2023 Cambridge City Council Election

This page is a publication of the Cambridge Bicycle Safety Independent Expenditure PAC

This is an important election!  We need to maintain a supermajority of city councilors who are committed to continuing recent progress making our streets safer. 

How you can help

Who to vote for: candidates who support building and expanding Cambridge’s separated bike lanes

A proven voting record

NameOther endorsements
Burhan AzeemABC
Marc McGovernABC
Sumbul SiddiquiABC
Jivan Sobrinho-WheelerABC, Boston DSA

New candidates, strong supporters

NameOther endorsements
Ayah Al-Zubi
Adrienne KleinABC
Frantz PierreABC
Dan TottenBoston DSA, Run On Climate
Vernon K. WalkerRun On Climate
Peter Hsu

Note: this is an evolving list and the final voter guide will be released by CBS-IEPAC shortly.

Links to referenced endorsing groups:

The Cambridge Bicycle Safety Pledge

Our city councilors play a critical role in supporting the buildout of the protected bike lane network, and so Cambridge Bicycle Safety volunteers meet with candidates to educate them about this issue and ask them to sign the Cambridge Bicycle Safety Pledge. We use the pledge to provide Cambridge residents with a voter guide so they can identify candidates who will support the buildout of a network of protected bicycle lanes as specified in the Cycling Safety Ordinance.

The Cycling Safety Ordinance was passed by the City Council to provide everyone with the opportunity to travel safely and efficiently, regardless of their mode of transportation. Our street designs should minimize risk to all users, especially vulnerable users such as children, older adults, and people with disabilities. This includes people who walk, use mobility devices (such as wheelchairs and walkers), push a stroller, or ride a bicycle. 

The Cambridge Bicycle Safety Pledge is not only a promise to support the Cycling Safety Ordinance, but also a commitment to ensuring an implementation that is fair, equitable, and inclusive with all stakeholders in the community. It is crucial that these projects engage a broad and diverse array of community voices to move this important work forward together. 

The pledge states:

I support rapid implementation of the citywide network of protected bicycle lanes as mandated by the Cycling Safety Ordinance.

I pledge to do everything in my power to ensure the successful implementation of the ordinance, including voting in the City Council, advocating in the public realm, and connecting stakeholders to ensure a positive outcome for all in our community.

I will not vote for any proposal that weakens the ordinance or delays its timelines. Mass Ave is the most important street in Cambridge and needs protected bike lanes as soon as possible. I will not vote for any proposal that delays protected bike lanes on Mass Ave beyond the timeline of the rest of the ordinance. This should be done in a way that supports transit, improves pedestrian safety, protects the tree canopy, and enhances the business environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can a supportive city council help make this process more effective?

A supportive city council can do a lot to implement these projects effectively. Councillors can provide critical insight into project design, engage with constituents, ensure that community meetings are responding well to different stakeholders, and collaborate with city staff. By signing this pledge, councillors are committing to improving safety on our streets in a way that balances the needs of all members of our community.

Does taking this pledge force councillors to adhere to a specific timeline?

The timeline set by the Cycling Safety Ordinance (CSO) is designed to ensure consistent progress is made on building the protected bicycle network. This deadline was a key part of the legislation, as written by councillors who passed it.

Why is the timeline important for these improvements? 

Over the last decade, the city has designed a core network of bike lanes. These address serious safety issues and allow people to travel from one part of the city to another on separated infrastructure. Unfortunately, without a timeline, just a tiny fraction of the network was built in the 5 years after the 2015 Bike Plan was published. So the Ordinance timeline helps keep us on track as a city – because it’s not just about talking safety; it’s about making these important changes. We’ve all seen before how projects can drag on when there’s no clear plan or accountability.

Does this prevent councillors from making changes to the Cycling Safety Ordinance?

The pledge does not forbid changes to the CSO. Changes could be needed for technical or substantive reasons as projects and community needs evolve. The pledge does include a commitment to not weaken the ordinance’s requirements for a connected network of separated bike lanes as outlined in the city’s bike plan, and to maintain the ordinance’s timelines (including built-in extension mechanisms).

How does this balance the needs of people who need to drive, for example because they are older or disabled?

Our infrastructure, transit, and mobility investments should be made equitably to provide opportunities for everyone to move around reliably, regardless of ability or mode of transportation. It will still be possible to drive to all parts of the city and only a small fraction of existing parking city-wide will be reallocated to build these lanes. We seek to ensure that people who can’t drive because of their age or disability or lack of car can access all parts of the city safely via genuinely accessible routes. Investments should also prioritize historically underserved neighborhoods.

Will these improvements really make more people bike?

A network of separated bike lanes will allow a broader spectrum of people to feel safe and comfortable biking in Cambridge. We have seen from prior projects that access to better quality and safer facilities enables more people to bike and to bike more frequently. The number of people using bikes has grown dramatically throughout the city as the network has expanded, and the CSO is meant to increase that number in line with forward thinking and modern cities. 

Is the pledge anti-democratic?

Knowing what a candidate will do when in office is an important part of democracy. The pledge lets voters know that building the bike network is one of many parts of a candidate’s platform. The pledge provides accountability so that councillors keep the promises they made while campaigning. Without the Cycling Safety Ordinance timeline, minimal progress was made to improve cycling infrastructure in Cambridge. 

Do you ask all candidates to sign the pledge?

We invite candidates to meet with us and ask them to sign the pledge unless they have a public record of statements, votes, or actions opposing the Cycling Safety Ordinance. For example some candidates running this year sued the city demanding that the bike lanes be removed. 

What is Cambridge Bicycle Safety and what role did it play in advancing the Cycling Safety Ordinance?

Cambridge Bicycle Safety is a group of local volunteers who are working to make streets safer and more enjoyable for people of all ages and abilities in Cambridge, MA.  Among many other activities towards this goal, we worked to turn the Cycling Safety Ordinance into a law. The CSO was then updated in 2020  to require that Cambridge complete a network of protected bicycle lanes within six years. The City of Cambridge has a web site reporting progress toward meeting these requirements. If you’d like to get involved in our work, sign up here.

What is the Cambridge Bicycle Safety Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee (CBS IEPAC)?

The CBS IEPAC is the entity that creates and distributes a voter guide for Cambridge city council elections and engages in related activities and expenditures to independently promote candidates who support making our streets safer.