Candidates should avoid single-issue pledges that make political discourse more divisive
As a relative newcomer to Cambridge, I am dismayed at how divisive the political discourse in Cambridge can be. Instead of coming together as a community to celebrate the progress we’ve made and collaborate on efforts to make the city even better, some people are quick to characterize problems as “crises” and those who are perceived to be blocking solutions as “selfish.”
I fear that the Cambridge Bike Safety pledge for City Council candidates is only making the problem worse. Politicians who take the pledge promise that they will not vote for any proposal that weakens or delays the Cycling Safety Ordinance, especially as it pertains to bike lane construction on Massachusetts Avenue. (“With the installation of protected bike lanes comes a fast-moving issue for council race,” Oct. 1.)
The city has made it clear that current implementation plans for the avenue have a significant negative impact on others, including residents who own cars and local businesses. In an effort to implement this ordinance as quickly as possible, Cambridge Bike Safety has exerted heavy political pressure on council candidates. The majority have now signed the pledge.
The council we need and deserve should have a mandate to balance the interests of residents and small businesses as well as cyclists. Please join with me in asking current and future Cambridge elected officials to push back against pledges that subject their vote to the control of single-issue advocacy groups such as Cambridge Bike Safety.
Susan Labandibar, Forest Street