Hubway comes to JP; community input limited

October 11, 2013
By

The Hubway bike-share system has arrived in Jamaica Plain, but the community process the City used to determine the location of stations was limited. Hubway is a collaboration between the City and a private company.

Hubway stations have been installed at Monument Square; in front of the post office at the corner of Centre and Myrtle Streets; in Hyde Square at the corner of Centre and Barbara Streets; and in Egleston Square at the corner of Columbus Avenue and Washington Street. The JP Hubway stations replace parking spaces.

The stations allow people to rent bicycles from an automated system, with registration available through thehubway.com.

The stations are heavy but temporary and are removed during the winter. Hubway stations have been popular around the city since their introduction in 2011. But they were also criticized for lack on input in their locations, and some had to be moved for safety reasons. The lack of community meetings for input into the location of the JP stations has drawn the ire of some residents.

“How can our City allow this bike depot to be forced on our community without a community meeting?” asked resident Rodolfo Bonilla about the station being installed at the corner of Center and Barbara Streets. He said parking is already an issue in the area.

Sarah Freeman, a local conservationist, said she is “very pleased” that Hubway is in JP and is taking a “wait-and-see approach” to the location of stations.

“I’m very optimistic it can be tweaked if the locations are problematic,” she said.

The City did not hold any community meetings on the locations, but used an online forum and outreach to community groups and abutters to elicit feedback, according to Boston Bikes director Nicole Freedman. The Gazette was not notified of any of that outreach.

“The news was out there through a lot of ways and avenues,” said Freedman, calling the process “very transparent.”

She said that the City received 126 responses from the online forum and “presented” to the Jamaica Plain Business and Professional Association and collected input from Hyde/Jackson Square Main Street, as well as outreach to other community groups and agencies.

When asked for a complete list of groups contacted and feedback collected, Freedman referred the Gazette to the Mayor’s Office. The Mayor’s Office asked for a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the information and told the Gazette to also contact the Hubway company, as it is a partner with the City. The Hubway company referred the Gazette back to the Mayor’s Office.

The Mayor’s Office did not respond to the FOIA request by the Gazette’s deadline.

A Hubway station in front of the post office at the corner of Centre and Myrtle Streets. (Gazette Photo by Peter Shanley)

A Hubway station in front of the post office at the corner of Centre and Myrtle Streets. (Gazette Photo by Peter Shanley)

  • Benjamin Patience

    I was one of the 126 people that responded to the survey. None of my suggestions are currently scheduled for Hubway stations. Why no Hubway stations adjacent to the JP Orange Line stations along the SW Corridor?

  • Peter Terry

    Hi Peter,
    I thought you were very restrained in your implied criticism of Hubway, for their idiotic decision to place bikes in front of the post office, where we have so little temporary parking space (and need more, not less). The neighborhood would have welcomed the Hubway station at the Green Street or Forest Hills T station. There is room for them there, and they would have been useful to T riders. If the new Mayor, whether he is Mary or John, wants to on friendly terms with Boston’s neighborhoods, he will ask us what we want, and listen and not completely ignore what is in our best interests. I love bikes, but there is an appropriate place for everything, and in the midst of the busiest commercial district in JP is not the right place.

  • Mark Tedrow

    There was a small meeting at the Curtis Community Center in JP in August, a members of the JP business community attended. I learned about it the previous weeks Casey Arborway DAG meeting.

  • http://justgiblets.com Scot Colford

    “How can our City allow this bike depot to be forced on our community without a community meeting?” asked resident Rodolfo Bonilla about the station being installed at the corner of Center and Barbara Streets. He said parking is already an issue in the area.

    Are you kidding me? Making bicycle rentals available in JP that can be returned across the city is a *bad* thing because they take up parking spaces? What about the pop-up gardens that showed up over the summer? These are actually useful and can help cut down on the *need* for parking. I find it really incredible what JP residents choose to raise a fuss over.

    And why the square quotes around “presented?”

  • Jagged

    I am happy to see them in JP! I think this is a great program for our community.

  • MarkinArl

    Probably just bicycling organizations got any notification, not the public at large!

  • kinopio

    Happy to have Hubway in JP. The less cars the better.

  • Tim

    There was a public process that was more efficient and precise for being online rather than live public meetings that will always be inconvenient for some group. And when you say “The Gazette was not notified of any of that outreach,” I can’t help but wonder how you think newspapers and reporting are supposed to work. It’s not typically done by just hoping that people will send you important information directly. I found out about it simply by being moderately interested and paying attention.

Best of JP 2014