Boston expands bike-share network to unserved neighborhoods
- Boston will add 19 stations to its Bluebikes bike-share network in the coming weeks to the southern Dorchester, Mattapan and Roslindale neighborhoods, which had previously lacked service. Another 30 stations will be added in the following months, with at least 30 more being added in the spring, according to a release from the city.
- The other municipalities that use the publicly-owned network — Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville — have also committed to expansions, which will bring the full network to more than 300 stations and 3,000 bikes across the four cities, up from the current 1,800 bikes.
- "Boston residents have grown to value Bluebikes as one of the public transportation options available to them," said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. "I'm thrilled to be bringing our bike share system into additional Boston neighborhoods and I look forward to seeing more residents enjoying a Bluebikes ride this year."
Public officials had acknowledged that the Bluebikes network — sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts — didn't have reach in some more far-flung neighborhoods. Speaking to WGBH in July, the active transportation director for Boston, Stefanie Seskin, said the network had focused on downtown, but that they were seeking ways to expand into new areas. "It is definitely something that we have been really focused on doing — getting that funding so that we can grow in southern Dorchester and Mattapan and Rosalindale, which are neighborhoods that have been very vocal about wanting more transportation options and wanting to be able to ride on a bike in our bike-share system," she said.
Boston has invested heavily to improve Bluebikes service, adding new gear systems, different types of handlebars and adding valet service at some docks during busy times. The expansion should help accelerate growth, in line with the Go Boston 2030 transportation plan that calls for more residents to use bikes and alternative forms of transportation. To get there, the city says it will also invest in more bike infrastructure, like protected lanes.
The expansion also comes with competition from dockless bike companies, which have sprung up in Boston this summer. And although cities like Baltimore and Seattle have made decisions or pushed regulations that would increase dockless options, other cities like Houston recently added 39 stations to its docked bike-share network, showing these systems will continue.
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