Boston

New Traffic-Blocking Climate Protest Held in Boston Friday

It was not immediately clear how Friday's protest affected traffic between Copley Square and Boston Common

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The group behind the protest that disrupted rush hour traffic in Boston's Seaport Wednesday morning held another event Friday afternoon in the heart of the city.

Extinction Rebellion organized a slow, 10-mile group bike ride that travels from Copley Square to Boston Common Friday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. The riders plan to take up one lane of traffic.

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The event organizer told NBC10 Boston the group of cyclists planned to stay safe, go slow and follow the rules of the road, but encouraged drivers to keep an eye out.

The event, also hosted by Car Free Boston, was planned to be part of World Car Free Day, which was Thursday, but rain that day pushed the event back to Friday.

The event is aimed at raising awareness about climate change and the impact that vehicles have on the environment.

According to the EPA, transportation accounted for nearly a third of total U.S. green house gas emissions in 2020. With that, light-duty vehicles, including passenger cars and light-duty trucks, were the largest category with 57-percent of green house gas emissions.

The man behind Car Free Boston envisions a world where people ditch their cars, but recognizing the challenges that people face in getting around, John Burkhardt hopes at least this will get people thinking about walking, biking or using public transit more often.

"Individual lifestyle changes are one thing. I do think though to get on top of this crisis we do need collective action," Burkhardt said. "We do need everybody in society to realize it's an emergency situation and it's affecting the entire world."

Burkhardt noted Boston has come a long way in recent years when it comes to adding bike lanes and making it easier to choose a bike over a car, but some people using Bluebikes who spoke to NBC10 Boston said Friday there are some areas where it is difficult to bike along with traffic.

Copley Square's traffic pattern recently shifted down to one lane for cars on Boylston Street as part of the Orange Line shutdown, an adjustment that was made permanent this week. It's not clear how Friday's protest will affect traffic in the area, and the group didn't share its exact route.

Wednesday morning's protest blocked part of a bridge in the Seaport District and resulted in 15 people being arrested, police said.

Extinction Rebellion is pushing for a ban of new fossil fuel infrastructure in Massachusetts. The group says that private cars produce about one quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

The group, which calls itself "Extinction Rebellion", originally planned to block traffic at four different sites, but much of the demonstration wound up at the bridge that connects Boston's Seaport and Financial Districts, after an initial meeting at Post Office Square.
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