Cambridge City Councillor Dennis Carlone has introduced a policy order to create a subsidized Hubway program for low-income Cambridge residents.
"The City of Cambridge has a well-deserved reputation as one of the nation's best cities for biking, but as we continue to develop our multi-modal transit infrastructure, we ought to look at ways of expanding access to the Hubway program in an equitable fashion," Councillor Carlone said.
Indeed, just this week, the Boston Globe lauded the fact that the number of bicycle miles traveled in Cambridge is up some 237% since 2004. And with new bike paths and innovative safety technology now in the works, it's clear that we are fostering a culture that promotes biking and other sustainable transit options. We even have traffic signals just for bikes!
But in recent days, neighborhood leaders have contacted Councillor Carlone asking whether we could establish a program similar to Boston's subsidized Hubway membership for low-income residents. The Boston program offers deep discounts and other benefits for people who otherwise may not be able to afford a Hubway membership.
The Cambridge city council moved to explore the idea of a subsidized Hubway program in late 2012, but in a subsequent memorandum from city staff, the concept was deemed "as yet unproven." The memo further noted that, "ridership in lower-income communities has been shown to be constrained by cultural and perceptual, as well as physical barriers that are generally unrelated to cost."
However, the City of Boston recently presented this report from Boston Bikes, which shows that under the direction of Nicole Freedman, their subsidized bike share program has succeeded at engaging low-income residents while also expanding access to underserved populations. Bostonians who participate in the program also report that they are now getting more exercise.
A standard Hubway membership costs $85 per year if paid upfront – but that figure rises to $240 per year if paid in monthly increments. While such costs may not seem prohibitive for many Cantabridgians, the Poverty in Cambridge report that "stunned" councilors earlier this year suggests that a subsidized Hubway program could go a long way toward expanding access to all Cambridge residents.
Councillors Denise Simmons, Leland Chueng, and Nadeem Mazen have signed-on as co-sponsors of the order, which will appear as agenda item O-10 during Monday's council meeting in the Attles meeting room at CRLS, 459 Broadway. The meeting begins at 5:30 pm, and members of the public arriving prior to 6 pm are welcome to speak for up to three minutes during public comment. The full text of the order is posted below...
|IN CITY COUNCIL|
|October 20, 2014|