The following is an excerpt of an article originally published by Brian Martucci in Money Crashers on March 26th, 2015.
Not everyone can be a regular bike commuter. Some folks live too far from work, some have erratic schedules, some would have to traverse dangerous roads or brave adverse weather conditions, and others – including yours truly – work out of a home office.
But even if you don’t bike to work, you can still bike regularly. In fact, it can be a singular source of pleasure – few things in life beat whooshing down a hill with the wind in your hair. Biking is also part of a healthy, happy lifestyle – according to the state government of Victoria, Australia, the benefits of regular biking include stronger bones, more flexible joints, lower stress and anxiety levels, lower body fat levels, and better cardiovascular fitness in general.
So, what if you enjoy biking but don’t own a bike? Depending on where you live, that might not be a problem. Many sizable cities now have bikesharing programs that offer affordable short-term rentals throughout a defined geographical area. These may be run by private companies, educational institutions, municipal agencies, or public-private partnerships.
The specific features and quirks of bikesharing programs vary from place to place, but the overarching goal is always the same: Provide a fun, healthy, low-cost transportation option for locals and visitors alike.
The following article was originally published on WUBR.org on March 26th, 2015.
Hubway bicycles will begin returning Thursday, after most of Greater Boston’s bike sharing system was put in hibernation for the winter.
Benjy Kantor, marketing manager at Motivate — the company that operates Hubway — said customers will be able to use the system soon. However, he said he doesn’t have an exact start date.
“It’s largely dependent on whether the weather holds up and what the safety conditions for our field staff are at each of the locations and the sites,” he said. “We can typically get five to seven stations out per day.”
The program shut down in Brookline, Somerville and Boston for the winter. However, it remained open in Cambridge for a second year. Last year, the company launched a successful pilot program to see if Cambridge residents would keep riding through the winter.
Hubway came to Boston in 2011. In 2013, it expanded to Brookline, Somerville and Cambridge.
To combat obesity and other health issues, Boston announced last spring that doctors could refer low-income patients a discounted membership to Hubway. Boston residents who qualify could rent bikes for a discounted fee of $5 a year. A typical annual Hubway membership costs $85, and monthly memberships are $20.
The following piece by Simón Ríos originally aired on WUBR 90.9FM, and was published online at WBUR.org, on March 25th, 2015.Listen here.
A plan unveiled by the city Tuesday evening will give cyclists along a stretch of Commonwealth Avenue protected bike lanes, reshaping one of the busiest corridors in the city to make travel safer.
Hundreds of bikers turned out to the Boston University campus to hear city officials discuss the latest phase in the redesign of Commonwealth Avenue, a $16 million project that includes a 6.5-foot-wide bike lane.
James Gillooly, deputy commissioner of the Boston Transportation Department, said safety for cyclists was critical to the city’s plan, adding that “having a buffer that actually is a physical separation is key to this.”
Here’s how it would look from a cyclist’s point of view: Riding in the bike lane, the sidewalk is to the right and on the left, there’s a row of parked cars. A 3-foot raised buffer separates the cyclists from the parked cars, which also act as a barrier from the busy street.
The redesign will affect the section of Commonwealth Avenue between Naples Road and Amory Street — roughly from Star Market near Packard’s Corner to the Boston University Bridge.
“I cannot wait to ride on these cycle tracks,” said Doug Johnson of the Boston Cyclists Union, who was among dozens of giddy riders and cycling safety advocates speaking in favor of the plan Tuesday evening.
“I used to ride on this part of Comm Ave. every day, and it was always a terrible experience, fearing for my life on a daily basis,” Johnson said. “I just want to thank you so much for what you did. I think this is great.”
Bike safety is a sensitive topic on the BU campus, which is bisected by Commonwealth Avenue. In 2012, Christopher Weigl, a graduate student studying photojournalism, was killed at the intersection of Commonwealth Ave and St. Paul Street. He was 23.
The plan addresses that intersection with a raised crossing to reduce the speed of drivers, as well as a curve in the bike lane to slow down bikers. Those alterations would further address the city’s top goal: to boost the safety of drivers, walkers and bikers alike.
Transportation dollars are already in place for the project, and construction could start next spring.
Seventy-three parking spots would be lost under the proposed plan — a fact that has at least one Boston city councilor, according to The Associated Press, saying the city can’t afford the loss of parking revenue.
Cambridge business owners took a hit this year due to the harsh winter conditions, but the city is trying to encourage residents to shop local with a brand new card game that comes bearing prizes.
The city launched Lovin’ Local raffle card game on March 16 and residents have until Friday, April 3, to participate. To qualify, participants must have local businesses sign at least three of the nine cells on the postcard.
The idea came about after staff at the Cambridge Community Development Department (CDD) heard from local business owners that business dropped on average 30 to 40 percent compared to last winter, according to Pardis Saffari, project planner for the Economic Development Division of CDD.
Deb Colburn, owner of Nomad on Massachusetts Avenue, said the cold, snowy winter kept folks away from shops on Massachusetts Avenue between Porter and Harvard squares. She said business at Nomad dropped around 50 percent in comparison to last winter season.
“It was probably the toughest winter any of us could have ever had,” said Colburn, whose business is participating in Lovin’ Local. “We did half the business we did last year. We were closed five days because of parking bans, and then the T wasn’t running. There was really no where to park.”
How it works
If participants fill at least three cells with three different local businesses, they get one raffle entry, six raffle entries for nine completed cells, and four extra entries into the raffle if they complete a card with a business from each of the city’s commercial districts.
Raffle prizes include, gift cards to local businesses, a one-year Hubway membership, and the grand prize is lunch with Mayor David Maher.
During the first week of the contest, more than 1,000 printed postcards were distributed around the city, and more than 100 were downloaded from the city’s website, Saffari said.
“We hope this will encourage folks to go out and support businesses in Cambridge that make (the city) unique,” Saffari said. “Maybe you’re having a coffee or grabbing something to eat and have businesses sign on the cells.”
Carrissa Blackburn, executive director of Cambridge Local First, said all of the businesses she has spoken with are excited about this new initiative.
“We think it’s a great idea. We love to see when something like this comes around that will be positive for our membership,” Blackburn said, adding that more than 360 businesses are members of Cambridge Local First, a network of independent, locally owned businesses in Cambridge.
Step 1: Shop at a local business.
Step 2: Have the local business sign a cell on the postcard.
Step 3: Take a picture at one business you visited and tweet, Instagram or Facebook it using the hashtag #LovinCambMA. Be sure to tag the business you are visiting.
How to enter the raffle:
Email firstname.lastname@example.org a photo or scanned copy of your completed card with signed cells. Make sure to include your name, phone number and social media information.
Drop off your card to one of the Lovin’ Local boxes located at Cambridge City Hall or Cambridge City Hall Annex. Make sure to fill out your contact information.
Mail the postcard to Cambridge Community Development Department, Economic Development Division, 344 Broadway, 3rd floor, Cambridge, MA 02139.
Postcards can be picked up at the Mayor’s Office, 795 Mass. Ave., Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, and CDD/City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway.
Postcards can also be downloaded online at cambridgema.gov. They are due by noon on Friday, April 3.
For more information, call Saffari at 617/349-4654 or email her at email@example.com.
The following article was originally published by Nicole Dungca in The Boston Globe on March 20th, 2015.
photo credit: Lane Turner, Globe Staff
Nicole Freedman, the director of Boston’s bicycle programs, is leaving the Northeast for the Pacific Northwest after nearly seven years of working to make the city more bike-friendly.
She announced on Friday that she will be moving to Seattle to help lead its major transportation initiatives, including the bike-sharing system.
Freedman, a Wellesley native and former Olympic bicyclist, has been widely credited with changing the culture of cycling in Boston, often considered unsafe and unpopular among bikers.
“It’s been fantastic just to see how far the city has come along,” Freedman said. “When we started, there were no bike lanes in the entire city.”
Freedman helped launch the Boston Bikes program under Mayor Thomas Menino in 2007. Under her leadership, the city created 92 miles of bike lanes and implemented a successful bike-share system, Hubway.
Pete Stidman, director of the Boston Cyclists Union, said Freedman managed to build a “whole raft of programs” with few resources.
“She was in the right place and in the right time, and she was the right person,” he said.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a prepared statement that Freedman was “critical to elevating cycling in the culture” of Boston, and that she leaves behind a lasting impact on the city’s bike programs and infrastructure.
In a goodbye note that she e-mailed to a city government mailing list, Freedman said she was proud of how much her department had accomplished. She also hinted that good news would be coming for bicyclists who regularly travel Commonwealth Avenue.
The following article was originally published by Chris Helms oin Jamaica Plain News on March 20th, 2015.
Add Nicole Freedman’s name to the list of high-level city officials who live in Jamaica Plain decamping for elsewhere.
Freedman, director of Boston Bikes, announced her departure for a similar gig in Seattle on a city listserv.
“I am proud of how much we have accomplished together for cycling here in Boston. Since launching we have added 92 miles of bike lanes and nearly 2,000 bike racks. We have an award winning Community Biking Program which has donated 4,015 bikes and trained 23,000 youth. And of course, the New Balance Hubway system has become a new Boston institution.”
This is the second time Freedman has departed from the post of Boston Bike czar. She left in April 2012 to become executive director of Maine Huts and Trails. She returned to direct Boston Bikes in January 2013.
Play Lovin’ Local
This winter was rough on both Cambridge residents and businesses. The good news is that spring is here. In an effort to encourage increased shopping at Cambridge local businesses, the City of Cambridge is launching the Lovin’ Local raffle card game from March 16 - April 3, 2015. Raffle prizes include, but are not limited to: gift cards to local businesses, a one year Hubway membership, and the grand prize of lunch with the Mayor!
Here’s how it works:
Pick up a game card at one of the following locations:
Follow the rules:
Step 1: Shop at a local business.
Step 2: Have the local business sign a cell on the postcard
Step 3: Take a picture at one (1) business you visited and tweet, Instagram or Facebook a picture using the hashtag #LovinCambMA. Please tag the business you are visiting, too! The picture could be of you, the storefront, the product you bought, or a receipt. For those who are unable to take a picture, a copy of one receipt from a local business you visited will be accepted.
Fill up at least three cells with three (3) different local businesses. 3 completed cells = one (1) raffle entry, 9 completed cells = 6 raffle entries. If you complete a card with a business from each of the Cambridge commercial districts, you get four (4) extra entries into the raffle. For information on Cambridge commercial districts, click here.
There are three ways to enter:
1) Electronically: Email firstname.lastname@example.org a photo or scanned copy of your completed card with signed cells. Make sure your email includes your name, phone number, and social media information.
2) Drop off your card to one of the Lovin’ Local Boxes located at Cambridge City Hall or Cambridge City Hall Annex. Make sure to fill out your contact information.
3) Mail the postcard to Cambridge Community Development Department, Economic Development Division, 344 Broadway, 3rd floor, Cambridge, MA 02139.
