Boston's Bike Czar Rides Out of Town

Bicyclist Photo in BostonPhoto by Meghan Ireland

It’s a sad day for Boston bicyclists and advocates: Nicole Freedman is leaving town, taking a job as the executive director of Maine Huts and Trails.

But what an amazing few years it’s been for Freedman, who even made our power list this month, as part of Mayor Menino’s crack squad of lieutenants. Consider her accomplishments:

1. Launching the Hubway bike system. In 2011, the program’s first year, people took a stunning 142,000 bike trips across the city. And this summer, the system is expanding to Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline.
2. Painting bike lanes everywhere. Freedman helped oversee the installation of 50 miles of bike lanes, including right down Mass Ave. Total badass.
3. Earning national recognition. Between 1999 and 2006, Bicycling magazine named Boston as one of America’s worst bicycling cities. Last year, the mag named us the 26th best! And sure, we’re not yet Portland, Ore., or Boulder, Colo., but we did merit a silver in the Bicycle Friendly Community Program from the League of American Cyclists.
4. Encouraging new people to ride. Now that the weather is nice again, the amount of bicyclists on the city’s streets and trails is pretty amazing. And it’s not just young hipster guys and girls — people of all ages are out riding.
5. Enriching the city’s bike culture. Recently, complete-street advocates and bike-friendly groups like the Boston Cyclists Union butted heads with politicians and business owners over the future of Casey Overpass in Jamaica Plain. The bikers and complete-streeters won. I don’t know if that would have happened a few years ago, without Freedman’s influence.

Farewell, Nicole Freedman. You’ve done a lot of good in Boston for biking. Have fun in Maine.