Dan K photographed City Hall Plaza full of new bikes awaiting the formal launch of the Hubway bike-rental network today.
why do i have a job! wish i could get out there and check that all out myself... grrrr
Here's a fun fact: apparently the city has the capability to disable the entire system:
"The safety and well-being of our members is extremely important to Hubway, therefore Hubway may temporarily suspend service in times of severe weather. If weather threatens member safety, Hubway could close temporarily and no bikes could be rented. Bikes in use at the time of closure should be returned to any Hubway station and all usage fees still apply.
Closure and re-opening information will be posted to TheHubway.com, Facebook.com/Hubway, and on Twitter @Hubway. Registered members will additionally be informed of closures and re-openings via email."
How long until they start disabling the system for other reasons?
People in Jp complain about Whole Foods? WWWFD???? Just thought I'd throw that in here. In other news, the Hubway thing is ready to go in Brigham Circle though I am a little confused as to why it is in the street in front of Penguin Pizza.
this absolutely means that you will not be able to get one of these if it is snowing and until the city has made a determination that the roads are clear (how long do you think that will take after each storm?).
This is one of the reasons why I fear for the longevity of this experiment.
"Three season" program = no bikes from...when to when? They haven't said.
I also love this:
1)The bike has been photoshopped
2)The image shows a protected cycleway, something that does not exist in Boston
3)The car in the background only has one working tail light out of three.
Also: why didn't they build these bikes with a standard back rack so people could carry something bigger than just what the front basket will hold? Ahhh, right. That would cover the sponsor logo...
3)The car in the background only has one working tail light out of three.
Could be a turn signal. You'll notice that the car is driving along a double yellow, so shouldn't be braking to turn.
UNLESS, you think that the car is actually braking for the runner which is about to hurl himself in front of the car. In which case, yeah, time for a ticket. :)
The front rack is actually quite large. With the included elastic cord, you can hold a good size shopping bag or backpack.
They said on Twitter that it's end of November through February (give or take depending on snow).
Now, in classic bass-ackward style, they can start yammering impotently about creating places to ride these things - since the Greenway prohibits bikes and has no bike lanes, despite being the best route through the city. Oh, and there's the lack of lanes leading from the Longfellow, even though Charles has more than plenty of room for one to funnel people to the Garden and Common?
The Greenway doesn't allow bikes, yet 6 lanes of traffic are a-ok? That doesn't make any sense.
Not that the local Segway tour operator is particularly amenable to local ordinances.
Are you sure that Bikes are prohibited on the Greenway? I thought that state law says that bikes can only be banned on limited access highways.
But the paths and plazas surrounded by plants and stuff.
For the safety and enjoyment of all Greenway visitors, biking is not permitted in the parks, partly because the paths and plazas are crowded. Please lock up (or walk) your bike. You can find several bike racks on the Greenway ...
Oh, so the JFK Surface Road is fine. Ok, that makes sense.
I was told by a longtime advocate that when they were planning the Greenway, the former Boston Bike Czar was a Vehicular Cyclist - someone who believes that all bikers have a 25 year old guy's tolerance for risk and strenuous activity, and that the solution for bikes was always for people to ride bikes in traffic, acting like "vehicles" at all times.
What my source said was that this ex-czar actively discouraged greenway planners from including separated bike paths from the planted center median on the theory that people would prefer to ride in the three lanes of fast moving traffic on either side, mixing with freeway on and off ramp traffic.
I ride it occasionally, and it takes a lot of confidence, and it's not going to happen very often. My prediction is that 99% of tourists and 80% of locals will just ride slowly down the greenway paths.
If that isn't tenable and people start complaining, my hope is that they will either provide separated bike paths on the greenway, or a dedicated bike space on the road. I know that it's something that Boston Bikes is trying to work on.
The street part of the roadway is badly under-capacity except at rush hour, which is why people race down it hoping to beat the lights.
I was in the group that rode to North Station, it was pretty nice. The seats are adjustable, there's a bell, they have little "baskets" with a bungee cord. I think my $60 is decently spent [as long as the system is maintained].
There's a station on Avenue Louis Pasteur that materialized a few days ago, empty.
Some time around lunch, one bike seems to have appeared. How are they distributing the bikes? Are they populating a few stations and then using the free rides for registered hubway users today to spread them out? Seems like a decent idea...
They have rebalancing trucks which move excess capacity from one are to another. I think that it's going to take a bit of time for them to develop data on trends ( for example is the net flow from N station to S. station in the AM or vice versa? ) The stations have sensors and have realtime feedback to the network to tell where the bikes are. I downloaded the app this morning and it led me to a nearby station, where there was one bike (as the app predicted).
Around noon there was one bike parked at the station at Hanover St. I stopped to look over the information and saw that the lone bike had a placard with an "8" on it, like the ones in the photo. 90 minutes later, nearly all stalls were occupied.
Curiously, I was walking down Cambridge St. to get on the T. I saw a pack of bicyclists at Stanford St. I didn't know if that was a bike tour, or a bunch of the shared bikes. When the light changed, all 15-20 of them proceeded to ride the wrong way up Temple St.
