headshot of candidate

Joan Pickett

She/Her

Currently
Retired; active in local groups
Election history
1st time running

More about Joan Pickett

A Cambridge resident for over 25 years, Joan Pickett has actively served on the Mid-Cambridge Neighborhood Association as well as the Charles River Conservancy. She spent more than 20 years working in Strategic and Business Planning at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Joan is possibly most known for leading the charge against bicycling. She was the chair of the organization Cambridge Streets for All, which sued the city of Cambridge over its protected bike lane network (all lawsuits have failed, been rejected, or are being appealed at this time). She's also written the city council many times about problems with the Cycling Safety Ordinance, keeping parking, delaying bike lanes, and questioning cyclist counts. She's encouraged a moratorium on bike lanes based on another Cambridge Streets for All's member's analysis, and written an op-ed about e-bikes worrying her.

She has said that one of her motivations for running is to get the city to listen to residents and businesses more.

Incumbent
No
Education
  • BS, Boston College
  • Master's, Columbia University
Age
69 years, 3 months
Born in 1955
Voting
Reg. July 16, 1997
History
  • 🗳️ 2022 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2022 General
  • 🗳️ 2021 Municipal
  • 🗳️ 2020 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2020 General
  • 🗳️ 2019 Municipal
  • 🗳️ 2018 General
  • 🗳️ 2017 Municipal
  • 🗳️ 2016 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2016 General
  • 🗳️ 2016 Presidental Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2014 General Primary - Democratic
  • 🗳️ 2014 General
  • 🗳️ 2013 Municipal
  • 🗳️ 2012 General

Where Joan Lives

Address
Owns at 59 Ellery Street #1
Valued at approx. $2,520,000
Last sold June 2, 1998 for $490,000
inflation adjusted approx. $920,000

Joan on Housing

Proposal Supported?
AHO #3
NCD Reform

While Joan has not written as much about housing as she has about bike lanes, she has consistently and repeatedly opposed the amendments to the AHO and she focuses on "the context of a neighborhoods’ character and livability" and preserving neighborhood control.

At the moment, the character of our neighborhoods is under assault from new and proposed policies.

Joan Pickett, CCC Survey 2023

If this passes, you can check the box for new AHO regulations, declare victory and move on. Next year, if you are re-elected, you will still be wringing your hands saying we are not doing enough for affordable housing, and it will be true because you failed to look more deeply at the issues.

Joan Pickett, https://electpickett.org/on-the-record

I do not support the proposal to amend to the AHO. By significantly increasing building height to twelve to fifteen stories, allowing for increased density, removing setbacks and removing review by neighborhoods, the character of our squares and neighborhoods could radically change. The proposed amendments appear reactive without sufficient thought or planning. No analysis or data supporting these amendments has been produced to show how many more affordable units will be developed. Yes we need more housing stock to accommodate persons and families at different income levels so those who have lived in the city can continue to live in the city. And we need a thoughtful plan how to accomplish the goal and ensure housing is in context with neighborhoods.

Joan on Other Issues

Proposal Supported?
BEUD(ER)O n/a
CSO #2
CSO #1

Endorsements for Joan

Organization Cambridge? Union? View
Save Mass Ave this cycle
Cambridge Citizens Coalition on Sept. 14, 2023

Q&A

Interviews with Joan

Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition

Distribution of funds, non-profits and their position in Cambridge

Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition

Distribution of funds, non-profits and their position in Cambridge

Cambridge Citizens Coalition Survey 2023

General. Note: only distributed in downloadable word or pdf documents.

Cambridge Citizens Coalition Survey 2023

General. Note: only distributed in downloadable word or pdf documents.

Quotes by or about Joan

If the city is truly committed to climate change actions, why are they cutting down mature trees...?

Joan Pickett, CCC Survey 2023

Cambridge Streets for All & others vs. City of Cambridge

In September 2020, the City of Cambridge ("City") amended its Cycling Safety Ordinance ("CSO") concerning the installation of bike lanes on the City's streets. Plaintiffs Cambridge Streets of All, Leesteffy Jenkins, John Pitkin, Toby Leith, Elizabeth Saccoccio, Christine Perkins, Philip Kadets, Joan Pickett, Vicky Bestor, John Hanratty, Stuart Rosner, and Elizabeth Neustadt (collectively, "Plaintiffs") are business and property owners in the City of Cambridge ("City") who oppose the implementation of the CSO and the bike lanes and street restructuring that the City has undertaken pursuant to the CSO. The Plaintiffs have moved for a preliminary injunction enjoining the City from building any more bike lanes and directing the City to remove the bike lanes already in place. For the following reasons, the Plaintiffs' motion is DENIED.

