Architect's DIY bike lane in Boston results on action from City.

Bike lane activist in Boston says it with flowers

When city officials were too slow to add protection to a painted Boston bike lane where a cyclist was killed architect Jonathan Fertig bought traffic cones and pot plants and placed them on the lane in question. They worked so well and so quickly he decided to seek crowd funding to instal more impromptu protection – in just two days he raised more than $3000.

“To be honest I’m a bit overwhelmed at the scale of the response,” he told Bike Hub. “When I originally posted my crowdfunding page it was on a whim at 10pm on Tuesday night after the third or fouth message asking where they could send me money. I figured I’d get $150. I’m now in a position where an intervention could be much more substantial, and perhaps even permanent.”

The flowers and cones on Massachusetts Avenue in the centre of the city have now been removed by the City of Boston – but replaced with official flex posts.

“The City yesterday finally installed the flex posts that they had promised, and after they did so the flowers disappeared,” said Fertig. “The tops of the flex posts are open, so I’m planning to put a bouquet of flowers in each one on my way home as a statement that I’m still here, and that I’m not satisfied with the City’s solution at this intersection.”

Fertig is now looking to expand on his original idea:

“With a bigger budget I’m starting to look at projects that involve intersection repair or other large-scale urban interventions. I’m really compelled by projects that contain an aspect of community involvement, and because the bicycle community is so strong in Boston I think something like that could be really powerful.”

Fertig was inspired to take matters into his own hands after reading “Tactical Urbanism” by Mike Lydon. This is a book about how people – and towns and cities – can take temporary measures that improve living conditions for those not in cars. These measures, once shown to work, can then be made more permanent. 

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