Postcards are due by noon on Friday, April 3, 2015.
For more information:
For more information on Lovin’ Local and for additional game information, including any difficulty submitting your entries, please contact Pardis Saffari at 617/349-4654 or email@example.com.
The following article was originally published by Adam Vaccaro on Boston.com on March 3rd, 2015.
For Joel Parker, the Hubway is just the easiest way to get to work. Even in the cold, snowy winter.
Parker lives in North Andover and works at Akamai Technologies in Kendall Square. He comes in to Boston’s North Station on the commuter rail. Taking the Green Line to Park Street, then jumping on the Red Line to Kendall Square is one option; walking to Charles/MGH for a quick train ride across the river is another; or, he can walk across the river to Lechmere, hop on a Hubway bike, and cut straight to Kendall.
Parker is one example of the Boston-area riders who have been using the bike-share system this winter. A February that will be best remembered for its record snow saw 144 Hubway rides per day, according to estimates provided by Hubway spokesperson Benjy Kantor. The system spent several days closed due to snow emergencies last month. With those days aside, it averaged about 194 rides.
Last week, on Wednesday, people took Hubway bikes for a spin 300 times, a February high. In January, Hubway registered about 255 rides per day, with a high of 526 on January 23.
Those are small-ish numbers considering that Hubway registered more than 1.1 million rides in all of 2014. That’s got a lot to do with the fact that in the winter, Hubway stations are only open in one of the four communities in which the system operates. Cambridge’s Hubway stations have stayed open for a second straight winter. Hubway stayed open in Boston through December 31, but closed in Somerville and Brookline after Thanksgiving.
A distinguishing factor of Hubway winter riders, then, is that they are people who need to get around—or at least through—Cambridge.
Those who are riding are also the types who may take the Hubway in other months: 93 percent of users in the winter season—defined as Thanksgiving through April—have been annual Hubway members, with only 7 percent taking out 24- or 72-hour passes, according to Kantor. Over the course of the rest of 2014, 75 percent of users were members, while 25 percent were taking bikes out short-term. That suggests, not surprisingly given the season and its weather, that the system is seeing far less tourism or joy ride use.
Parker, for example, describes himself as an avid cyclist. His membership with Hubway (subsidized by his employer, the $85 annual membership runs him $25) allows him to carry on his suburban biking when he steps off the commuter rail. He takes the Hubway close to every day, and he plans to handle his commute the same come spring, summer, and fall. It will be all the easier, he said, when the Boston stations come back online, and he can get a bike at North Station.
Some in-town bike commuters are also using the Hubway. Joseph Borkowski is a Somerville resident who works at Harvard. He owns a bike, and he rides to work daily. But he started making a 10-minute walk across the Cambridge-Somerville border to Porter Square after the snow started falling this winter. He said the advantage of riding a Hubway bike is that when his ride ends, it’s as simple as putting the bike in the Hubway docks, which Hubway has been keeping clear of snow throughout the season. On his personal bike, with several feet worth of snowbanks crowding bike posts, street signs, and other places to lock up, the price of membership has been worth the convenience.
Arlington resident Saul Jacobowitz, who works at the RunKeeper offices near North Station, is also a year-round bike commuter. In the winter, though, it’s more challenging to make that long haul, he said. RunKeeper provides all employees with a Hubway membership, so Jacobowitz made use of his for a while by hopping in the car and catching a ride with his wife, who drives to Harvard Square for work, and taking a Hubway bike in from there. However, when the Boston stations closed in late December and required him to walk from the edge of Cambridge into work, he started either taking the T from Harvard or strapping his own bike to the back of the car. (Unlike Borkowski, his office has indoor bike storage, so he doesn’t have to worry about the lock-up issue.)
But Jacobowitz has found use for Hubway since. Hubway bikes proved particularly useful for Jacobowitz during the public transit mayhem of February, he said, when he found himself waiting 15 minutes or longer for a train. It was quicker to walk back to Cambridge and take a Hubway bike to meet his wife at Harvard.
Both Borkowski and Jacobowitz said using Hubway has had another advantage over taking their own bikes to work in the winter. Road salt and wet roads don’t mix particularly well with bicycles, and keeping them clean and in good condition is a headache that Borkowski is happy to evade. “My bike’s worn out from the fall,” Borkowski said. “I’m happy to not have to worry about it.”
Overall, Hubway ridership is down from last year in January and February. In 2014, the two months saw 13,681 total rides compared to 11,938 this year.
This year actually saw an 18.8 percent year-over-year ridership increase in January, but a sharp fall-off for February of more than 40 percent. That may be partially traceable to the amount of snow on the ground. Last February, the system was offline for 62 hours due to the weather compared to 140 hours this year. And beyond availability, road conditions just haven’t been all that appealing for cycling in the last 30 days.
Forget a rental car or a taxi: The best way for travelers to explore a city is often on two wheels. And with more than 50 U.S. municipalities offering bike-share programs, it has never been easier for visitors to take to the streets, says Paul DeMaio, a transportation consultant and co-author of the Bike-sharing Blog. “You’re getting to see the sights, see how the city functions and you’re able to cover more ground than by simply walking.” Systems typically allow visitors to rent bikes with a credit card and return them at any station in the operating area. DeMaio shares with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY some of the nation’s best and busiest bike-shares.
With its wealth of students and tourists, Boston’s bike-share system has found a loyal following in the city and nearby towns of Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville. Indeed, its most popular station is on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus. The system even offers subsidized bike-share memberships to low-income residents and to those with weight or health issues if prescribed by a doctor from Boston Medical Center. 855-948-2929; thehubway.com
We’ve had the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Fossil Fuel Age, but this is the dawn of the Bike Age. More and more people are biking— and it’s not just millennials and grizzled men in spandex bike shorts.
Over the last decade, the number of bicycling baby boomers has more than doubled. Bicycling among Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian-Americans has grown even faster than rates among non-Hispanic White Americans. And, even though men on bikes still outnumber women on bikes, more women than ever are enjoying two-wheeled commutes.
In cities that have invested in quality bike infrastructure, up to 45 percent of bicyclists are women. In Tucson, nearly 20 percent of trips within two miles of the University of Arizona are on bikes; that’s one in five trips!
Join folks of every age, race, ethnicity and gender by evolving: Replace some of your fossil-fueled car trips with bike trips. You and your community will notice the benefits. Here are some fun facts and statistics.
» Biking is good for your heart! Individuals who bike commute tend to have lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Bike commuters tend to have healthier insulin levels, too.
» Bike commuting to school or work reduces the risk of obesity in kids and adults. Multiple studies have found that car commuters— even those who were physically active at other times —gained more weight than bike commuters.
» Biking can ease the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.
» Biking makes you younger! Well, almost. One study found that an adult who regularly commutes by bike has a level of fitness equivalent to someone 10 years younger.
» Long car commutes are associated with poor mental health— especially in women. Biking, on the other hand, has been shown to improve self-esteem and overall well being, while increasing tolerance to stress.
» Biking is known to reduce sleep difficulties and tiredness.
» The average American spends more than $8,000 each year on their car and about 64 minutes each day behind the wheel. Wouldn’t you prefer to save some of that money and time by commuting by bike (which will only cost you about $300 each year) [Hubway note: or only $85/year using Hubway]?
» Companies that encourage their employees to bike save significant money on health care costs.
» Multiple business studies have found that customers that arrive by bike visit stores more often than customers who arrive by car. With all of the money they save by not using a car, bicyclists also tend to spend more money each month than drivers.
The following article was originally published by Matt Conti on NorthEndWaterfront.com on February 23rd, 2015.
“Boston Bingo” is a new game to support local businesses recoup after the brutal winter weather. Created by the City of Boston Office of Economic Development, residents fill out a bingo card and submit it either electronically or drop it off at City Hall.
At each location, you need to snap a photo of yourself and tweet, Instagram or post on Facebook the picture AND the hashtag #BosBingo. Feel free to tag the business itself and for extra fun, tag us @NorthEndBoston! Looking at the categories, it wouldn’t take long to make “bingo” just in the North End / Waterfront neighborhood.
“Boston Bingo is a creative way for residents to come together and support our local economy as we continue to recover from the historic amount of snow Boston has received this winter,” said Mayor Walsh in a statement.
You can download a bingo card here or pick one up at local businesses. Boston Bingo prizes include Bruins tickets, Hubway memberships and coffee with Mayor Walsh.
All bingo squares are “open for interpretation” according to the City’s website explaining the rules. Each winning card enters you into a raffle for the prizes. Fill in one line as in traditional bingo or get 7 entries at once by filling in the entire card.
“We are excited to launch Boston Bingo,” said John Barros, Chief of Economic Development. “The weather has taken a toll on small business revenues, making it harder for them to pay their employees, or keep up with the costs of keeping their doors open. It’s so important that we do what we can to support them, and encourage our neighbors to do the same.”
To enter electronically, email firstname.lastname@example.org a photo or a scanned copy of your winning card with the correct cells marked. Make sure your email includes your name, phone number, and social media information (twitter handle, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). For the non-techies, you can bring your paper receipts and bingo card to Room 603 at City Hall. Submissions are due by midnight on March 15, 2015. See the city’s website for more details.
The following article was originally published by Conor Ryan in BostInno on February 23rd, 2015.
In an effort to jumpstart local businesses impacted by nearly 100 inches of snowfall over the past month, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has announced “Boston Bingo” — a game created by his Office of Economic Development that will run through March 15.
As part of the game, residents and visitors can either download a bingo card online or pick up a paper card at businesses around Main Streets districts.
The cards task participants with doing things such as “Grab A Burger” or “Visit Your Local Bookstore.” Submitting a winning card will enter players in a raffle with prizes such as Bruins tickets, a Hubway membership card and coffee with Mayor Walsh up for grabs.
“Boston Bingo is a creative way for residents to come together and support our local economy as we continue to recover from the historic amount of snow Boston has received this winter,” Walsh said in a statement.
Submitting a card with one line completed counts as one entry into a raffle, while a card that is completely filled out will see the player entered into the sweepstakes seven times.
Participants are required to take a photo of each location and post to social media with the hashtag #BosBingo in order to participate in the game electronically. The game also spurs residents to tag businesses in the tweet/Facebook post/etc. in order to boost publicity.
“We are excited to launch Boston Bingo,” said John Barros, Boston’s chief of economic development. “The weather has taken a toll on small business revenues, making it harder for them to pay their employees, or keep up with the costs of keeping their doors open. It’s so important that we do what we can to support them, and encourage our neighbors to do the same.”
This is not the first campaign established in Boston in order to help out slumping business in wake of a historical stretch of snow. Kevin Long, executive chef and partner at Big Night Entertainment Group, introduced the hashtag #DigOutDineOut as a way to get Bostonians out to patronizing local restaurants.
Multiple restaurants have already adopted the #DigOutDineOut moniker, including Strega Waterfront, The Blue Room and Kirkland Tap & Trotter.