Middlesex Court, Memorandum of decision and order on Plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction, https://www.masscourts.org/eservices/searchresults.page?x=ILbsbxcjwIdWT*UuTpVVpAht8OBMLr5T5X6uo39*IH

TPT clearly could have done a better job in understanding the traffic flow in the area and resolved the problems before they happened. But the real problem goes back to how the CSO Ordinance is written and to the Council who voted in favor of it. The Ordinance is pushing TPT to 'just get it done' vs 'let’s get it done right'. The Ordinance is too prospective and inflexible leaving little room for TPT to adjust for location, location specific issues and timing. In a perfect world, the City Council would acknowledge the flaws in the Ordinance and amend it to allow for more flexibility.

Joan Pickett, https://electpickett.org/on-the-record

I hope we are tracking and equally publicizing these types of accidents on a consistent basis, not just those that are car/cyclist accidents.

Press

Articles about or by Joan

The Harvard Crimson Joan Pickett Aims to Push Back on Bike Lanes, Aid Small Businesses in Cambridge Council Campaign

Pickett also said she wants the Council to approach street design more intentionally. “We need to step back and stop doing things quickly and do things thoughtfully,” Pickett said.

Oct. 27, 2023 — Muskaan Arshad
The Harvard Crimson Joan Pickett Aims to Push Back on Bike Lanes, Aid Small Businesses in Cambridge Council Campaign

Pickett also said she wants the Council to approach street design more intentionally. “We need to step back and stop doing things quickly and do things thoughtfully,” Pickett said.

Oct. 27, 2023 — Muskaan Arshad
Cambridge Day Why this candidate for Cambridge City Council won’t sign the bike lane pledge

If you have driven in Cambridge recently, you know we have a transportation problem, and short-term it is not solvable by more people cycling.

...

Separated bike lanes have fueled deep division within Cambridge. We can start to mend our civic relationships by hitting the pause button on further installations and undertaking a process that will focus on the goals of safe and efficiently functioning streets. And that is why I will not sign the CBS pledge.

July 24, 2023 — Joan Pickett
Cambridge Day Why this candidate for Cambridge City Council won’t sign the bike lane pledge

If you have driven in Cambridge recently, you know we have a transportation problem, and short-term it is not solvable by more people cycling.

...

Separated bike lanes have fueled deep division within Cambridge. We can start to mend our civic relationships by hitting the pause button on further installations and undertaking a process that will focus on the goals of safe and efficiently functioning streets. And that is why I will not sign the CBS pledge.

July 24, 2023 — Joan Pickett
Cambridge Day Opponents of bike lanes are back with an analysis showing the safety measures cause more injuries

Hanratty was part of a group called Cambridge Streets for All that filed a lawsuit last summer over the loss of parking space from the Cycling Safety Ordinance of 2019, which calls for 22.6 miles of bike lanes citywide. That lawsuit was rejected by a judge on March 27, but is being appealed. Other members of that group were on a closed call explaining the analysis, including Joan Pickett and John Pitkin, a former member of chair of the city’s Board of Traffic and Parking.

...

Bike advocates were contacted Monday and asked if they were aware of the findings. “It’s hard to directly evaluate this lengthy report without looking into the details of the data analysis further. However, its conclusions are at odds with professional consensus,” said Nate Fillmore, a co-founder of the Cambridge Bicycle Safety group.

“Of relevance, the Federal Highway Administration just released a report on the safety of protected bike lanes” that included Cambridge and found that “quick-build” lanes such as those in use in Cambridge “cut the risk of crash in half compared to regular bike lanes,” Fillmore said.

...

The group said it welcomed feedback from the council and city transportation officials. Pickett encouraged councillors to “do their own analysis” and said there could be a moratorium on bike lanes “until they get a chance to look at what’s going on.”

April 24, 2023 — Marc Levy
Cambridge Day Opponents of bike lanes are back with an analysis showing the safety measures cause more injuries

Hanratty was part of a group called Cambridge Streets for All that filed a lawsuit last summer over the loss of parking space from the Cycling Safety Ordinance of 2019, which calls for 22.6 miles of bike lanes citywide. That lawsuit was rejected by a judge on March 27, but is being appealed. Other members of that group were on a closed call explaining the analysis, including Joan Pickett and John Pitkin, a former member of chair of the city’s Board of Traffic and Parking.

...

Bike advocates were contacted Monday and asked if they were aware of the findings. “It’s hard to directly evaluate this lengthy report without looking into the details of the data analysis further. However, its conclusions are at odds with professional consensus,” said Nate Fillmore, a co-founder of the Cambridge Bicycle Safety group.

“Of relevance, the Federal Highway Administration just released a report on the safety of protected bike lanes” that included Cambridge and found that “quick-build” lanes such as those in use in Cambridge “cut the risk of crash in half compared to regular bike lanes,” Fillmore said.

...

