On March 26th the South Coast Bikeway Alliance held its 5th Annual Bike Summit at White’s of Westport. The room was full of residents from Wareham to Swansea who attended to show their enthusiasm and support for the growing bicycle culture in Southcoast Massachusetts.
Longtime advocate and House Chair of the Transportation Committee, Representative Bill Straus attended and spoke about the headway he has made at the State House, plans for the future, and challenges in relation to increased bike paths. He discussed the success of the Mattapoisett Rail Trail, that was just authorized to move from 25% to 100% design for a mile of bike path in Mattapoisett that will connect main pieces of the bike lane and take riders through a beautiful trail across marshes, rivers, and an eel pond.
Representative Straus was followed by the evening’s keynote speaker, former Boston Bicycle Czar Nicole Freedman. An avid cyclist and member of the US Olympic Cycling Team, she was appointed in 2007 by Mayor Menino to run the Bike Boston initiative. During her tenure, she brought the city from one of the worst ranked bike friendly cities to become a Silver Level Bike Friendly City. She worked tirelessly to increase the safety of cyclists, educate drivers, install dozens of bike racks, and create new infrastructure – including almost 100 miles of new bike lanes.
She also spoke in detail about the importance of small, local, grassroots efforts that can have a huge effect on local bicycle culture, and how as residents of our towns and neighborhoods and street blocks, we can start an annual cycling party, bicycle repair day, or helmet drive at any time to increase awareness around cycling and get our communities interested in cycling.
The continued growth and success of South Coast Bikeway has been exciting to watch, and Mass in Motion New Bedford will continue working closely with the group and with the municipality to increase bike lanes, promote bicycle and pedestrian safety, and bring awareness to biking, all in an effort to grow the bicycle culture throughout the city.
To learn more about the South Coast Bikeway, and to view a gallery of pictures from the evening, visit the South Coast Bikeway’s at southcoastbikeway.com.