The media pays a lot more attention to bicycle and pedestrian fatalities than it does car deaths. If reporters went beyond sensationalism to give commuters more accurate, thorough information, people could make smarter choices about how to get around.
One transportation myth the media often fuels is that driving is unusually safe. Car crashes are actually the nation’s leading cause of death for school-age children, and they’re much more likely than, say, attacks by strangers. Yet while some parents get flack for letting their children walk home unsupervised, thousands drive their children around every day.
Another myth is that bicycling is unusually dangerous. 2014 was great for bicycling, but tough for bicycling in the media. One widely-reported story, based on information from the Governors Highway Safety Association, highlighted an increase in bicycle fatalities. Reporters picked up the story and editors wrote alarming headlines.
The truth is that increased bicycling leads to safer streets with lower fatality rates. This happens so reliably that researchers call it “the safety in numbers effect.” While some did mention that ridership is increasing faster than fatalities, meaning that bicycling is getting safer, nearly every report ran with an alarming headline.
Sometimes, people flat-out omit the facts
Another story, based on a report by researchers at Washington State University, concerned an increased percentage of bicycle-related head injuries in cities with bikeshare (public bike rental) systems. Once again, the media took the bait. This story didn’t even pass the laugh test for cycling advocates, as it’s well known that bikeshare increases cycling and, again, more cycling means safer cycling.
Actually, the Washington State University study was downright misleading: The authors failed to mention that cities with bikeshare saw reductions in all types of injuries, leaving readers to do the math and to tease out the good news buried in the data. The authors—one of whom, F.P. Rivara, was also a source of the myth that cycle helmets are “85 percent effective,” a debunked claim that no longer appears on US government web sites—instead focused on misleading injury percentages, coming to an alarming conclusion.
While it is hard to find fault with reporters for being misled, I do fault them for jumping on yet another bicycle danger story. As of June 2014, the DC and New York City bikeshare systems had recorded 15.75 million trips with no fatalities. This figure flies in the face of the mayhem some predicted would come along with increases in people riding bikes.
Nationally, walking and driving are far more dangerous than transit
Of the 29,000 non-motorcyclist traffic and transit fatalities in the US in 2012, about 23,000 (80%) were people riding in or driving cars, 4,700 (16%) were people walking, 700 (2%) were people cycling, and 200 (1%) were people riding transit.
The only corresponding “mode share” percentages we have come from commuting: In 2012, about 90% of people in the US got to work by car or van, 3% walked, 1% cycled and 5% took transit. We unfortunately don’t have concrete numbers for how people get around outside of work, but the numbers we do have suggest that walking is very dangerous (studies show that suburbs are dangerous places to walk), followed by bicycling, driving and transit.
Personally, I see a disconnect between media coverage and the numbers, with walking and driving under-emphasized. While these numbers are not representative of transit-friendly Alexandria, we are not immune to sketchy reporting. We simply do not have straight-forward information and the information that we do have lacks context.
A good first step would be for reporters to provide monthly tallies of transportation fatalities and locations (the City Paper is working on just a list, with the help of the people behind Struck in DC) instead of gravitating toward stories featuring danger, excitement, and minimal alarm to car-driving readers.
Editors are missing an opportunity by not giving us the information we need to make wise transportation choices based on how we personally balance risk and reward.
The following article was published by Derrick Z. Jackson in the Boston Globe on February 8th, 2015.
I DID SOMETHING here I am scared to death to do in Boston: I bicycled on a weekday in the city’s most bustling business district.
It was a feat made possible by Seattle’s first protected downtown cycling track. The two-way lane — about as wide as a normal car lane — is on the left side of Second Avenue, a southbound, one-way thoroughfare. The track is only three-quarters of a mile long, but after its unveiling in September, the city said the number of daily cyclists on the avenue tripled to some 1,000.
The new path replaced the more traditional style painfully familiar to those in Boston and Cambridge who dare cycle Massachusetts Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue, or downtown — a skinny unprotected painted stripe wedged in between a speeding car lane and swerving curbside parking. The old version was constantly blocked by delivery trucks, drivers dropping off passengers, or desperate coffee drinkers in Starbucks land. It was “death-defying,” in the words of John Pucher, a cycling researcher at Rutgers, who rode down Second Avenue about a year and half ago. “I almost got killed five or six times,” Pucher declared in a subsequent speech to Seattle cycling advocates.
Second Avenue’s reputation got so bad that Mayor Ed Murray made it a priority to redesign it. He seconded his seriousness last summer by hiring Scott Kubly as transportation director. Known for his self-described “progressive transportation initiatives,” Kubly is a former director of Alta Bicycle Share (now called Motivate), the parent company of Boston’s Hubway. He’d worked in the Chicago and Washington, D.C., transit departments as those cities elevated cycling’s profile in commuting.
The redesign was certainly progressive. The bike track replaced the old parking lane, and parking and deliveries were moved over into a traffic lane that flexes between rush-hour driving and off-peak parking. The bike track further is protected from traffic for many stretches by plastic posts known as “bollards.”
At intersections, there are separate traffic lights for cyclists to continue and for cars turning left across the bike track. There is also a separate traffic light for pedestrians to cross without getting hit by either cars or cycles. Cyclists I hailed at stop lights told me the difference between the old and new lane was night-and-day, or more accurately, nightmare and daylight from danger.
Second Avenue is only one example of Seattle’s efforts to be truly bike-friendly. The city plans 33 more miles of protected lanes by 2019. For the last two years, the national cycle advocacy group People for Bikes has ranked the 10 best new protected bike lanes in America, and in total, Seattle had four — the most in the nation. Second Avenue was one, and I rode on another, Broadway Avenue. Despite classic Seattle winter dimness and rain, I rode through a busy collegiate, cafe, and residential district with no worry about being sideswiped by a sliding car.
“Seattle’s really leading in quick implementation,” said Martha Roskowski, a vice president for People for Bikes, based in Boulder, Colo. “They’re on an aggressive timeline.”
It is a timeline that should prod Boston likewise to speed up its pace for installing protected lanes. Like Seattle, the city’s urban core is bursting with new dense developments, virtually mandating more walkability, cycling, and transit use. People for Bikes has suggested that Boston has “more potential for bike improvements than any other large city in the United States.” But none of the group’s celebrated new protected bike lanes are in Boston’s metropolitan area — while Chicago had three, and San Francisco and Memphis had two apiece.
That could soon change. One potential catalyst is a plan to modernize Commonwealth Avenue between the BU Bridge and Packard’s Corner in Allston. The city’s original blueprint showed no protected bike lanes — despite the road’s reputation for being as dangerous as Second Avenue plus a massive population of students, a natural bike constituency. In the city’s 2013 report on cyclist safety, one of Boston’s most dangerous sections, with nearly 30 collisions between 2009-2012, was a short stretch of Commonwealth Avenue near Boston University’s Agganis Arena.
The city went back to the drawing board after an outcry by advocates, media criticism, and an impassioned public meeting two months ago at Boston University where more than 100 citizens showed up despite a nor’easter. A new draft, shown to me by deputy transportation commissioner James Gillooly and Boston Bikes director Nicole Freedman, now shows a protected bike track on each side of Commonwealth Avenue. Similar to Second Avenue, the track goes alongside the curb in the old parking lane, parking will be moved out next to traffic, and cyclists and parked cars will be separated by posts or some other form of raised buffer.
“The process has been a great lesson on how fast the era of cycling has grown,” Gillooly said. “There are many trade-offs when you do this kind of redesign, and you want to be careful you’re not asking too much of drivers, delivery trucks, and other traditional users of the same roadway. But with so many bicycles now, the highest priority is safety.”
This new priority is a critical, welcome shift. There are other important bike-track projects on the horizon, from the downtown historic district to Roxbury. Yet, in many ways, Commonwealth Avenue is the first major test of whether Boston’s goal of increasing bike commuting fivefold to 10 percent by 2020 or realizing its 30-year-plan for a European-style cycle network is for real.
After all, the avenue is one of the widest, straightest, and most heavily traveled streets in the city. If a safe throughway for bikes cannot be put there, it’s hard to imagine it anywhere else. Safe cycle tracks on Commonwealth will speed the day when cycle tracks are, in fact, common.
And Seattle knows the price for failing to do so is too high.
As two-wheeled commuters dismounted amid the city’s tallest office towers, I rode Seattle’s Hubway-like Pronto! bike share from one iconic tourist zone to another, from the smoked salmon stands at Pike Place Market to the art galleries, cafes, and gold rush history in Pioneer Square.
At one corner, Second and University Street, a tragic shrine symbolized the need for such a lane. A white-painted bike was chained in a slumped angle to a post. It was a “ghost bike” to remember a cyclist killed at the corner by a driver turning in front of her. The accident occurred less than two weeks before the updated track opened, taking the life of 31-year-old civil rights attorney Sher Kung. Kung had gained renown for representing a lesbian military nurse against discharge in the “don’t-ask-don’t-tell” era.
As Sam Woods, head of pedestrian and bicycle programs for the city’s transportation department recalled, “On the day of the grand opening I asked one woman who was riding on the new bike lane how she liked it — she was in tears and said that she had been riding on the bike lane for the past three years. This was the first time she felt safe.” Now is the time to make a safer future for Boston’s cyclists, too.
TransitScreen Installed at 3 Public Buildings in Cambridge, Mass.
The screens show the real-time arrival and departure times of buses, shuttles and trains, and the availability of Hubway bicycles at specific locations around town.
The City of Cambridge, Massachusetts, has installed informational TransitScreen displays at three public buildings with support from a Healthy Aging Grant from the Massachusetts Councils on Aging, as part of the Mass in Motion program.
Partnering with the Cambridge Council on Aging and Cambridge Public Health Department, the city’s community development department conducted a series of community meetings with seniors focusing on “usability, mobility and accessibility” to transit. The goal was to engage seniors in a discussion about their experiences with public transit, including challenges, barriers and opportunities.
Based on the feedback from these meetings, the city implemented a series of efforts, including the installation of TransitScreen displays at three locations in Cambridge: the front window of the Citywide Senior Center, the lobby at Cambridge City Hall and the Cambridge Public Library. The goal is to make transportation information more accessible, viewable and engaging so that commuters, visitors, residents, and employees can make informed transit choices.
TransitScreen shows the real-time arrival and departure times of buses, shuttles, trains and the availability of Hubway bicycles at specific locations around town.
“Providing easy access to live, real-time transit information is an important step forward in encouraging residents and visitors to use the subway, bus and bikeshare systems in Cambridge,” Cambridge city manager Richard C. Rossi said. “Cambridge has a strong commitment to promoting sustainable transportation to meet the mobility needs of the city.”
The following article by Nicole Dungca was originally published in the Boston Globe on January 22nd, 2015.
To relieve traffic congestion in the quickly growing South Boston Waterfront, the state and city should improve the Silver Line, give drivers access to a restricted service road, and place new Hubway stations in the neighborhood, according to a report released this week.
