The city’s bicycling initiative is set to receive $710,999 in grants to help fund its bike share and community bicycling programs.
Nicole Freedman, director of the city’s Boston Bikes program, appeared before City Council’s Committee on City, Neighborhood Services and Veteran Affairs Tuesday to discuss the three grants from different organizations and agencies.
“This will support the work we do to make sure our programs are successful,” Freedman told the committee’s chairman Councillor Salvatore LaMattina.
The largest award--$675,999 from the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Authority--would pay for the bulk of the operating costs of Hubway, the city’s bike share program that launched last year, which has an annual operating cost of $700,000 to $800,000, according to Freedman.
Hubway, which is funded through advertising, corporate sponsors and grants, would receive $600,000 while the remaining $75,999 would fund subsidized memberships, helmets, classes and other community programs run by the city.
The other two grants--$25,000 from the Boston Housing Authority and $10,000 from the American Heart Association--would fund other community bike programs that provide donated bikes to eligible residents, teach cycling to students, and and offer bike repairs at local farmers’ markets.
“Our capacity is based on what we fundraise,” said Freedman, who noted the program is working raise funds it previously received as stimulus money the past two years.
Freedman said she expects Hubway memberships to climb to 6,000 to 7,000 by the end of this season in November once the program expands to Somerville, Cambridge, and Brookline. The program is also raising funds to open more stations in the city including the seaport, Charlestown, Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, Roxbury, and Allston/Brighton neighborhoods.
One neighborhood that still proves challenging, however, is East Boston because it is effectively a large island that would likely need multiple stations, Freedman said.
“This system is all about networking,” she said. “That’s almost a system within its self.”
The city plans to begin filling Hubway stations with bicycles Thursday with an official launch April 1.