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)

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