Nicole Freedman this week returned to her old job as director of the City of Boston’s bicycle programming, city officials announced.
Freedman, a Wellesley native and former Olympic bicyclist, worked as director of Boston Bikes from the program’s launch in 2007 until last April, when she stepped down from the post to take a job as the executive director of Maine Huts and Trails.
“Over the past five years, the program has made tremendous strides, but there’s always more work to do,” said a statement from Freedman. “We’re looking forward to another successful year of cycling in Boston.”
As director of Boston Bikes, Freedman has worked to raise awareness about bicycling in Boston, in an effort to make it more popular and safe, city officials said.
She oversaw major initiatives, including the launch of the Hubway bike share system and the installation of about 50 miles of bike lanes and 850 bicycle racks.
Freedman helped welcome the first professional bicycle race to Boston in nearly two decades, city officials said. Under her leadership, city helped donate more than 1,000 bikes to low-income residents and provided on-the-bike training to nearly 8,000 youth.
“In 2007, we set out to make Boston a world-class bicycling city, and Nicole was the clear choice for a leader who both shared that vision and had the passion to make it a reality,” said a statement from Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “Since her departure, Boston Bikes has continued to thrive and improve access for all cyclists, and we’re thrilled Nicole has joined us again to keep that momentum going.”
Freedman left her City Hall post as the so-called “bike czar” on April 20; her first day back was Wednesday. During her nearly nine-month absence, Kris Carter served as interim director. He will now return to his advisor to the mayor.
“I’m so excited to be back in Boston, and grateful for the vision of the mayor, and the work of Kris Carter and the team of people who have continued to lead Boston Bikes on a successful path,” Freedman said.
Her key priorities moving forward will be to continue efforts to: improve bicycle safety, reduce accidents and to make infrastructure improvements, including cycletracks and expanding the Hubway program, city officials said.
“When Freedman started in 2007, Boston was perennially ranked one of the worst cycling cities in the country,” the city said in a statement. “Under her leadership, the City became a nationally-recognized biking city, receiving a Silver level award from the League of American Bicyclists.”
But, the growth of biking in Boston has not been well-received by all, including by some who say that cycling can be dangerous to those riding the bikes and others around them. Last month, a Boston University student became the fifth bicyclist killed in a crash in the city during 2012.