UPDATE 2/19: Great news – MassBike is very pleased to announce that DCR has agreed to convene a meeting. Yesterday, Commissioner Jack Murray and I had a productive conversation about the need to address both snow removal and bicycle transportation policy. This is a very welcome step toward better aligning the needs of people who ride bikes for transportation with DCR policy. Further details about the meeting will be announced shortly.
Over the weekend, a series of emails was made public depicting an exchange between various DCR personnel and a bicycle commuter regarding bicycling conditions on the Southwest Corridor. The emails contain a number of controversial statements that have caused major concern among the bicycling community and need to be addressed.
MassBike takes the issue of snow removal on off-road pathways – and all bicycle facilities – very seriously because many people who ride bikes rely on them for their daily transportation 365 days a year. In many cases, pathways like the Southwest Corridor or the Charles River bike paths are the only safe route for people who ride bikes where parallel roadways are unsafe or uncomfortable for bicycling. Furthermore, all state agencies should be unequivocally committed to well-established state laws and policies, such as the Healthy Transportation Compact, that support increased bicycle use for everyday transportation.
This is why I have written DCR Commissioner Jack Murray to request a meeting to address the issues raised in these emails and ensuing public discussion. I appreciate the challenges that DCR and other agencies have faced this winter, and can understand the frustrations expressed by both DCR and bicyclists, but we have the opportunity to shift this discussion to a real dialogue.
I have recommended a wide range of groups encompassing the bicycle, pedestrian, and parks advocacy communities be at the table. The goal of the meeting should be recommendations to better align the needs of people who ride bikes with DCR policy, and set expectations appropriately for both DCR personnel and the bicycling community.
My hope is for a frank and open discussion covering the snow clearance expectations and needs of cyclists and other user groups, and DCR’s policies and practices regarding snow clearance and bicycle transportation.