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Cambridge signs Hubway pact, launching bike sharing in summer

Posted by Brock Parker  April 3, 2012 10:44 AM

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Cambridge finalized a contract Monday that will enable the city to launch the regional bike-sharing program Hubway early this summer.

Cara Seiderman, the city’s transportation program manager, said that Monday night the city formally signed the contract with Oregon-based Alta Bicycle Share to operate the Hubway system in Cambridge.

Seiderman said the city expects to have a total of 22 bicycle docking stations at major
squares in the city, as well as publicly accessible stations at Harvard and MIT.

“We haven’t sited all of them, yet,” Seiderman said.

The launch of Hubway in Cambridge is expected to coincide with launches in Somerville and Brookline early this summer, Seiderman said.

Boston first launched the bicycle sharing program last year with about 60 bicycle stations, and is now in its second year of the program. For a membership fee, Hubway allows users to borrow bicycles for short trips and return them at any docking station throughout the regional network.

Cambridge is paying Alta about $1.2 million to purchase the needed equipment and to operate and maintain the Hubway system in the city. Most of the funding is being provided through grants, but the city is pitching in about $280,000 from money raised through the sale of residential parking permits. Harvard University is providing $200,000 for the system and MIT is also paying $100,000 to partner with the city, Seiderman said.

While Seiderman said the city is still identifying locations for some of the bicycle docking stations, some of the key Hubway spots in Cambridge will be in Harvard, Central, and Kendall Squares, as well as Inman, Lechmere and Porter squares. Docking stations at Harvard and MIT will be put in spots accessible to the public, such as along Massachusetts Avenue at MIT, she said.

Seiderman said residents in Cambridge have been excited about joining the regional bicycle sharing network. She said she doesn't have an exact date, but expects it will be after the summer solstice on June 20.

“Every day I get: ‘When is it coming?’” Seiderman said.

--brock.globe@gmail.com

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