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Bike share program reaches the Fenway

By Becca Freer
On October 28, 2011

 

A Hubway bike share station opened outside of Simmons' academic campus in mid-October.  It is located on the Fenway in front of the Lefavour building.

Hubway is Boston's citywide bike share program.  It is a part of Mayor Thomas Menino's campaign to make the city more cycling-friendly. Alta Bicycle Share, out of Portland, OR, and the city's Boston Bikes program oversee Hubway's operation.

 The system launched in July of this year with 600 bicycles and 61 stations throughout central Boston, from the Back Bay and Kenmore Square to the Financial District and Waterfront. 

This is only the tip of the bike share iceberg. The city plans to add more stations throughout Metro Boston area in the coming year.

Janet Fishstein, facilities director at Simmons College, said that the location was selected largely because of its convenience and prominence. Simmons cosponsored the station with other Colleges of the Fenway (COF) institutions and Medical Academic and Scientific Community Organization (MASCO), an organization representing the Fenway and Longwood Medical Area.

Following a mid-March reinstallation—the system will hibernate during the winter—stations are planned to spread to Brookline, Somerville, and Cambridge.  This will turn Hubway into a bike share program that serves the entire metropolitan area.  A city press release from April said that at its full size, Hubway could have as many as 5,000 bikes across the greater Boston area.

In 2007 Mayor Menino unveiled the plans for Boston Bikes, a department focused on incorporating bikes in the city's transportation network.  Since then, the department has worked to increase ridership and improve conditions for biking in Boston.

It is a successful program that confirms the city's commitment to developing a more balanced, sustainable transit system, environmental advocates have said. 

Fishstein said the environmental benefits of Hubway helped attract COF schools to sponsor a station.  Another factor is the usefulness of a bike share system. 

"We wanted a station near campus so that this exciting new transportation option for people in Boston was convenient for our students, faculty and staff," said Fishstein.

 Hubway closes the last remaining gap between transit systems, eliminating a major barrier to carless commuting.  It also provides an additional way to get around the city.  Menino hopes the ease of using the bike share program will improve as more stations and bikes are installed.

In the past four years, Boston's network of bike lanes has steadily expanded. Since the initiative launched in 2007, 33 miles of bike lanes have been added to city streets, according to Boston Bike's website. The city hopes that with more lanes more people will choose to commute by bike. 

The addition of a Hubway station outside of Simmons contributes to this goal and growing bike network. As the temperature drops and crisp fall weather gives way to the frigidity of winter, Hubway stations throughout Boston will close down, but they will reopen just in time for springtime weather.


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