We were shocked to learn that the bike lanes installed on Main Street in Charlestown just weeks ago were removed last week. Especially when the City of Boston has been doing so much to encourage bicycling and improve bicyclist safety. Apparently, there was some sort of public process snafu. We’ll give the City of Boston the benefit of the doubt that the problem was serious enough to warrant removing the bike lanes immediately rather than resolving the problem another way, but this is a very troubling development. We need government to stand firm on the need for bicycling infrastructure and neighborhoods that encourage biking and walking – even in the face of opposition to change. In this particular case, this is a community’s Main Street (literally), and cyclists want to travel that street and patronize the local businesses safely, just like everyone else. (See our comments to the Charlestown Patch.)
Public participation is critical to the success of all infrastructure projects, not just bike lanes. Neighborhood residents should be fully informed and have the opportunity to comment on infrastructure projects. But just as there should have been public participation in the decision to install bike lanes, once the bike lanes were in, there should also have been a public process to discuss removing them. Because the City went to the trouble and expense of removing the bike lanes, getting them back on Main Street seems unlikely, but local cyclists need to speak up in support of bicycling improvements in Charlestown, particularly cyclists who actually live or work there.
MassBike is reaching out to our members and contacts in Charlestown to urge them to get involved. We’ve also offered our assistance to the City of Boston to help them resolve this situation.
Here are the people you can contact:
Nicole Freedman, the City of Boston’s Director of Bike Programs.
Mike Ross, Boston City Council President.
Salvatore LaMattina, Boston City Councilor for District 1 (includes Charlestown).
Tom Cunha, Chairman of the Charlestown Neighborhood Council.
Your Precinct Representative to the Charlestown Neighborhood Council. Find your Precinct Representative here