Boston proposes new bike sharing plan

BOSTON – Following in the footsteps of Paris, Portland, and D.C., city officials in Boston will evaluate a new initiative to bring a bike sharing program to the city during the coming months. The plan will offer riders a convenient way to rent bikes by the hour, and return them to any of terminals in the downtown Boston.

londonbikeshare2.jpgOf the dozens of proposed bike rental stations in the Back Bay and Beacon Hill areas, one will be placed outside Suffolk University’s own Ridgeway building where new bike racks were installed in early November.

The initiative has already been gaining momentum among the city’s environmentally conscious commuters. The plan comes on the heel of Boston’s “bean town to green town” initiative, a program that has put Boston on the edge of eco-friendly living.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for students and people in general to start riding bikes more. It is like the Netflicks of transportation” says Gregory Reilch, president of Suffolk Bikes, an on-campus organization dedicated to helping students commuting by bicycles.

The bike sharing program will aid in transforming Boston into what Mayor Menino calls “a world-class biking city,” which began with the installation of bike lanes between Albany Street and Huntington Avenue, Tremont Street along Boston Common, and on American Legion Highway.

“We have to find a sustainable transportation option for people, and this can work because of the climate,” said John Connolly, a Boston city councilor at large and chairman of the council’s Committee on Environment and Health.

Not everyone is gearing up for the bike share initiative.  Board member of the LivableStreets Alliance, Steven Miller, expresses concerns that the plan may reduce already limited public parking and sidewalk space. “You’re really going to need to install a lot of these bike stations,” he said. “And that’s going to require some serious negotiations with the use of limited sidewalk space.”

Still, with endless lines of traffic and an unstable economy, this could be the quick and cost efficient answer commuters are searching for. City officials will gain a better perspective on the initiative when the mock up proposals are published at the end of the month.

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