The South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Plan was put together by a coalition of city and state agencies whose members say they will work toward adopting those suggestions and others to address the rapid growth and increasing congestion in the neighborhood.
“This is laying out a blueprint and identifying strategies so we don’t see that economic opportunity stall, and we find a way to address those mobility issues,” said Rick Dimino, the executive director of A Better City, the nonprofit that managed the study.
The South Boston Waterfront has been one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the state, adding more than 4,100 new residents, 7,700 jobs, and 10 million square feet of development from 2000 to 2013, according to the report. Another 17 million square feet of development is underway or planned for the next two decades.
The intense growth has become a challenge for the area, known for heavy traffic congestion during peak hours, a headache for drivers, and a deterrent for some cyclists. The report says the transportation challenges are expected to get worse, with trips to and from the waterfront projected to increase by 63 percent by 2035.
The report points out several issues, including packed Silver Line buses that often frustrate commuters who cannot board. Currently, the MBTA has the capacity to shuttle about 3,900 passengers through the South Boston Waterfront during the peak hours of the morning commute, and about half of those seats are on the Silver Line, according to the report.
The report makes the following immediate recommendations:
■ Consolidate private shuttles used by businesses in the neighborhood;
■ Improve signals for the Silver Line at D Street;
■ Provide real-time arrival information for the Silver Line;
■ Install more Hubway stations near major company offices, including Thomson Place, the Procter & Gamble offices at Gillette Park, and Channel Center;
■ Open the South Boston Bypass Road to cars for a trial period of six months.
During the trial period, drivers would have 24-hour access in both directions of the bypass road between Richards Street and West Service Road. The eastbound stretch of the road, between West Service Road and Interstate 93, would be open to traffic during peak morning hours.
The six-month trial would also give all vehicles access to the northbound HOV lane on Interstate 93 to the Ted Williams Tunnel.
The report also includes longer-term recommendations and infrastructure investments, including expanding ferry service to North Station and reopening or replacing the Northern Avenue Bridge, which was closed in December.
The report also suggests the MBTA acquire a minimum of 60 new Silver Line buses to help meet demand.
A Better City, a nonprofit backed by business and civic institutions, led the yearlong effort to compile the report. Officials from MassPort, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, and the Boston Redevelopment Authority pitched in $250,000 each for the study, with private companies adding about $110,000.
Vivien Li, president of the Boston Harbor Association, praised the report, saying it rightfully focuses on more than just cars.
“It’s unusual that it’s not only road-oriented,” she said.
Jon Ramos, the head of advocacy group Southie Bikes, said the report excels at outlining what is wrong with bicycle infrastructure in the neighborhood: The report noted that restaurant-related delivery activity creates conflict between drivers and cyclists along Seaport Boulevard at night, for example.
But Ramos said some of the language in the report is too vague. Instead of specifically recommending a cycle track, which would separate car and bike traffic on a portion of Summer Street, for example, the report asks for the “highest level of bike accommodation.”
“The advocates will just have to continue to apply pressure for these things,” Ramos said.
Dimino said he understands those concerns but promises officials from the agencies involved in the report will continue to listen to policy and infrastructure suggestions.
“One of the things we want to make perfectly clear is that this is not a static document,” he said. “It’s a living document, and we’re looking forward to working with stakeholders in the area to make sure we help improve access to the economy and a better quality of life.”
The following is an excerpt from an article originally published in the Newsmax on January 20th, 2015.
Nature lovers looking for Boston travel tips can still find ways to enjoy the outdoors in this busy city.
Here are seven places to enjoy in and around Boston.
2. Biking throughout Boston is great for sightseeing, including a view of city and bits of nature, such as parks and tree-lined streets.
The Minuteman Bikeway stretches 11 miles and allows bikers, roller bladers, joggers, and walkers. Pass by Spy Pond and Arlington’s Great Meadows. Or take advantage of the Hubway, the city’s bike-sharing network that allows you to arrange pickup and dropoff of bikes in the city.
The following article by Ignacio Laguarda was originally published in the Brookline Tab on January 15th, 2015.
Selectman Neil Wishinsky thinks the Hubway bike-sharing system has been a success in Brookline, but he wants to make it better.
That’s why he recently asked the Board of Selectmen to create an ad-hoc committee to look at ways to add more stations in town. The board agreed.
With only four stations — Coolidge Corner, Washington Square, Brookline Village and JFK Crossing — Brookline has the fewest number of any of the four communities who participate in the program. The other communities are Boston, Cambridge and Somerville, and both Boston and Cambridge have stations in the double digits.
Like the other communities in the Boston-area system, Brookline owns its stations and the bicycles. Each station costs about $40,000, and the town also has to pay for the bikes and operating costs.
At a meeting of the Bicycle Advisory Committee in February 2014, Wishinksy told the committee that the town incurs a deficit of between $20,000 and $30,000 annually to run the Hubway system. That has been paid with the help of grants, but with money running out, the town is hoping to find a way to make the system self-sustaining.
With an override looming, it is unlikely the town will spend its money on new stations.
“I don’t think there will be any funds available from the town’s general fund, especially going into an override,” said Wishinsky.
One of the biggest tasks for the committee will be to look at ways to increase revenue to help pay for the system, and ultimately help pay for more stations.
Users of the system can buy a short-term pass of 24 hours for $6, or 72 hours for $12, or a $20 month-long pass, or a yearly membership for $85. Usage fees still apply for all models if you ride one of the bikes for longer than 30 minutes.
A portion of those fees go to the town, said Wishinsky.
Another source of revenue for Brookline comes in the form of sponsorships on the bicycles. Currently, New Balance is the sponsor of Hubway in Brookline, Somerville and Boston.
Wishinsky expects the committee to look at public/private partnerships and opportunities for increasing membership, as well as ideas for changing the operating model so it costs less to run the system.
“As we expand, and as the stations in Brookline become more connected, we can get more members within Brookline,” said Wishinsky.
Wishinsky suggested filling the board with a member of the Transportation Board, one from the Bicycle Advisory Committee, a member of the Advisory Committee, one to three citizens including a user of Hubway, and a selectman.
“That would help us in our goal to keep Hubway sustaining and growing and be a full participant in the Hubway regional concept,” said Wishinsky, at the Selectmen meeting. He said the bikes in the Brookline Hubway system are “very heavily used.”
Joe Viola of Brookline’s Planning Department was reached for comment on this story but did not respond. Viola is the Brookline official who has worked closely with the Hubway system.
Cambridge is currently the only city with Hubway bikes, since the other communities have taken down their stations for the winter. One of the reasons the stations are taken down, at least in Brookline, is the cost of running them, Wishinsky said.
Wishinsky said the most problematic station has been Washington Square, because it’s at the end of the system and is sometimes out of bikes. Each station has 15 bikes. Users can rent the bikes at the automated stations, either paying for a long-term or short-term plan.
Because users are not required to return the bike to the station where they found it, the bikes end up in different locations. Some people may ride a bike into the city and return it to the same station, but that doesn’t happen every time.
Scott Englander, a member of the Transportation Board who also uses the Hubway bikes occasionally, said more stations could only make the system better.
He said he’s heard reports from people who told him they can’t count on the Hubway system, because they can’t be sure there will be a bicycle available at a certain station, and conversely, if they plan on dropping off a bike, they don’t know if the station is at capacity and they won’t be able to drop it off.
“In Brookline, what few stations means is if one station that you’re counting on doesn’t have bikes or docks, then there’s not one nearby that you could use an alternative,” he said.
The following article was originally published by Dennis Keohane in the BetaBoston on November 19th, 2014.
Hubway announced today that it will allow riders to use the system in Boston far longer than in years past, keeping several stations open through December 31, depending on weather conditions. In Cambridge, which tested the service last winter, a number of Hubway locations will remain open throughout the entire winter.
Today, Hubway released information on which stations that will remain open in Boston between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the one that will stay open all winter in Cambridge.
The following editorial was originally published in the Boston Globe on November 13th, 2014.
A BIKE ride in the twilight of a snowy December afternoon is unlikely to save the planet, in and of itself. But it’s a step — or a pedal turn — in the right direction, eliminating at least some car trips during Boston’s grinding rush hour commutes and undoubtedly contributing to the fitness of riders out for a short errand or a longer spin.
So it’s good news for Boston that Hubway, the popular bike share program, is extending its season in the city to Dec. 31, and will reopen on March 1 of next year — a month earlier than in the past. In Cambridge, meanwhile, Hubway will be available to riders all winter long at most stations for the second year in a row.
The longer season builds on Cambridge’s pilot project last year, when the city logged about 2,000 rides a week from December through March — about 15 percent to 20 percent of ordinary usage, according to the city, with no crashes. “It was a very tough winter, and counter to what you might expect, we were very happy about it,” Cara Seiderman, Cambridge’s transportation manager, told the Globe earlier this year.
Officials offer a few cautionary notes: there will be fewer stations open in Boston, because those in the way of snowplows will have to be removed, according to Nicole Freedman, director of the city’s Boston Bikes program. And Brookline and Somerville are wrapping up Hubway operations on Nov. 26.
But the overall trend toward a longer Hubway season is encouraging evidence that cycling is becoming a normal, year-round mode of transportation, even in some of the most congested — and some of the coldest — cities in North America. In 2013, Toronto found that although winter ridership declined, there were still an average of 380 trips per bike share station in January, compared to 1,040 in August. Chicago’s Divvy bike share program logged 62,450 trips during a decidedly bitter winter this year, compared to the 280,000 trips the previous fall. In fact, Chicago’s Active Transportation Alliance released a report that found overall average winter bike ridership is still 40 percent of summer ridership. Washington D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare’s winter volumes were also 40 percent of summer usage, despite “a downright New-Englandish winter,” according to an e-mail from Darren Buck, bicycle program specialist for the city.
Their success speaks to the popular demand for more transportation options — and suggests that Hubway is headed in the right direction.
The following article was originally published by Marc Levy in Cambridge Day on November 6th, 2014.
For the second year in a row, the Hubway bike rental system will stay available to riders throughout winter at almost all Cambridge stations. Last year, the city piloted year-round Hubway service, recording more than 35,000 rides from December through March despite the harsh winter.
“Cambridge broke new ground last year with our first-in-the-region winter operation of a bike share system,” City Manager Richard C. Rossi said in a press release. “We are pleased to be able to build on last year’s success by continuing to offer this sustainable transportation option throughout the coming winter season.”
Almost all stations in Cambridge will remain operational through the winter, though stations at Lafayette Square and Main Street and Dana Park will be removed from the street for the season to make way for snow plows. All station updates will be posted on the station map here, on the Hubway Tracker site and on the Spotcycle smartphone app. Annual members may continue to use the Cambridge stations during the season at no additional cost, and 24-hour, 72-hour and monthly passes will be available for purchase as usual.
