Employees and students in the LMA are embracing the city’s new Hubway program, an innovative bike sharing plan modeled after similar programs in Washington, DC, Montreal, London and Melbourne. Users can sign up for daily or annual memberships and swipe a card to check out one of 600 bikes that can be returned at any of the city’s 61 solar-powered Hubway stations.
MASCO members were early supporters of the program and are sponsoring ten Hubway stations in the LMA, Fenway, and surrounding areas. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center was among the first sponsors and hosts three Hubway stations. Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital Boston, the Colleges of the Fenway, Harvard University and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum are also sponsors. MASCO worked with the city, Hubway, and LMA institutions to locate Hubway racks at key access points in the area.
A Rider’s Point of View
Hubway member Lenny Markowitz, senior analyst in clinical information systems at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, sees the program as an important part of making Boston a multi-modal city and the next step in a comprehensive plan to make the city more bike-friendly. “Mayor Menino turned me into a commuter biker with his support of bike lanes and paths and now Hubway,” Markowitz says. “His vision has made commuting by bicycle possible.”
Markowitz gave up one of his family’s two cars and began commuting to work by a combination of bicycle and public transit more than 4 years ago. He biked from his home in Roslindale to the nearest MBTA station, where he caught a train to work. Last spring he began cycling all the way to work – a 6 mile trip through the Arboretum and then on a bike path in the Southwest Corridor Park to Ruggles Station, near his office on Tremont Street, about 1.5 miles from BIDMC’s main campus on Brookline Avenue.
Hubway Introduces Another Commuting Option
Markowitz has frequent meetings that require him to travel from his office to the main hospital, and Hubway offers another convenient way to get there. “I don’t have to worry about finding a place to lock my bike, I just take a Hubway bike and go,” he says. “It’s so new we are still figuring out how to use it to its full potential, but it is great to have another option for getting around.”
Advances in technology also help make Hubway easy to use and simplify connections between the program and other commuting methods such as trains and buses. An application on Hubway’s website lets users with a smart phone or internet access locate available stations and bikes. The MBTA’s website offers links to numerous apps that allow users to track the next bus or train using GPS (Global Positioning System) data.
Hubway’s website offers safe riding tips, and lists of stores in the city that sell discounted bike helmets to members – including the gift shops at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital Boston.
Despite concerns that some have expressed about dangers posed by more novice riders on the roads, Markowitz thinks that Hubway will make Boston safer for bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers alike. He believes more riders will lead to more peer pressure for bicyclists to wear helmets and to obey the rules of the road. He feels that the key is changing the mentality in the city – cars and bicyclists obeying traffic laws, cutting down on jaywalking and prompting everyone to be more sensitive to others who share the road. Markowitz also recommends including bicycle education in drivers’ education classes to help to foster understanding between all parties.