Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways are well known regulators of the cell cycle but they have also been found to control ciliary length in a wide variety of organisms and cell types from Caenorhabditis elegans neurons to mammalian photoreceptors through unknown mechanisms. ERK1/2 is a MAP kinase in human cells that is predominantly phosphorylated by MEK1/2 and dephosphorylated by the phosphatase DUSP6. We have found that the ERK1/2 activator/DUSP6 inhibitor, (E)-2-benzylidine-3-(cyclohexylamino)-2,3-dihydro-1H-inden-1-one (BCI), inhibits ciliary maintenance in Chlamydomonas and hTERT-RPE1 cells and assembly in Chlamydomonas . These effects involve inhibition of total protein synthesis, microtubule organization, membrane trafficking, and partial kinesin-2 motor dynamics. Our data provide evidence for various avenues for BCI-induced ciliary shortening and impaired ciliogenesis that gives mechanistic insight into how MAP kinases can regulate ciliary length.