December 17, 2008 |
Boston’s cycling czarina (in reality Bicycle Coordinator) Nicole Freedman is in the vanguard of city cycling change. She inherited paper and little else a little over a year ago, but has a lot to show for work since.
She talked to us about the low-hanging fruit, as well as the harder tasks of turning around Boston’s reputation as a terrible town for biking. Freedman used the master bike plan she found and as she put it plagiarized and stole from local and distant cities for the best ideas and methods.
Across the Charles River, Cambridge has a long lead and a bike-friendly reputation. Freedman’s counterpart there, Cara Seiderman, was on with us in July. Catch her podcast here.
Freedman found that many things to advance Boston are relatively easy. Perhaps first, she has strong support from Mayor Tom Menino, who has gone from cycle antagonist to bike hero in the past few years. Other projects partially completed and in the works include:
- Adding bike lanes to major streets as they come up for re-striping or repaving.
- Identifying where present and prospective cyclists would need to park their bikes for commuting, shopping or visiting — and then putting enough, sturdy racks or cages there.
- Educating citizens, police and companies on accommodating biking on the roads, in buildings and with other forms of transportation.
- Holding and coordinating citywide and region-wide bike events and days.
- Working with mass-transit agencies to ensure on-bus bike racks, access to subways, and other accommodation.
We have a mayor who bikes and a city that’s learning how to do the same. More bikes and fewer cars are in the works. Freedman talks about what it will take and how long.