“Hubway,” Boston’s long-anticipated bike share program, is set to open this month. With 600 bikes at 61 stations around Boston (one a block away from CLF’s Boston office at the corner of Summer and Arch Streets!) and surrounding areas, Hubway will facilitate transportation around Boston by reducing crowds on the T and providing access to places that the T does not currently reach. Moreover, Hubway will contribute to fewer greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector– the largest single source of GHG emissions in the state– and create a more livable city with better transportation options to get people out of their cars and into their communities.
Already very successful in Europe, bike share programs are increasing in popularity in the U.S., and already exist in cities such as Minneapolis, Denver, and Washington, D.C. Many people in the Boston area are excited about the prospect of being able to grab a bike, go where they need to go, and return it at any station convenient to their destination. Operating three seasons a year (the system closes in the winter), Hubway offers 24-hour, 3-day, or annual memberships, allowing members access to all of the bikes and free rides under 30 minutes.
In anticipation of this program, Boston has been working hard to make the city more bicycle-friendly. In the past few years, 38 miles of bike lanes and 1,600 public parking spaces for bicycles have been built. However, there is still a lot of work to be done to prepare for this big change in how we use our roads. Currently, the Boston Police are getting ready for the influx of bicyclists. Focusing mostly at intersections known to have frequent crashes, Boston police officers are prepared to hand out tickets to drivers and bicyclists alike for disobeying traffic laws. The residents of Boston will have to learn to share the road regardless of whether they are biking or driving.
However, we at CLF believe that that’s a small price to pay for the myriad of benefits that Hubway will bring. The program will increase transportation choice and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while saving consumers money on gas and helping them get a little exercise while they’re at it, which will lead to public health benefits as well.
Editor’s note: Hannah Cabot is the summer 2011 communications intern at CLF Massachusetts. She is a rising senior at Milton Academy in Milton, MA.