Tuesday evening at the Boston Public Library, Mayor Menino and Boston Bikes will present to the public its annual Boston Bikes Annual Update, hosted by Livable Streets Alliance. As I reflect on the last four years, I am proud of all we have accomplished: the community we fostered, our success in creating inclusive programs that reach all citizens, and our implementation of cutting-edge infrastructure and practices.
When Mayor Menino launched Boston Bikes in 2007, Boston was perennially rated among the worst cities in the country for cycling. Four years later, I am thrilled to report that Boston has officially gained recognition as one of the great cities for cycling in the United States, heralding a new era for cycling in the city. Each year, we have had more and more to celebrate, but 2011 brought some of our biggest achievements yet:
• Mayor Menino launched the New Balance Hubway bike share system in July with 60 stations and 600 bicycles, making Boston one of only a handful of cities in the United States with full-size bike share systems. In its first year, people took 142,000 trips across Boston on Hubway bikes. The program looks to expand into neighboring cities and into more Boston locations in 2012.
• Boston’s Community Bike Programs continued to serve as a model of biking equity, capping a tremendous two-year run, which included donating more than 1,000 bikes to low-income residents and providing on-the-bike training to nearly 8,000 youth. The program received multiple awards and was featured in Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” newsletter as a best practice.
• Boston celebrated the installation of its 50th mile of new bike lane, notably located on Massachusetts Avenue, the spine of the city’s on-road bike network. Looking forward, Boston seeks to add progressive facilities, namely protected bicycle lanes such as cycletracks and neighborways, to encourage novice riders.
Throughout the year, many of the City’s ongoing efforts drew gratifying national recognition. In 2011, the City of Boston fulfilled a three-year goal, earning the “silver” level designation from the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Community program. The Alliance for Biking and Walking ranked Boston as the #1 Safest Biking and Walking City in the nation, with the highest overall rate of biking and walking. Forbes ranked Boston as the third healthiest city, while MSNBC named Boston a “best walking and biking city.”
While Boston Bikes is committed to helping all Bostonians to use the bicycle as a viable, safe and attractive transportation option, Boston Bikes is about much more than just bicycling: it is about our collective community and working together to shape Boston into a green, healthy and vibrant city in which we can all thrive.
Mayor Menino has committed to dozens of projects to make Boston a vibrant, livable community including the Complete Streets initiative, the city’s first electric vehicle charging stations, Renew Boston energy assessments, community gardening and of course, bicycling. Boston Bikes looks forward not only transforming Boston into a world-class cycling city, but to continuing to play a pivotal role in the Mayor’s health, sustainability and livability initiatives.
Nicole Freedham is the director of Boston Bikes. Boston Bikes welcomes all to attend the 2011 Annual Boston Bikes Update at the Boston Public Library, Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 6:15 - 8:30 PM @ Rabb Lecture Hall. For more information about Boston Bikes, please visit http://www.cityofboston.gov/bikes/