While Hubway remaining open during winter months can be essential for riders, the number of rides the system saw last winter is low compared with warmer months, said Benjy Kantor, marketing manager for Hubway. The 35,000 is about what the entire system might see during a single warm summer week – although Cambridge’s stations represent only about 20 percent of the system anyway.
For the first time, a reduced number of stations in Boston – approximately 60 of them – will remain open through December, city officials said, but Hubway stations in Somerville will start closing in mid-November and be closed entirely as of Nov. 26. (Brookline stations follow a similar calendar.) The entire 140-station, 1,300-bike system is expected to re-open in March or early April, depending on the weather.
Somerville and Brookline “definitely are interested” in keeping stations open during the winter, Kantor said, “but there are different concerns for different municipalities. Costs are an issue.”
In addition, initial licensing was done for three seasons, and extending Hubway use beyond those nine months would call for renegotiated contracts in Somerville and Brookline, he said.
As was the case last year, snow removal at Cambridge stations will be part of the daily responsibilities of the Hubway field staff, in addition to the daily rebalancing of the system to meet demand cycles, Cambridge officials said.
Rossi had a final warning for users: During extreme inclement weather conditions, Hubway may close the system temporarily, with public announcements made via social media and the Hubway’s website. Station alerts will also be emailed to annual and monthly Hubway members, and all riders can consult the Spotcycle app to learn whether bicycles are available. In the event of a system closing, riders will be able to return bikes to all stations securely, but will not be able to check bikes out.
Plus: A few Boston stations will remain open through December.
The following article was originally published by Melissa Malamut in Boston Magazine on November 6th, 2014.
For the second year in a row, almost all of the Cambridge Hubway stations will remain open during the winter season. Boston stations, however, will not.
Station shutdowns will begin in mid-November, finishing with Brookline and Somerville on Wednesday, November 26. But, for the first time, a select number of Boston stations will remain open through December. The exact station list is still to come, and we will update this post when it is available. As usual, the entire system is scheduled to re-open in March or early April, depending, of course, on the unpredictable New England weather.
Hubway reports that last year, the piloted Cambridge year-round program had about 35,000 rides during the harsh, Polar Vortex-infused winter months from December through March.
“Cambridge broke new ground last year with our first-in-the-region winter operation of a bike share system,” said Cambridge City Manager Richard C. Rossi in a statement. “We are pleased to be able to build on last year’s success by continuing to offer this sustainable transportation option throughout the coming winter season.”
Although almost all of the Cambridge stations will remain in use, the Lafayette Square/Main Street and Dana Park locations will be removed from the street, Hubway officials say, in order to accommodate snow plowing.
Station updates will be posted on the station map at thehubway.com/stations.
Annual members may continue to use the Cambridge stations during the season at no additional cost. 24-hour, 72-hour, and monthly passes will be available for purchase as usual.
The following article was originally published by Zeninjor Enwemeka on WBUR.org on November 6th, 2014.
BOSTON — Hubway riders in Cambridge will be able to continue riding throughout the winter again this year, the bike-sharing program announced Thursday.
Last year, the city piloted a program to operate year-round, and despite the winter temps there were over 35,000 rides from December through March.
This winter, almost all stations in Cambridge will remain open. Stations at Lafayette Square/Main Street and Dana Park, however, will be removed to accommodate snow plowing operations. Hubway staff will continue to remove snow as needed at the other stations. The Hubway system may be closed at times in the winter due to inclement weather.
As we reported last week, winter service is also expanding in Boston. Last year, all Boston Hubway stations closed in late November. This year Boston Hubway riders will be able to continue using the bike share system through the end of December — though there will be a reduced number of stations in operation. The city is in the process of mapping out which stations will remain open for the extended winter service, but expects to have about 50 to 60 (of approximately 140) stations operating, according to Boston Bikes director Nicole Freedman.
“For the most part anything that is on-street needs to get removed,” Freedman said. “A few of them we’ll be able to find alternative locations for. I think we’ll probably be close to our original starting size of 60 [stations].”
Freedman said all Hubway stations located on property owned by the Department of Conservation and Recreation will be removed, though the city will also try to relocate those stations if possible.
Brookline and Somerville will close down their Hubway systems on November 26.
The entire Hubway system — in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville — is expected to re-open in March or early April, depending on the weather.
This year, the 5th Annual Boston Local Food Festival will be taking place on Sunday, September 14th, from 11am-5pm on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. In addition to featuring a wide variety of local food vendors, demos from local chefs, a DIY station, live music and more, the festival also strives to be a zero waste event.
When a festival or event is “zero waste,” it means that 90% of the waste is recycled, reduced or reused, and thus it also means that the event strives to leave the smallest possible impact on the environment. The Boston Local Food Festival works in various ways to achieve this goal, one of which involves its close partnership with long-time festival partner and sponsor, Save That Stuff (STS). STS is a Boston-based, company leading in Zero Waste Services. Each year, STS sets up Zero-Waste Stations throughout the festival that are all equipped with separate bins for compost, commingled recycling, and trash. They also provide the necessary training and resources to festival staff to ensure their continued success in this mission.
Vendors, exhibitors and attendees also play a huge role in achieving zero waste. Vendors and exhibitors assist by only serving on biodegradable dishes, by using as many recyclable materials as possible, and by composting any food scraps. Festival goers can contribute by bringing their own forks, spoons and, reusable bags. No bottle water will be sold on-site, so attendees are encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottles as well! The Sustainable Business Network of MA has partnered with Boston Water and Sewer Commission this year to provide free, local water to all attendees from their travelling water truck! Attendees can also help reduce their impact on the environment at Boston Local Food Festival by walking, cycling or taking public transportation to the festival, and by signing up as a zero-waste volunteer.
Boston Local Food Festival’s zero-waste volunteers are crucial to minimizing waste by maximizing composting and recycling during the festival. They stand by the disposal bins to educate the crowd about where waste should and should not go, as well foresee that all festival-goers are disposing of their waste correctly.
This year, the Boston Local Food Festival is looking to increase the amount of waste they diverted in 2013, making it yet another successful zero waste event. In addition to that, and in an effort to be even greener, they have partnered up with Hubway to provide an easy and eco-friendly way for attendees get to and from the festival. There are multiple Hubway stations located in the area so grab your water bottle, jump on a bike and come join in on the fun! Learn more about Boston Local Food Festival on their website at BostonLocalFoodFestival.org!
The following article was originally published by Morgan Rousseau, in Metro Boston on August 25th, 2014.
A bike design contest spanning Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville is close to adding a unique new design to Hubway’s fleet of more than 1,300 bikes.
Now, Hubway has narrowed down its five top picks, and the company is asking the public to weigh in on the winning design.
Designers were asked to submit their visual design ideas without altering the hardware and functionality of the bike. The five finalist designs include tributes to the Charles River and Boston’s patriotic history as well as an “Everyday Waterbike” honoring the city’s many waterfront attractions.
The winning design will be turned into a limited edition, one-of-a-kind, “unicorn” Hubway bike that will hit the streets this fall. Voting will run through Sept. 9. and can be done online at www.thehubway.com.
Those who vote are in the running to win a free annual Hubway membership, which typically costs $85, while the winning designer will get their bike design entered into the fleet with their @twitter handle included as well as the opportunity to be the first to ride it.
The following article was originally published by Steve Annear, in Boston Magazine on August 25th, 2014.
And then there were five.
In mid-July, Hubway turned to riders for a special project, asking those who frequent the system to help them design a new “unicorn” bike—that’s a rare, one-of-a-kind bicycle like the one with former Mayor Tom Menino’s name on it—to slip into their fleet of 1,300 rides.
The theme of the competition, called the “Hubway Everyday Bike Design Contest,” was simple, yet locally inspired, with just one major guideline: contestants had to include the hashtag #HubwayEveryday in their design concept.
After receiving 20 entries for the competition, a panel of experts from the bike-sharing company’s various communities filtered the finalists down to just five top choices, leaving it up to the public to select the grand-prize winner.
In an email sent out Monday afternoon, Hubway representatives shared the five final designs that made it to through the end of the competition. They include a bike with an MBTA map and logo etched on the side; a bike with a layout of the Charles River and Emerald Necklace, a popular biking spot; a bike bursting with bright blue hues, featuring a spinning water wheel; a basic green bike with key points where Hubway bikes are located, and one with an argyle pattern made of patriotic symbols and red, white, and blue.
To pick which bike should become part of Hubway’s lineup, users can vote online through Tuesday, September 9, just before midnight. But choose wisely, because you can only vote once.
Not only will the winner have their design featured on one of the bikes traveling between the four cities and towns that have Hubway docking stations, they will also have the honor of their name —or Twitter handle—appearing on the bike, putting them in the ranks with Menino.
Nine weeks ago, I lost my fancy hybrid street/trail bike to one of San Francisco’s plentiful bicycle thieves. Seven weeks ago, in preparation for a big move east, I sold my car. Now I’m settling into a new apartment in Cambridge, MA, and for the first time in my adult life, I don’t own a set of wheels.
It’s a strange feeling—both disorienting, since it takes a little longer to figure out how to go places, and liberating, since I no longer need to pay for gas or worry about where to park my car or lock my bike. At the moment, I have no plans to buy a new car, and I’m not even sure if I’ll get a new bike. Thanks to the Boston area’s extensive public transportation system and its dense vehicle-sharing network, I don’t really need them…
Tom Davis writes about personal finance – including tips to save money and time, and increase productivity.
Bike share companies are popping up all over the country to provide residents with quick and affordable transportation. However, these fleets of bicycles offer a lot more than an alternative ride home - they’re an excellent solution for companies looking to provide community-boosting employee benefits. Check out these six reasons why you should consider joining a bike share program and subsidizing the price of membership for your employees.
1. Reduce Transit Concerns
Major metropolitan areas aren’t known for quick-moving traffic during rush hour. Many employees struggle to get to work in the morning, fighting traffic jams and unexpected accidents. Even folks taking public transport have to leave home early to account for traffic and multiple stops along the way.
For any employees living within cycling-distance of the office, bike share programs provide them the opportunity to breeze past traffic jams and speed up their daily commutes. According to research gathered in London, many users replace public transport with cycling, and reduce their commute time by 20% as a result. Not to mention, the more people using bikes to travel to and from work, the fewer people there are on the roads jamming them up.
2. Support a Green Environment
Bike share programs also support a greener environment by reducing air pollution. As more people ride bikes to and from work, to run errands, or tour the city, fewer cars are on the roads emitting noxious gas. In a time where a company’s carbon footprint is every bit as important as an individual’s, supporting your employees’ pro-environment habits can seriously boost your company image.
3. Encourage More Activity
My background is in exercise science - in fact, I have two degrees in the field. I can say confidently that the activity level of the majority of Americans ranges from poor to very poor. Apart from affecting physical health, this is also associated with mental health, productivity, memory, and mood. If you can promote activity amongst your staff, you’re likely to end up with a group of individuals who get more done and maintain a better attitude than their less-active peers. Who wouldn’t want that?
