Hubway: Expansion of Boston’s bike-share to be questioned at hearing
A city councilor plans on Thursday to question the way Hubway has expanded since its launch in 2011 and why bicycle-sharing stations have been left out of some neighborhoods.
“When people think of Boston they think it ends at Massachusetts Avenue and you have to remind people we have many dynamic neighborhoods in the city of Boston that represent a critical dynamic for this program,” said Councilor Charles Yancey.
Yancey is chair of the City Council’s Committee on Environment and Human Rights that has a hearing scheduled for Thursday morning on a grant awarded to the city to help expand the system.
“I’m concerned with overall distribution and I’m going to encourage the administration to be as aggressive as possible in spreading these stations around so they’re not just accessible to tourists and visitors, but to the general public,” Yancey said, adding that he’d like to see stations in all neighborhoods.
While this year the bicycle-sharing system expanded by about a dozen stations and into Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville, there were few or no stations located in East Boston, Dorchester, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Roslindale, South Boston and West Roxbury. The southern-most stations were located at the Dudley Town Common in Roxbury, at the JFK/UMass MBTA stop in Dorchester and on the peninsula at UMass Boston.
Kris Carter, the interim director of the city’s Boston Bikes program, said that for the system to be successful stations couldn’t expand more than a half mile from one another. He said the system continues to gradually grow from the core of the city.
“If you put a station out by itself on an island, the likelihood of itself failing is incredibly strong,” he said. “We’d like to be able to offer Hubway to every neighborhood in the city.”
Hubway officials are also examining if it is possible to make the system available year round instead of shutting it down for the winter. Carter said expanding the stations to other neighborhoods and possibly opening it year-round would not get in the way of one another.
By the numbers
Hubway has expanded since its launch in 2011 and so has money going to fund it.
The number of stations in its first season
The number of stations in Boston during its expanded second year
The amount of the grant from the Barr Foundation that will be the subject of the hearing Thursday