Cyclists plan to create a human “bike lane” across the Congress Street bridge during the busy Friday night commute in response to city officials washing away an impromptu lane someone created on the span earlier this week.
According to a Facebook event called “People Protected Bike Lane,” cyclists will meet at the bridge, which crosses the Fort Point Channel, at 6 p.m., and demand “safe bicycle infrastructure” on the roadway.
Creating “people-protected bike lanes” is a “direct-action intended to bring attention to inadequate or absent bicycle facilities,” according to the nonprofit Boston Cyclists Union, which promoted the event on Facebook Friday.
“The lack of maintenance of lane markings on the Congress Street Bridge is part of a larger issue facing the region, that our infrastructure is not being maintained to a high enough standard, and that many of the critical connections between neighborhoods need to be made safer for people biking and walking,” the group said in a statement. “Tonight’s action on the Congress Street Bridge highlights the need to increase investment in road maintenance.”
The protest comes several days after Boston transportation officials used a power-washer to clear away a bike lane someone spray-painted along the bridge.
On Tuesday, cyclist Mike Blackwell noticed the drawing — a long, squiggly line separating cars from people on bikes — while riding in the area. He shared an image of the guerilla bike lane to Twitter, eliciting an immediate reaction from other riders.
Blackwell said he had nothing to do with the impromptu bike lane but was entertained by the thought of someone quickly trying to create it using a can of spray paint.
City officials said they understood the motivation behind the hand-painting of the bike lane but removed it because it hadn’t gone through a proper engineering review. That decision led cyclists to rally and begin to plan the protest.
Human bike lanes have been used as a form of protest in cities across the country, including San Francisco, New York City, and Philadelphia. This is said to be Boston’s first-ever “person protected bike lane.”Steve Annear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.