On this week’s Council agenda, I’ve co-sponsored a Policy Order to revive a previous working group that gave input on the Cambridge Street bike lanes before they were installed.
Pilot programs like the Cambridge Street lanes are a great way to involve the community in our City’s plan for “complete streets”. During the community process before installing these lanes, a stakeholder group was convened which gave input on the design, and residents were assured that because this was a pilot, there would be opportunities for feedback and re-evaluation after the community had a chance to use the bike lanes.
I’ve gotten daily emails from neighbors, business owners and their patrons, and pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists alike. Some love the bike lanes and others are having trouble parking or accessing local businesses, but one thing we can all agree on is that residents are eager to give additional feedback about these lanes, especially since they’ve been in use almost eight months. As a Mid-Cambridge resident, mom of a young cyclist, and advocate for our most vulnerable (including our elderly who rely on cars and local pharmacies), I believe I am well-positioned to take a leadership role in this conversation.
We all want safe streets for all, and we shouldn’t be promoting rhetoric that pits cyclists and drivers against each other in an “us vs. them” situation. My goal with this policy order is to bring everyone back to the table, let all interested stakeholders give feedback now that the bike lanes have been in use, and approach the City with real solutions. Cambridge Street has the potential to serve as a model for expanding our network of protected bike lanes, so smart design achieved through a robust community process will be important now, and going forward.