4. Improve Employee Health
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, adults should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity the majority of the week to maintain health and ward off chronic disease. By making it easy for your employees to ride a bike on their commutes, take a mid-day cycle with co-workers, or run errands with their bikes, you’re supporting their ability to achieve those recommended levels of physical activity.
And guess what? If your staff members exercise more, they’re less likely to get sick. And, if they don’t get sick as frequently, your health insurance rates could go down. It’s a win-win for everyone.
5. Enhance the Workplace Atmosphere
The great thing about having a fleet of bicycles available at your fingertips is it becomes incredibly easy to organize health-focused workplace outings. Schedule a weekly group ride through a local park, or organize a monthly restaurant trip for those willing to ride a bike there. The more you support a fun, relationship-building environment, the more likely your employees are to actually enjoy work.
Encouraging this type of outing may inspire your employees to organize their own trips during the day. For instance, rather than driving five blocks to a print shop and spending 20 minutes looking for parking, they may grow accustomed to grabbing their bikes, running the errand, and returning - all in less time than it would have taken to drive, park, and re-park.
6. Support Local Businesses
According to research conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, a bike share program in the Twin Cities resulted in a spending increase near bike share stations of approximately $150,000 over the course of the season. Much of that increase was attributed to restaurants, coffee bars, grocery stores, and nightclubs. Essentially, those using the bike share program were more likely to head out to, and spend more at, local eateries. Companies looking to support their local economy should take these results into account when considering a bike share program.
Getting involved in a bike share program is usually easy, and, from a benefits standpoint, quite affordable. Bike share companies want to work with businesses, so they often provide a discount for each employee enrolled. For instance, Hubway typically costs $85 per year for an individual, but the price is reduced to $50 when a company signs up for a corporate account. Split that price between company and employee, and both parties get a deep discount. When you compare the cost to other benefits, such as gym memberships or employee meals, its advantages become very clear.
Do you have a bike share program in your area? Have you tried it out? Over 175 companies take part in Hubway’s Corporate Accounts program, providing memberships for their employees, offering health benefits, commuting options, and another fun way to stay active and get to work or anywhere else around town. Want to sign your company up? Visit the Corporate Member info page here.
This article is was originally published in the Strat Farm blog on July 14th, 2014.
If America’s major metropolises were competing in the Tour de France of health and wellness policymaking, then we would be inclined to believe that Boston would be leading the peloton (image above via The Hubway). The city is now allowing doctors to prescribe discounted bike share memberships to low-income residents. While this is certainly a victory for the social mobility of struggling citizens – studies, including this one, have found that access to transportation increases the odds that a disadvantaged child can work their way into a higher income bracket by the age of 30 – the ramifications for health and technology are even more radical.
The day could come very soon when a doctor might be able to prescribe a connected bike-share program (or really any lifestyle change), and then leverage wearable technology to track a patient’s progress and adherence to the program. As the device collects data, it could be funneled back to an app that tracks and calculates the various benefits of different activities in biometrics like heart rate.
The synthesis of measurement and feedback could empower and motivate the patient, perhaps by helping them to identify what levels and types of activity provide the biggest results in terms of health improvement. Measurements could be put into a game designed by wellness experts to challenge participants as well as to motivate them to compete against each other. All of these technological advances, working in concert, could represent a quantum leap in prevention of a host of problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Making these ideas work will involve a number of players, and will depend on the robustness of the strategies underneath them. Fitness experts and physicians can provide the know-how on extracting and interpreting health data. Hardware designers can create the next generation of bio-measuring technology to capture measurements accurately, and software developers will be crucial to figuring out how to house, process, and present the results. And just as crucially, advertising and marketing experts can share the consumer insights necessary to ensure adoption at scale – and of course, to help sell the concept to health care providers and users themselves.
The benefits from this arrangement will echo back to brands in astounding ways. This data will provide unprecedented consumer insight, on individual and demographic levels. Brands will have the opportunity to develop more personalized experiences that effectively influence buyer’s decisions and generate greater loyalty. The quiet revolution in data driven development is here, arriving – not coincidentally – at the peak of consumer interest in wellness.
There are sure to be unforeseen issues that arise with Boston’s embrace of bike-sharing as a health management tool. But innovative policies like this are a brave sally at creating solutions to a host of medical and social ills. When technology, marketing, and enterprise get savvy to integrated wellness, we’ll all be a lot closer to addressing some of the biggest quality-of-life questions of the 21st century.
The following excerpt is from an article that was originally published by Sara Fiejo in Wicked Local Cambridge on June 23rd, 2014.
According to Bill Deignan, the city’s transportation program manager, a Hubway station will be installed within the next month at the Alewife Station near the headhouse at Russell Field and Rindge Avenue.
Additional stations will be built at the Fresh Pond Water Treatment Plant and other locations in late 2014 or early 2015, he said.
This article is was originally published by Martine Gomes in The Boston Globe on June 22nd, 2014.
If it was going to happen, it was going to happen in Cambridge.
In recent weeks, a new traffic signal has appeared on Cambridge’s Western Avenue, between Massachusetts Avenue and Memorial Drive, to accompany the new separated cycle track recently finished in a round of construction.
What makes this signal special? It’s specific to bikes, and each of the lights on the signal shows a little red, yellow, or green bicycle to indicate exactly when cyclists are expected to stop or proceed through the roadway.
It is the kind of thing that has become much more common in bike-crazy European cities such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen, or in hippy-dippy US counterparts like Portland, Ore., or Austin, Texas. Now, the People’s Republic of Cambridge appears to be wading into these experimental traffic engineering waters.
“Only in Cambridge,” wrote Edgar Dworsky, a resident who lives a few blocks away and e-mailed to point out the existence of the new signal.
The new Western Avenue bike signal is not the first traffic light in Cambridge installed for the sake of bike riders. The city has two other bike-specific traffic lights — one in Harvard Square, the other in Porter Square — that both aim to help cyclists turn left safely at dicey intersections. But both those traffic signals feature regular round red, yellow, and green lights, with a sign that indicates that they are meant for bike riders.
The Western Avenue signal is timed so that cyclists get a green light a few moments before their vehicular counterparts headed toward Memorial Drive; that way, cyclists have several seconds of a head start to get out ahead of the cars and become more visible to motorists, especially motorists turning right who may not think to look for cyclists approaching on their right side.
Additionally, signals like this one address one of the biggest gripes motorists have with bike riders: that they’re constantly running red lights. For cyclists, there can be no confusion whether they’re expected to stop at a red light when that light shows a little bicycle. Many engineers believe that when cyclists are assured that a traffic light is targeted at them and designed to protect their safety, they’re much more likely to wait for their rightful turn to proceed through the intersection.
It may not be long before residents see more of these signals — and not just in Cambridge. Boston officials say they are looking to install a bicycle traffic light in the near future; the idea is included in Boston Bike Network Plan, a blueprint released last year that outlines the city’s long-term plans for bike infrastructure.
This article is was originally published as part of a slideshow by Adam Kroopnick (photos by Dan Justa) for Bicycling Magazine on May 21st, 2014.
The repair facility for Boston’s Hubway bike share program is not your neighborhood bike shop. The 30,000-square-foot former metal shop stores almost 1,300 bikes during the winter and is fully stocked with replacement parts and specialty tools. Let’s take a peek inside. Click the image below for the full slideshow.
This article was originally published by Martine Powers on Boston.com on 7/29/2013
There’s a new ‘it’ bike in town, and today, it hit the streets of Boston.
To celebrate the two-year anniversary of Hubway bike-share, along with the program’s one-millionth ride, Hubway officials released a special commemorative bike Tuesday morning that strikes a look that’s different from its old-school counterparts.
Black, it seems, is the new silver.
In addition to the suave color, the bike carries a special message on its rear fender: “1 Million Rides! And counting ...”
The bike was first docked Tuesday at South Station, but Brooke Savage, a South End resident designated as Hubway’s one-millionth rider, quickly laid claim to the bicycle and decided to take it for a spin to another station.
Local transportation officials hope the bike will be a hot ticket for commuters, and a source of excitement for people who spot the unusual member of the Hubway fleet in stations around Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline — kind of like being handed a two-dollar bill with change at the grocery store.
“It’s going to be a special sought-after bike,” said Bill Deignan, transportation program manager for the city of Cambridge. “People will see it and be happy they saw the bike there, and they’re going to want to take it.”
In the two years since Hubway’s debut, the system has logged more than 1.1 million miles ridden between the 113 stations located throughout the metro Boston area.
In the next few weeks, Hubway will be adding 20 more stations, which will be located in Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, South Boston, and north Dorchester.
This article and radio show was originally published on WBUR.org on 7/29/2013
Boston’s Hubway bike-sharing program just topped a million rides. It’s a symbolic milestone for the less than two-year-old system. But it also points to a bigger trend: all over the Boston area, more people are choosing to get around without a car.
There’s been a lot of research recently showing that our relationship with cars is changing in significant ways. Earlier this summer, the US Public Interest Research Group found that Americans — especially those under 30 — have been driving less and less each year since 2004.
SERVICE ALERT: Due to construction, Highland Ave/Crocker St station will be closed from 9:00 AM -3:30PM 7/31 through 8/2. Please use our Spotcycle app for smartphones or visit www.hubwaytracker.com for up to the minute system information.
This month, Hubway celebrates two successful years in operation, during which members and casual users have logged over one million rides. Since launching on July 28th, 2011, Hubway has expanded to provide over 1,100 bikes at more than 110 stations in four major metro areas: Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville. Hubway is the metro area’s largest bike sharing network, providing a fast, convenient, and cost-effective transportation alternative to residents and visitors alike. To date, over 8,100 active annual members and tens of thousands of casual users have embraced this fun and environmentally friendly way to rediscover their favorite spots in and around the Hub.
Hubway riders have achieved some impressive results:
Total trips – 1,069,766 and counting….
Total miles ridden – 1.2 million
Total calories burned 40 million
Total pounds of carbon offset 285 Tons
Hubway will continue to grow throughout the 2013 season, building on some recent infrastructure expansions and improvements, including:
Three new stations launched in July in Somerville: Teele Square, Packard Ave/Powderhouse Blvd, and Highland Ave/Crocker St
Two stations launched in June in Cambridge: Porter Square T and Mass Ave/Linear Park with another station launching in Kendall Square in the coming weeks
Brookline added a station at JFK Crossing on Harvard Ave at Thorndike St
Boston has ordered 20 additional stations and plans to roll them out in August and September
For up-to-date information about the Hubway program, visit thehubway.com.
Cambridge: “We are delighted to be celebrating the one year anniversary of Hubway in Cambridge together with the other exciting milestones the system has reached,” said Cambridge City Manager Richard C. Rossi. “It has been remarkable to witness the ever-increasing popularity of bike share and we look forward to continuing expansion of the system in the future.”
Somerville: “Hubway has been extremely beneficial and important to our efforts to make Somerville the most bikeable community in the nation,” said Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “Its program expansion in our community in 2013 combined with our ongoing efforts to increase bike infrastructure citywide, and as evidenced by the high ridership throughout this multi-community partnership, our efforts are working.”
