More Local Transportation Dollars = An Opportunity For Advocates

GreenPatch-AsphaltStarting this year, there is going to be a lot more asphalt poured, roads re-striped, and bridges rehabilitated here in the Commonwealth. A significant chunk of the new transportation funding passed by the state legislature goes toward increasing “Chapter 90″ funding by 50%, or funding that goes directly to municipalities with very few strings attached as to how they spend it.

Unfortunately for us as a statewide group, all 351 municipalities in the state make individual decisions about these projects (simply too many for MassBike to keep track of). That means unless the local Department of Public Works chooses to add them, roads which are resurfaced may not include bicycle facilities. However, the perfect time to add bicycle facilities is when a road is already being repaved, since the cost of adding a bike lane is typically marginal.

To make sure that these road projects are bike friendly, we need your help!

There are a few simple steps that you can take to make sure that upcoming road projects are bike friendly:

  1. Find out if there is already a bicycle advocacy group for your city or region. If there is, touch base with them! They might have something in the works already. Not sure if you do? You can find a list of local bicycle committees here, or you can email bikeinfo@massbike.org.
  2. If there is no group, or if you are taking the lead on this for your local group, contact your community’s Department of Public Works or Planning Department. They should have a schedule of Chapter 90 projects.
  3. Start building a relationship with your city or town’s planner or engineer. Most Chapter 90 projects are just to repave roads and re-stripe the way they were. But they don’t have to be! Ask him or her what opportunities there are for safer streets for bicyclists.
  4. Let us know if you need any help! While we can’t take the lead on these projects, we are happy to support you in your efforts.
  5. Have you checked out our guide, Shifting Gears: A Guide to Better Biking for your Community? It has a lot of good information which can help you along the way.

If you want to learn more about the process of advocating for better bicycle facilities, then you might consider bringing MassBike to your community through our Bikeable Communities Program. We can provide trainings, bikeability assessments, and other planning assistance. We don’t want this opportunity to go to waste, so let’s get rolling!

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