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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Moving Boston to two wheels

My blogging was interrupted for a while, as my beloved Boston Red Sox rolled to their second World Series championship in four years, consuming all my leisure time. So upon returning to bicycle blogging activity, it makes sense to look at what residents of Beantown have been up to in terms of bicycling, now that Fenway Park occupies less of their attention.

At the end of October, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino--a newly enthusiastic bicyclist--convened a four-day summit of bicycling experts, titled "Role of Bicycling in World Class Cities." The event at Boston City Hall attracted more than 100 participants, and is intended to launch Boston's efforts to improve bicycling conditions. The summit also attracted significant media coverage.

From the Jamaica Plain Gazette:

According to Nick Jackson, who works for a Chicago-based bicycle and pedestrian advocacy firm, and was hired by LAB as a consultant for the conference, Boston has nowhere to go but up. "(Boston) has the distinction of consistently ranking as one of the worst big cities for bicycling in the country," he said.
From the Boston Globe:
To coordinate its efforts, (Boston) also brought in Jeffrey Rosenblum, cofounder and executive director of the nonprofit Livable Streets Alliance, to serve as a consultant for the program. "I'm an advocate, so I'm not going to say that I totally trust everything that the city is going to do," he said. "But I feel that the level of collaboration and cooperation the city has shown since August has just been a completely refreshing breath of fresh air."
From Boston Now:
Cities of Boston's size are good for cycling, said Andy Clarke, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based League of American Bicyclists. "We're saying not to put on spandex and ride 50 miles, but just to ride two or three miles around their neighborhoods," he said.
From the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News:
"Boston is an iconic American city with a very particular reputation for traffic issues—so to turn around a city like Boston is going to be a real challenge and a really strong message to others that it can be done,” Clarke said.
Best wishes to Boston in its efforts to enhance bicycling. As I've said on this blog before, transforming the bicycling conditions in a community depends on grass roots activism by bicyclists. But having a supportive chief executive certainly helps.

Image: Boston Mayor Thomas Menino at Boston Bikes Summit Press Conference
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

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