consultants who attended. Advocacy committee member, Kevin Wolfson, also made it down to the Summit by bicycling more than 500 miles from Boston to DC with Tim Johnson's Ride on Washington to raise awareness about bicycling.
Inner Belt Symposium April 19 and 25
What would Cambridge be like today with an 8-lane highway running through it? Or without the MBTA Red Line extension from Harvard to Alewife?
The Inner Belt Symposium, hosted by the Cambridge Historical Society, and co-sponsored by LivableStreets Alliance, MIT and Lincoln Land Institute, brings you the people who were on the ground during the highway moratorium from the 1950s to the 1970s. This multi decade struggle over the transportation landscape made national news and was probably the largest political fight in Cambridge in the 20th century. The fight is also responsible, in large part, for the livable quality of Cambridge, which is now renowned as a walk-able city with a comfortable scale. Come hear stories from the community organizers who stopped the highway tearing through their community, as well as from the reporters who wrote how the story unfolded and how history was made.
> Listen to the announcement when Boston highways were stopped, and transit built, in 1970 here >>> Hear interviews of LivableStreets Board Members Ken Kruckemeyer and Steven Miller
The Community Organizers
with Karolyn Crockett, Ansti Benfield, Barbara Norfleet, Ann Hershfang, Gordon Fellma
Thursday, April 19 6:00pm-8:00pm @ Cambridge Public Library 449 Broadway
The Legacy of the Inner Belt
with Richard Garver, Anthony Flint, John Wofford, and Susanne Rasmussen
Wednesday, April 25 6:00pm-8:00pm @ Lincoln Institute 113 Brattle St Cambridge
> To reserve a spot, please email us at email@example.com
> For more information, click here >>>
Alternatives for Community & Environment is seeking a full-time Program Director for its T Riders Union (TRU) program. The position is open until filled, with a start date of June 1, 2012. Check out the job description here >>> and share widely.
LivableStreets is seeking spring/summer Street Ambassadors
Do you find yourself talking about biking/walking/public transit? Do you like going to festivals, neighborhood events, public meetings, or being outside? Want to be part of LivableStreets advocacy campaigns and growing organization? Become a Street Ambassador! Volunteer for a day, or two, or more, this year. Tremendous growth opportunities. For more information and to sign up, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Street Ambassador' in the subject line.
The Public Way: Transportation, health, and livable communities
Recent postings on Steve Miller's Blog
"...The outcome of any major project or policy depends on the alignment of forces at its inception and during its implementation...Public engagement, supported by advocacy insights, can make a difference....The issue is how to maximize a project's positive contribution to the livability and viability of our communities, the quality of our air and water, the sustainability of our resource use patterns, and the equitable distribution of the project's costs and benefits...." Read full post here: The agony and the activism: Looking back at the Big Dig.
Other recent posts:
> Modeling Positive City-Constituency Relations: How Boston's Transportation Department is Working with the Bicycling Community-and Creating Better Roads
> Boston Bicycle: Five Changes to Move from Better to World Class
> Levering Public Spending for Maximum Impact: Do Multiple Goals Make Projects Better - or Unmanageable?