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Cambridge to test year-round Hubway operations this winter

Posted by Brock Parker  November 19, 2013 11:03 AM

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Fair weather fans of cycling take note: Cambridge is about to test its bicycling mettle against a Massachusetts winter.

Hubway stations in Cambridge will remain open this winter, when stations throughout the rest of the regional bike-sharing system have closed for the season.

The City of Cambridge and Hubway announced the year-round pilot program Tuesday and Cara Seiderman, the city’s transportation program manager, said just how much snow and freezing temperatures will interfere with ridership remains to be seen.

“We would like to try it,” Seiderman said. “We’ll definitely be tracking how much use it gets.”

Hubway’s shutdown for winter months in Boston, Somerville and Brookline, began Monday, but most stations will remain open in those communities through Wednesday, Nov. 27, according to Hubway.

Of the 27 Hubway bicycle docking stations in Cambridge, however, only one, in Lafayette Square, will be closed for the winter, Seiderman said. Another dock at the Lechmere station will be moved onto a sidewalk.

Seiderman said it’s easier to test Hubway during the winter months in Cambridge because almost all of the city’s bicycle docking stations are off-street and would not interfere with snow plows.

Hubway may temporarily close some of the stations in Cambridge during extreme inclement weather. But as part of the pilot program, snow removal will be part of the daily responsibilities of the Hubway field team that will ensure that docking stations are stocked with bikes and cleared of snow and ice.

Seiderman said the winter pilot has been made possible in part by money generated by the popularity of Hubway in Cambridge that is being reinvested in the system.

About 2,000 annual Hubway members are from Cambridge, and more who work in the city use the system, Seiderman said. In October, about 1,400 Hubway rides a day originated in Cambridge, she said.

In a joint press release with Hubway, Cambridge City Manager Richard Rossi said Cambridge is pleased to offer the year-round pilot program, but asked that cyclists use care when riding in winter conditions.

Seiderman said the city and Hubway will be working to ensure that Hubway users realize that once the docking stations close in Boston, Somerville and Brookline, they will only be able to dock the bicycles within Cambridge.

More information about the pilot program, and tips for cycling in the winter can be found online on the city's website and on Hubway's website.

--brock.globe@gmail.com

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