Dozens of cyclists attached paper snowflakes and inflatable penguins to their bikes at City Hall Plaza Sunday afternoon to protest what they called the city’s glacial pace in implementing a protected network of bike lanes.
The group embarked on a five-mile bike ride to the sites of several long-promised but unfinished bike-safety projects, including Charles Street and the South Bay Harbor Trail, before ending the ride in Dorchester.
Eliza Parad, director of organizing for the Boston Cyclists Union, said the group planned the rally to push Mayor Martin J. Walsh to increase funding for protected bike lanes, out of concern that the city will not meet its goals for a safer, more-efficient transportation network outlined in the Go Boston 2030 initiative.
“In order to meet the goals in that plan, about seven miles of protected bike lanes or low-stress bike lanes would need to be on the ground every year,” Parad said during an interview at the rally. “The city is building about three. So we’re asking the mayor for more funding and to speed up the pace.”
The rally came one day after Walsh released details of the 2019 Bike Program Series and cited his administration’s investments in establishing “a safe and connected network of bike lanes, the expansion of our Bluebikes share program, and the organization of clinics, public rides, and events.”
Walsh’s fiscal year 2020 budget proposal allocates $10.6 million for bike infrastructure, including about $1 million for protected bike lanes. By the end of 2019, more than eight miles of separate bike lines will be open and five miles will be under construction, the administration said.
“We’re working hard, and with 12 million bucks dedicated, I certainly would like to be further along than we are today,” Walsh said Sunday morning at a ribbon-cutting event in Roslindale. “We have to continue to build out streets, and there’s a big cost with that, so we’re making large investments and we’re moving forward.”
Several cyclists plan to deliver their message at a City Council hearing on the Transportation Department’s budget for fiscal year 2020 on Tuesday.
South Boston resident Maren Tober, 40, said she instructs her 14-, 12-, and 8-year-old children to ride their bikes on the sidewalk instead of the street because the neighborhood lacks protected bike lanes.
“A bike means independence, and I would like for my kids to be independent,” she said in an interview at the rally. “I have no problems with them going to places independently, but I want protected bike lanes. For me, it would mean peace of mind.”