Alta Bicycle Share Quote: “The positive impacts of bike share are varied and many,” said Scott Mullen of Alta Bicycle Share, who is general manager of the Hubway. “There is the public health component, the air quality piece, congestion mitigation, local economic impact, reconnection of people to urban places. And if those weren’t enough, riding Hubway is a ton of fun!”
For Boston quote, please contact Nicole Freedman at Nicole.email@example.com
For Brookline quote, please contact Joe Viola at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hubway is metro Boston’s largest bike sharing system, providing easy access to more than 1,100 bikes at 113 existing locations in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville with more expansion on the way. Riding is fast, convenient, and fun, and with Hubway, users can reclaim a commute or enjoy a leisurely ride to the area’s favorite restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. One or three day passes and monthly or annual membership are available for purchase online or at Hubway stations. Every ride under thirty minutes is free, and longer trips cost only a few dollars per hour. More info can be found at www.thehubway.com
For up to the minute information on station installs, visit http://www.thehubway.com or download the FREE SpotCycle app for smartphones. You can also monitor our Twitter feed - @hubway - or our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/hubway
In case you haven’t heard the big news, we’ve reached a pair of major milestones this summer: Hubway is officially two years old and over one million rides have been completed using the silver bikes!
As a way to say thanks to our members, we’ll be at South Station today (Tuesday, July 30th) starting at 10 AM for a press conference to christen our specially branded ‘One Million Rides’ bike and to give out limited edition Hubway t-shirts to mark the milestone. After that, we’ll head over to Dewey Square until 2 PM to keep the t-shirts flowing (while supplies last). Come on out and flash your Hubway key to get yours.
And while you’re outside enjoying the weather, grab some lunch from our friends at Momogoose and some coffee from The Coffee Trike. Show your Hubway key at Momogoose when you buy an entrée, and you’ll get a free crispy roll or pan-seared ravioli.
Come on out and join us this Tuesday. You’ve got plenty of reasons to celebrate!
You’re cordially invited to join us at the upcoming Artcrank Boston event at Fourth Wall Gallery in Fenway (132 Brookline Ave) from 5p-11pm this Saturday, July 20. Artcrank is a bicycle themed art exhibit and benefit for our friends at Livable Streets Alliance.
Enjoy original bicycle art, soft drinks, beer from Widmer Brothers Brewing, and the chance to mingle with bike enthusiasts just like you.
Hubway is proud to support our local artists. When you purchase a poster, we’ll say thanks with a special gift - just flash your Hubway key at checkout to receive a LIMITED EDITION HUBWAY POSTER. So hop on a Hubway and head on over! We hope to see you at there.
Within less than two years’ time, Hubway hit 1 million rides on the afternoon of Saturday, July 13 marking a significant milestone for the ever-expanding system.
Brooke Savage, a resident of Boston and annual member since 2012, checked out a bike from Washington St. at Waltham St. in Boston at 2:00 in the afternoon, and rode for about 10 minutes, dropping it off at Franklin St. / Arch St. The well-timed ride was the 1 millionth tripped logged on a Hubway bike since the system was launched on July 28, 2011.
In other exciting news, Hubway members to date have collectively ridden nearly 1.1 million miles, burned nearly 40 million calories and offset an estimated 285 tons of CO2.
As Hubway approaches its second anniversary, there are now more than 8,100 active annual members with access to a fleet of 1100 bikes and 113 stations, which includes locations in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville.
More trips start and end at South Station than any other, with over 41,000 rides flowing through its docks. Hubway currently averages more than 3,800 trips per day, system-wide, and July 12th holds the record for the highest daily usage, with 5,216 trips taken.
System partners include: the cities of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, the Town of Brookline; and Alta Bicycle Share.
Bicycle sharing contributes to economic progress, reducing emissions, and improving health, equity and safety in transportation. . Bicycle sharing is an innovative approach to urban mobility, combining the flexibility of a private vehicle with the accessibility and reliability of mass transit.
The summer is in full swing and so is the Hubway expansion. Somerville recently added three more stations to its network, bringing the total station count to 11 within the ‘Ville. The new additions that launched on 7/10 are:
Teele Square at 239 Holland St: Located in curbside on-street spaces just south of the main intersection with Broadway.
Packard Ave/Powderhouse Blvd: You asked for it, Tufts, and you got it! This station is located on the west edge of campus in on-street spots on Packard Ave.
Somerville Hospital at Highland Ave/Crocker St: This station fills a critical gap right in the heart of the Somerville system and is a great addition to the Spring Hill neighborhood.
View our complete station map here and be sure to download our Spotcycle app for realtime information on your smartphone.
Service Alert: Effective Monday, June 17th, the Porter Square station is now open. This station is located on the cobbled plaza just behind the bus shelter on Mass Ave adjacent to the Porter Station head house.
Service Alert: Due to adjacent water main construction, the Overland/Brookline station will be closed until further notice. Please use our Spotcycle app for smartphones or visit www.hubwaytracker.com for up to the minute system information.
Hubway recently partnered up with Bicycle Benefits to bring hundreds of discounts to our registered users! For those signing up online for Annual or Monthly membership, we will mail a BB sticker to you in your new member packet. But if you’re an existing member, we have three opportunities this week to come out and grab one on the fly:
Wednesday, May 15th
Charles MGH Hubway Station
8:30AM to 10:00AM
Harvard University’s CommuterChoice Program’s
Bike to Work Appreciation Breakfast
Outside of Au Bon Pain
1360 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA
7:30 AM to 9:00AM
Intersection of Silber Way & Comm Ave
Near Blandford MBTA Station
6:00PM to 7:30 PM
Look for someone in a Hubway shirt!
Just roll up to any of our three locations this week, say hello to our Hubway representative (you’ll see him), and show your key fob to get your very own Bicycle Benefits Sticker. Simply mount the sticker on your helmet and you’re entitled to discounts at local businesses all over town!
Hubway, Boston’s bikeshare system, announced in a blog post this week that it will now offer $20 monthly membership in addition to their short term and annual offerings. This is pleasant news for a few groups of people. Among them: college students and anyone who wants to try out the Hubway on a more sustained trial basis before taking the year-long plunge.
Previous to the announcement, monthly memberships seemed (to this writer and Hubway user anyway) like a notable absence in the membership offerings, which skipped from a 3-day access pass to an annual membership. Other big city bikeshares, like D.C.’s offer the monthly rate. It’s a good way for someone considering Hubway to decide whether they’re really going to “save sOoOoOo much money on T fare by just taking Hubway to and from work all the time,” as a certain Boston Magazine employee (who took two buses to get to work today despite the 70 degree weather) may or may not have thought to himself once upon a time.
Also, given Hubway shuts down for the winter and Boston’s collegiate herds migrate elsewhere for the summer, the monthly memberships might make more sense for university students, who are, realistically, only going to use it for April, a piece of May, September, October, and November. (That calculation will change if Hubway manages to make it year-round.)
The monthly membership comes with cool features. Like annual members, you get the big-kid pass that means you don’t have to play with the station kiosks, and if you use it after your membership date is up, Hubway just charges you for another month. (Okay, so if you accidentally incur an extra $20 charge because you forget that your membership ran out, you might actually find this really annoying.) Also, if you do opt for a monthly membership to sample it and decide that you actually use it on the regular, they’ll offer a $20 credit toward the $85 membership. (That’s something D.C. doesn’t offer.) Basically, it just got even easier for the tepid among us to dip our toes into the world of bikesharing. But then, we suspect Hubway knew that when they made this offering.
The Hubway, Metro-Boston’s bikeshare system, is proud to announce a new Monthly Membership offering. As with Annual Membership, the Monthly Membership is available at www.thehubway.com/signup and Monthly Members will receive a key in the mail. This key allows the
user to bypass a transaction at the station and to proceed directly to the bicycle. By simply sliding the
key into the dock, the bicycle will release and be ready to ride.
Similar to the MBTA’s Charlie Card, the Hubway Monthly Membership will be valid from the first day of the month to the last. Also like the Charlie Card, your membership is only good during a single month. If
you activate your key on the 15th, your membership still expires at the end of that month. Renewing is a snap..simply insert your expired key into any dock to release a bicycle and the monthly fee will be
automatically charged to the credit card associated with your account.
No visit to the website needed, it’s that easy!
“The Monthly Membership offers the convenience and savings of annual membership but with flexible, monthly terms,” said Hubway general manager, Scott Mullen. “It’s perfect for students or anyone who
wants to try Hubway on for size.”
The cost of a Monthly Membership is only $20. Those who decide to upgrade to an Annual Membership after trying Hubway for a month will receive a $20 credit toward the $85 annual cost. Simply log in to
your member page and click the ‘Change Plan’ button.
Members of the Press – email ‘email@example.com’ if you’d like to speak with a Hubway representative or someone from any of the participating municipalities (Boston, Brookline, Cambridge,
Joining together two of the region’s early signs of spring, Hubway and the Boston Red Sox Foundation have teamed up to commemorate the bike share system’s “Opening Day” re-launch on April 8, 2013. The rolling relaunch celebration will feature Hubway team members circling Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline on a celebratory route. Hubway members that greet the Hubway team along this route will receive a free Boston Red Sox tee shirt and/or a free day pass for Hubway. We’re even sending one Hubway member to the Red Sox Opening Day home game. And of course, everyone can ride to the game. The Red Sox Foundation bike share station is right in Kenmore Square, which is where the party begins!
Kenmore Square (11:00AM to 11:45AM)
JFK Crossing Brookline (12:30PM to 1:15PM)
Central Square Post Office (1:45PM to 2:30PM)
Davis Square (3:00PM to 3:45PM)
Boston Public Library (4:15PM to 5:00PM)
Come join us for the celebration! It’s springtime in New England and it’s time to ride…
There are many exciting changes for spring 2013! The current Hubway footprint is 112 stations and 1100 bicycles with several updates to the 2012 configuration:
- Additional bikes installed at many of the most highly utilized stations, including:
o Post Office Square,
o Beacon/Mass Ave
o Charles Circle
o Stuart St at Charles St
o Boylston at Arlington
o Newbury St / Hereford St
o Cross St. at Hanover St.
- Summer/Arch station has moved one block to the corner of Franklin/Arch and has added 12 bikes to accommodate demand
- TD Garden/Legends Way station has moved to the sidewalk along Causeway St at Portal Park and added 7 bikes
- New station at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital’s Navy Yard facility
- Marathon disruptions: Boylston/Fairfield and Boylston Berkeley will not be installed until after the Marathon cleanup is complete (estimated date week of 4/21). Boston Public Library will be removed on 4/9 and re-installed the week of 4/21.
