I was perusing the minutes from the Newton Bicycle Advisory Committee and came across an interesting exchange about what it would take to bring the Hubway bike sharing program to Newton. The program recently expanded to Cambridge and Somerville with limited expansion into Brookline.
Basically it’s going to take some sponsorship to get Newton on board, specifically from places like Boston College or Newton-Wellesley Hospital.
“Lois [Levin, chair of the Newton Bicycle Advisory Committee] has asked the Mayor to approach Boston College, Lasell and Newton-Wellesley Hospital to discuss sponsorship, as well as other institutions or businesses,” its says in the minutes.
It happens that while sitting at George Howell Coffee earlier this month my wife and I struck up a conversation with a family next to us. The father said that he doesn’t normally bike into work because he worries about the traffic in Brookline. Yet, he tends to use Hubway to get from building to building in the Longwood medical center.
While I’d love to see Hubway be more of a regional transit option, I wonder about its usefulness in a bedroom community like Newton. Would people supplement
their car trips by, say, parking on one end of Needham Street and using the bike lane to do all their shopping? Or would most of the bike sit unused while some rode their own and others just jumped in cars? What trips would people eliminate by using the bikes?
I’d love to hear from Sean on this.
No matter what happens, Hubway will have plenty of time to grow before it hits the Garden City. The process is expected to take about three years. Then I’m sure there will be a debate about the safety of Hubway cyclists.