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Spinning its wheels no more on bicycle-friendly policies

The bicycle racks may just be the beginning.

About 100 people turned out on Oct. 22 for a forum on the "Role of Bicycling in World Class Cities," one of several sessions that are being held to gauge public opinion on bicycling issues in Boston. Community leaders and city officials also met during the week with transportation specialists to discuss how bicycling relates to such areas as economic development and urban planning.

The four-day summit, which included public events along with technical workshops and planning sessions on key aspects of bike-friendly communities, came together after Mayor Thomas M. Menino in September named a new bicycle coordinator, former Olympic cyclist Nicole Freedman, and pledged to install 250 new bike racks across Boston and create an online map system.

To coordinate its efforts, the city also brought in Jeffrey Rosenblum, cofounder and executive director of the nonprofit LivableStreets Alliance, to serve as a consultant for the program.

Rosenblum, whose organization has pushed for an urban transportation system that balances biking, driving, and walking, said the initiative has had a different approach than past efforts he has seen in Boston. "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."

Based on public feedback, Rosenblum said, Boston officials soon will put together a set of short-term recommendations on areas on which to focus.


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