Mayor Michelle Wu was joined by city officials and bike activists for a press conference on Sept. 6 at the Tobin Community Center to announce new bike lanes and safety measures in the city.
Wu began her remarks by stating what the city has done during the Orange Line shutdown to increase transit access to riders, including adding dedicated bike and bus lanes, making Blue Bikes free, replacing damaged sidewalks near Orange Line shuttle stops, adding wayfinding signage, and adding tents at shuttle stops to shield riders from the rain and sun.
“It is easy to see how transportation justice is racial and economic justice,” Wu said. She announced that a “citywide design process” was being launched that will employ recovery funds from the federal government.
In addition to the design process, 9.4 miles of protected bike lanes will be constructed by the end of next year “to mend key gaps and expand our network,” Wu said.
In the Back Bay and Downtown, bike lanes are being planned for Berkeley St., Boylston St., and Milk St. In the Fenway/Kenmore area, there are plans for Commonwealth Ave. and Hemenway St., and in the South End and Bay Village, plans are for Albany St., Berkeley St., Charles St., and South/Tremont St.
Other neighborhoods where there are plans for bike lanes include Allston-Brighton, Mission Hill, Jamaica Plain, and Roslindale.
Wu said that the city has a goal of ensuring that 50 percent of all Boston residents are within “a three-minute walk to a safe, connected bike route within the next three years.”
Also in that time period, the city will add more than 100 Blue Bike stations, which will increase the current amount by 40 percent.
To mitigate speeding and increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists, the city will also be installing speed humps and raised crosswalks, “particularly around schools, parks, and libraries,” Wu said.
The city is also “committing to reach 600 women and gender diverse adults” with its free learn-to-bike workshops, as well as a “$1.5 million rebate for older adults and people with disabilities to purchase e-bikes,” she said.
“We are committed to building a Boston for everyone,” Wu said.
Wu was joined by Chief of Streets Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Spaces Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, Chief of Planning Arthur Jemison, Shavel’le Olivier of the Mattapan Food & Fitness Coalition, as well as several bike activists and City Councilor Kenzie Bok, who made remarks.
Franklin-Hodge said that based on recent data, “at key streets,” 10 to 20 percent of vehicles are bikes “during peak periods,” and that Blue Bikes have increased in popularity.
He said that August was the “highest ridership month in the history of the Blue Bikes system, which is “almost a quarter of the number of trips on the Orange Line.”
He said that bikes must be made “more accessible to more people” and that infrastructure needs to be safer as well. Additionally, he said “e-bikes are also starting to play a much bigger role in biking in Boston.”
District 8 City Councilor Kenzie Bok said she has been in favor of bike lanes around the Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden, which were implemented during the pandemic and now used by her mother to get to work.
“I think they’ve been tremendous in a whole host of ways,” she said, adding that some people only feel safe using protected bike lanes, and that they also make pedestrian crossings shorter.
She said that a lot of people who may not bike today would consider doing so if there were more protected bike lanes.
The planning process that Wu announced will help to decide where more bike lanes are needed and how they will be implemented, and the 9.4 miles of new bike lanes to be installed by the end of next year will be done so on over a dozen streets.
“I believe that Boston can be the best city in America for biking and walking,” Franklin-Hodge said.
For more information and updates on this new initiative, visit boston.gov/bike-lanes.