- Washington Square will get a station in metered parking spots along the median of Beacon St (to be installed after the Boston Marathon)
- New station in on-street parking spots along Harvard Ave in the Kennedy Crossing area of Brookline, providing a critical link between Coolidge Corner and Allston
- New station at the Radcliffe Quad, at Garden St/Shepard St
- Harvard University – DeWolfe/Cowperthwaite station is moving due to construction, final site TBD
- Planned station for the Porter Square T plaza
- New station at Highland Ave/Somerville Hospital
- New station at Teele Square/Holland St
- New station adjacent to Tufts at Packard Ave/Powderhouse Blvd
- Ball Square station moving down the block to Bristol Rd at the intersection of Broadway
These are just the spring updates..stay tuned for more surprised later in the season. Be sure to download our Spotcycle app to get real time updates on your smart device. Thanks for making Hubway metro-Boston’s #realtransportation network!
Effective Tuesday, April 2, the Hubway bikeshare network will be open for the 2013 season! Nearly 75% of the system will be operational and full station deployment is expected by mid-April. There will be an official ‘Opening Day’ launch event on Monday, April 8. Stay tuned to our Twitter feed and Facebook page for event details. Use our FREE Spotcycle smartphone app for up to the minute information on station deployments and system status. Thanks for your support of Hubway!
Despite the chilly air, a few people walked into the auditorium of the Arlington Center for the Arts last Thursday night carrying bike helmets or dressed for riding.
One of those topics: The bike renaissance spreading through Boston as more people hop onboard this two-wheeled enterprise transit system, according to Hubway Bikeshare General Manager Scott Mullen, the guest speaker for the evening.
The plan to create a bike sharing program in Seattle is clicking into a higher gear. Puget Sound Bike Share hopes to launch in 2014. Organizers updated Seattle officials Tuesday saying they hope to hire a vendor by the spring.
To get some guidance for the Seattle effort, KUOW spoke with the founder of one of the fastest-growing systems in the US, Nicole Freedman. Freedman started Boston’s program, The Hubway, which launched in 2011.
It sounds a little crazy, but we’re basically at the point where you should think twice about taking the T in really cold weather. Today, it’s about 10 degrees out, closer to zero with windchill. And lo and behold, the Green Line has broken down. Around 8:00 a.m., a cable caught fire in the Arlington station, forcing the line to shut down between Kenmore and Government Center and sending everybody above ground into the cold to wait for shuttle buses (which, of course, take forever). With the T’s busiest stretch of track knocked out during rush hour on a freezing cold day, naturally, the Twittering masses were unhappy. A look at some of the carnage, in picture form:
Bike sharing has been a huge success in many cities and received many well-deserved plaudits, but some have criticized bike sharing for not necessarily serving all segments of the population. What are bike sharing systems doing to expand their reach?
Boston’s bike-sharing program is heading into its third year as a major success, exceeding ridership expectations and planning to expand. But one city councilor has expressed concern that not all parts of the city are benefitting from the project’s success.
Last week our cycling community, and the city, was rocked by the tragic death of Boston University student Christopher Weigl. By coincidence, a hearing on bicycle safety brought the community together at City Hall later that day. Both events have many left asking what’s being done to make our city safe for cyclists, and rightfully so. Personally, I have been inspired by the outpouring of concern, support, validation, and sense of togetherness in our efforts to make Boston a world-class caliber city for bicycling.
Plans are being made to grow Hubway into a year-round system
Berklee student Michal Skrzypek was walking past the Christian Science Plaza one afternoon when a row of silver-and-green bicycles caught his eye, docked near what looked like a solar-powered ATM. Intrigued, he paid $5 for a 24-hour Hubway pass and took his first bike ride in Boston.
A few months ago, Boston’s bike share service Hubway released tons of data about the individual trips its users have taken since its launch and asked the crowd to create cool ways to visualize the information. The judges announced the results Tuesday, and the overall winner of the Hubway Data Visualization Challenge is Virot “Ta” Chiraphadhanakul, a PhD candidate at MIT who studies transit issues.
Bike share programs are increasingly popular, with nearly 200 world wide. In Boston the Hubway allows riders to take out a sturdy bike for 30 minutes at a time to help commuters the last mile of their commute. Living On Earth’s Bobby Bascomb reports.
Hubway is offering a chance to play around with some data of its own: The company’s posted a CSV of every trip ever taken with the bike sharing service, including date, time, origin and destination stations
CAMBRIDGE — Matt Miller shapes his schedule around the area’s public transportation infrastructure. He said his system for getting around was nearly perfect, but the influx of bicycle sharing in Cambridge completed it.
You are cordially invited to join Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino as he officially launches the 2012 New Balance Hubway season at noon on Tuesday, April 3. The Mayor will be joined by Nicole Freedman, representatives from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and other Hubway dignitaries at the Boston Public Library Hubway Station to remind us that “the car is no longer king in Boston.”
New Balance Hubway is pleased to announce that our system will reopen for both annual and casual membership use on Thursday, March 15 with approximately 60% of Hubway stations live and operational. Hubway will continue to work on installing stations through the end of the month, with full system deployment by April, 1.
Alta Bicycle Share President, Alison Cohen, was featured as a rising social entrepreneur star at the Opportunity Green Business Conference, November 10-11 in Los Angeles. The video was produced by Yoxi TV (www.yoxi.tv). Check out the video to see why bike share inspires Alison every day!
The following article was originally published by Kasey Hariman in the South End Patch blog on October 5th, 2011.
1. We’re not the first, or even the second, third or fourth city to do this. Bike sharing is everywhere.
There are three major bike-sharing companies operating in North America: Alta Bicycle Share, which runs Boston’s Hubway program, Capital Bikeshare in Washington D.C. and Bixi, the first bike-sharing company, which is based in Montreal and operates around the world.
There are also locally-run bike-sharing systems in other cities, like Nice Ride Minnesota in Minneapolis-St. Paul and DecoBike in Miami Beach.
2. Replacing a bike costs $1,000. Yep. A thousand dollars. And, if the Hubway bike you check out is lost or stolen, your credit card will be billed for that entire $1,000, even if the bike wasn’t taken as a result of your own negligence.
You are liable per your acquiescence to Hubway’s User Agreement, (a requirement to check out a bike), which states, in Section 13, that, “If the Hubway bicycle is not returned to a Bike Dock within the Permitted Period of Continuous Use, [in this case, 24 hours] then Member will be charged a fee of $1,000.”
Other bike-sharing companies charge similar fees; Denver’s B-cycle bikes are also $1,000 to replace, but a DecoBike rider in Miami Beach would only be charged $675 for a new set of wheels.
3. These are heavy-duty bikes. A $1,000 replacement fee may seem excessive, but Alta Bicycle Share’s Chief Marketing Exec, Brogan Graham, explains why the bikes cost so much:
“These are one-of-a-kind bikes,” he said. “Everything’s built in the interior [of the bike]: the chains, the three-speed shifters, the lights…They have GPS tracking in them, and they have universal things which can be used by everyone.”
“They also have pretty good theft-proof,” he added. “There isn’t much you can do to damage them, whereas the bike down the street that you buy, a lot of things can go wrong with it, the shifters and things can be rusted, things get damaged, get stolen, get busted off. The bike-share bikes aren’t completely indestructible, but they’re pretty darn close.”
4. The bikes need bailouts. It’s been reported before, but not in Boston. The Public Bike System Company, which makes the bicycles that Hubway uses, operates at a loss and recently received a bailout from the Canadian government to the tune of $108 million dollars. Graham says there’s nothing to worry about, that “the Hubway system will be fine, we’re independent.”
5. The rules of the road still apply, and they are extensive. Massbike has compiled a list of bicycling laws that apply in Massachusetts, and it covers everything from riding two abreast on bicycles (which is now acceptable as long as traffic is not impeded, but was illegal until recently) to the amount of lights and reflectors allowed on a bike (as many as you want).
Rules of particular importance to Hubway users include the provision that hand signals must be used to indicate turns and stops unless the cyclist needs both hands on the handlebars to stay safe at a particular moment, cyclists must give pedestrians the right of way, and bicyclists can ride on sidewalks, but not the sidewalks in business districts. “Look, Ma, no hands!” is also illegal—bicyclists must keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.
Bicyclists who break these rules can be fined up to $20.
The following article was originally published by Paul Levy on the Running A Hospital blog on July 28th, 2011.
I just returned from an opening ceremony for Boston’s bike share program, entitled New Balance Hubway. This is a citywide installation or bikes for hire. You pick up a bicycle at one set of racks, ride to your location, and leave it any another. The bike locations are also closely coordinated with the local transit system, to provide a mutual feeder system.
The program is the brainchild of Nicole Freedman, Mayor Thomas Menino’s biking tsarina. With the Mayor’s encouragement and support, Nicole had already succeeded in expanding the number of bicycle lanes on city street and installing dozens of bike racks in public spaces.
But they had bigger plans.
A couple of years ago, Nicole came to me in my capacity as CEO of BIDMC and asked if we would sponsor a couple of the stands for Hubway, at a cost of $100,000 each. Our hospital and staff already had volunteered to help other biking programs that Nicole had organized, like being medical providers for Hub on Wheels, and so I had great confidence in her vision and ability. I immediately committed to the effort and promised to solicit other hospital CEOs to do the same. Today, many of those hospitals were announced as partners, along with the Boston Red Sox, housing developer Steve Samuels, and others. Later, my successor at BIDMC, Eric Buehrens, committed to a third station as well.
New Balance, the Boston-grown and run athletic shoe company, tossed in funds to become the naming sponsor of the program, and now it is up and running. Here’s Matthew Lebretton, director of Public Affairs, at the opening ceremony on behalf of the company.
On April 21, amid a throng of cyclists gathered at City Hall Plaza, Boston Mayor Tom Menino announced that the city had just inked a deal to institute a bike-sharing system that would be operational by mid-summer this year. The Hubway, as it will be called, will offer more than 600 bikes at 61 stations strategically located throughout Boston. The system will be the fifth of its kind in a major US city (following Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, and Washington, DC).
Today, surrounded by cycling advocates as well as city and state officials, Mayor Thomas M. Menino signed a contract with Alta Bicycle Share to bring a cutting-edge bike share system to the City of Boston, one of the first in the country. Dubbed Hubway specifically for the region, the installation of the system will begin soon with 61 stations located across the entire city, incorporating over 600 bicycles. The official opening of the system is scheduled for this summer and locations will include Kenmore Square, Roxbury, the South End, the Longwood Medical area, Allston, Brighton, the Back Bay and more. Hubway is a program under Mayor Menino’s nationally recognized Boston Bikes Program that he launched to make Boston one of the world’s premiere cycling cities.
As early as this summer, residents and visitors taking quick trips in Boston will be able to rent bicycles from dozens of sidewalk kiosks, under an agreement expected to be signed today that will create a bike-sharing network inspired by those in Paris and Washington.
Boston officials said the system, to be called Hubway, will open in July with 600 bicycles and 61 stations in the city, though they envision growing in a few years to as many as 5,000 bikes at more than 300 kiosks, from Brookline to Somerville.