Combine all the bike lanes and pathways in Cambridge and the total is just over 92 miles long — and growing.
The breakdown is a mix of different infrastructure, from green-clad asphalt markings to fully, off-to-the-side bike lanes that city officials say serve a burgeoning number of bicyclists, many of whom have increasingly taken to Cambridge’s streets in just the last few years.
“People are starting to see that there is a network that is real that people can use, and that more and more people are out there bicycling,” Cara Seiderman, the city’s transportation program manager, told Boston.com Wednesday. “People are really excited about that.”
The rise in cyclists is significant after Cambridge began rolling out new projects for bikes on city streets since releasing a comprehensive safety and upgrade plan with policies and goals in 2015, according to Seiderman.
Now officials are hoping many of those riders — and others — can weigh in on a question: How are things going?
The city recently started its process to update the plan in 2020. The effort relies heavily on public input on a range of topics, including hearing about how the current bike path network is serving cyclists, what should there be more of, and what parts of town need attention.
As Siderman said, “A lot of things have happened in the last five years.”
For starters, the city rolled out two new initiatives by way of a “Vision Zero Policy” and a “Complete Streets Policy,” which respectively aim to make the streets safer and more inclusive for cyclists. A program to teach bike and traffic safety to public school students also launched, and the regional Bluebikes program — which Cambridge operates with Boston, Brookline, Somerville, and Everett — has only become more popular.
Plus, between 2014 and 2018, Cambridge built over 20 miles of new infrastructure, including buffered bike lanes, two-way separated bike lanes, and shared street markings, among other additions.
Most recently, in April, the City Council passed a first-of-its-kind in the country ordinance that dictates protected bike lanes must be installed whenever Cambridge undertakes a roadway improvement project that falls within the bicycle plan.
But there is more to be done, officials say.
The 2020 plan is expected to continue to map out the city’s goals and visions in the years to come, including updates to its “Bicycle Network Vision,” which helps guide decision making when it comes to expanding bike lanes and paths.
“Through this 2020 update, we will incorporate our new policies, review data, and gather input on how things are working and what people’s hopes are for the future,” the Community Development Department’s website says. “Part of the work will be to pull together feasibility analyses for future roadway work, as well as a prioritization plan for the development of the network.”
While still early in the process, Seiderman said the Community Development Department can anticipate hearing more about certain areas ripe for expansion, like more information on wayfinding for local bike paths.
Seiderman says officials often hear about desires for more traffic-calming elements for busy streets. The prevalence of ride-sharing vehicles making passenger pick-up and drop-off stops on roadways, many times in bike lanes, is also an ongoing issue, she said.
And, of course, many cyclists say the city should keep the separated bike lanes coming, according to Seiderman. (Western Avenue is often used as a good example of a preferred layout for cyclists, she said.)
“What we have been getting is that people are really excited about what has happened,” she said.
According to Seiderman, officials will be accepting comments and conducting outreach for input on plan updates in different phases through the winter. In the meantime, the city is already soliciting comments through it’s online WikiMap.