The group said it welcomed feedback from the council and city transportation officials. Pickett encouraged councillors to “do their own analysis” and said there could be a moratorium on bike lanes “until they get a chance to look at what’s going on.”

April 24, 2023 — Marc Levy
Cambridge Day Judge dismisses group’s call to undo bike lanes

The Superior Court dismissed on Tuesday a lawsuit against the city over parking-space changes brought on by its Cycling Safety Ordinance.

The plaintiffs, a group called Cambridge Streets for All, went to court in June 2022 in hopes of stopping the city from adding more protected bike lanes under the CSO and removing existing lanes that took away parking spaces. In November, the city made a motion to Judge Maureen B. Hogan to dismiss the suit.

The Tuesday decision found that Cambridge Streets for All hadn’t supported its claims adequately, according to the city’s Law Department.

...

“Clearly we’re disappointed by the court’s decision,” said Joan Pickett, chair of the group, who was reviewing the finding and other materials when contacted. More information would be available later, Pickett said.

March 7, 2023 — Marc Levy
Cambridge Day Judge dismisses group’s call to undo bike lanes

The Superior Court dismissed on Tuesday a lawsuit against the city over parking-space changes brought on by its Cycling Safety Ordinance.

The plaintiffs, a group called Cambridge Streets for All, went to court in June 2022 in hopes of stopping the city from adding more protected bike lanes under the CSO and removing existing lanes that took away parking spaces. In November, the city made a motion to Judge Maureen B. Hogan to dismiss the suit.

The Tuesday decision found that Cambridge Streets for All hadn’t supported its claims adequately, according to the city’s Law Department.

...

“Clearly we’re disappointed by the court’s decision,” said Joan Pickett, chair of the group, who was reviewing the finding and other materials when contacted. More information would be available later, Pickett said.

March 7, 2023 — Marc Levy
Commonwealth Magazine Heavier, faster e-bikes worry me

As a pedestrian, I am worried city streets will get more dangerous now that faster, heavier electric bicycles or e-bikes have been officially recognized by state officials.

Sept. 10, 2022 — Joan Pickett
Commonwealth Magazine Heavier, faster e-bikes worry me

As a pedestrian, I am worried city streets will get more dangerous now that faster, heavier electric bicycles or e-bikes have been officially recognized by state officials.

Sept. 10, 2022 — Joan Pickett
Cambridge Day Group files lawsuit over Cycling Safety Ordinance, telling city to ‘rescind, restore and prevent’ lanes

“It is surprising how many people across the City are totally unaware of the mandate to install separated bike lanes. That tells me there was not enough outreach from the city nor any meaningful citizen engagement. All people want is a chance to participate in a meaningful way,” said Joan Pickett, a homeowner in Mid-Cambridge since 1998.

June 10, 2022 — Marc Levy
Cambridge Day Group files lawsuit over Cycling Safety Ordinance, telling city to ‘rescind, restore and prevent’ lanes

“It is surprising how many people across the City are totally unaware of the mandate to install separated bike lanes. That tells me there was not enough outreach from the city nor any meaningful citizen engagement. All people want is a chance to participate in a meaningful way,” said Joan Pickett, a homeowner in Mid-Cambridge since 1998.

June 10, 2022 — Marc Levy
The Harvard Crimson Tunnel Quietly Remains on Back Burner

Pickett is president of the Mid-Cambridge Neighborhood Association (MCNA), which for years led a campaign against the government center Harvard is building on the northeast fringe of campus.

The new center is going ahead—the wrecking balls moved in last week to clear away the lots where its two main buildings will go. The tunnel that is supposed to connect the buildings once preoccupied community members, but now it’s not even an issue for Pickett and her fellow neighborhood activists.

“We think it’s dead,” she says.

Yet Pickett is quick to add that she and the neighborhood association are keeping a watchful eye on Harvard and its new center.

Nov. 3, 2002 — Lauren R. Dorgan
The Harvard Crimson Tunnel Quietly Remains on Back Burner

Pickett is president of the Mid-Cambridge Neighborhood Association (MCNA), which for years led a campaign against the government center Harvard is building on the northeast fringe of campus.

The new center is going ahead—the wrecking balls moved in last week to clear away the lots where its two main buildings will go. The tunnel that is supposed to connect the buildings once preoccupied community members, but now it’s not even an issue for Pickett and her fellow neighborhood activists.

“We think it’s dead,” she says.

Yet Pickett is quick to add that she and the neighborhood association are keeping a watchful eye on Harvard and its new center.

Nov. 3, 2002 — Lauren R. Dorgan

Campaign finance

How much Joan has raised and spent

$5,017
Current balance
$0
Balance at the start of 2023
$25,228
Raised in 2023
$4000.00 from self included
$20,211
Spent in 2023