Hubway depends on motor vehicles to redistribute bikes, pick up broken ones, and put away entire stations in winter. Yes, hubway is not possible without trucks. Bicycles depend on fossil fuels too - for tires, paint, carbon fiber composites, Teflon brake lines, lubricants, energy to purify steel, aluminum, and titanium, forge parts, weld, mill and polish parts etc.. When fossil fuels run out next century, or the next, bicycles won't be possible either.
I remember the French having problems with a bike-sharing program in Paris - tons of vandalism, theft, maintenance issues:
Anyone know how the Hubway system will compensate for that?
Have you been to Montreal or Paris recently? The bike share systems seem to be extremely popular. All types of people using these bikes all over the cities.
My family used them to get around Montreal this spring. It was cheaper than the subway and you get to see more of the city.
I've been to Paris several times over the past few years, and I was quite taken with not only how well-managed/maintained and well-used the Velib system seemed to be, but particularly with the types of people using it. The majority of people I saw using the bikes on the weekdays were business people in formal business garb. I was quite struck by that.
If anyone thinks that tourists (whether from Minnesota or Marlborough) are going to keep this afloat, I think that's pie-in-the-sky talk. Unless this is viewed as a "last-mile" solution or a means for transport to and from meetings downtown, usage will just not be high enough for the vendor to keep going. I have my doubts that business types here are going to view this as a viable option - particularly during precipitation events and cold weather. Sure it rains in Paris, but it doesn't get as cold, and snow for any duration of time is rare. Mostly, I just think that we have a different mindset than Parisians ("take a cab" vs. "take a walk").
If you're wondering why I've somewhat discounted residents, it is because I believe that most of them who are inclined to bike for purpose (shopping, transport, etc.) vs. pleasure already have their own bikes, and because the small portion of those who might be attracted to it by Hubway is very small indeed and if they do like it, will buy their own bike that they can trick out with approriate carrying devices to make it usable for purpose.
Essentially, I believe that Hubway needs to convince people that they can use a bike for nearly all of their in-town transport needs or they are doomed.
The for- profit system that runs the Velib' in exchange for the ad rights on the stations and bikes was in the process of re-negotiating the contract and did a lot of PR about how they were losing bikes in an attempt to get concessions from the city.
These programs have been very successful and are expanding in Minneapolis, Washington DC, Barcelona, Montreal and London. There's a small system in Denver which seems to be a bit of shrug.
I think that these can be a huge driver of demand for better facilities. Notably Paris didn't have much in the way of infrastructure when Velib began, but it's been dramatically improved in the four years that the program has been running so far.
Paris has a large population of disenchanted, angry young black and Arab men, and when Velib started, the first users were upper class white Frenchmen, to such an extent that "Velib user" became a slang term for what we call a limousine liberal, and the bike system became the main target for these angry young men's anger. That's mostly past now.
Now those same angry young men are using those bikes as much as anyone else.
...you can ride it if you like, its got a basket, a bell and things to make it look good. I'd give it to you if I could but I borrowed it.
Looks like the map shows the wrong "You Are Here." http://www.flickr.com/photos/bostonurbex/5985221092/in/set-72157627302066010/lightbox/
This thing has JUST launched and already the cycling community is BITCHING about every aspect of it! Unbelievable. What a bunch of spoiled whiny brats.
If the comments thusfar are your idea of "bitching", grow some thicker skin.
Also, who said Universal Hub = "cycling community"?
to the local cycling community than you probably are, I'd say the reaction has generally been very favorable. Cyclists usually support anything that gets more bikes on to the road. This should do so.
A fellow was riding one of the bikes on a sidewalk adjacent to Post Office Square Park. It was a sidewalk busy with pedestrians. Was he, or are the people who fly down the sidewalks along Atlantic Avenue concerned about hurting anyone? Apparently not. Do we have to wait until another pedestrian is killed by a bicyclist as happened a few years ago near City Hall?
Walking in what is supposed to be a walkable city is becoming dangerous.
Such riders ought to be ticketed, but as with jaywalking, speeding, etc., most users of roadway and sidewalk in Boston get away with rules violations. It's easy to point fingers at one segment, but the truth is that pedestrians/cyclists/drivers all flout the rules with impunity because enforcement is not a high priority for BPD.
"Would you please WALK your bike if you're on the sidewalk? Thank you!"
Strange but true, it simply won't occur to some people unless it's pointed out.
I wonder if the program is distributing a rules of the road kind of thing with each membership. It would be useful for the general population of bikers, too. BPD could hand it out instead of a ticket.
ETA: Hubway's website lists Riding Tips. Add: DON'T RIDE ON THE SIDEWALK.
And by that I mean, moving all the city workers' cars of City Hall Plaza in order to make room for the bikes.
I saw my first Hubway rider, going the wrong way on Cambridge Street, then left on Charles. Great start.
London's program is so successful after its first year and $41,000,000 funding by Barclay's Bank, they are throwing (away) another $41M on it. So, how long until taxpayers will be asked for more money in Boston?
Does the bike community ever have anything positive to say??? The City seems sincere in their efforts to improve & increase cycling and you guys do nothing but find fault and complain. Quit your bitching and grow up.