The ribbon-cutting ceremony outside of Town Hall this morning officially welcomed Hubway into Brookline.
Although the first station in Brookline Village, and its counterpart in Coolidge Corner were installed and usable last week, today's rolling launch party made it official--.
"Today is the day that Hubway officially becomes regional--and it is fully interoperable: pick up a bike in Harvard Square and drop it off in Coolidge Corner, and you don't have to think about it," Selectman Jesse Mermell explained.
Last summer, the network logged 360,000 rides after its launch. This summer, they are adding 72 new stations in the network, of which four in Brookline--"at least to start," Mermell adds.
The Coolidge Corner and Town Hall stations have been operational since last week. The town is a few days away from launching one at the Brookline Village T stop, and a fourth is coming soon.
The system allows users to rent bikes from standing stations anywhere, ride them, and return them to any of the Hubway stations in the network--regardless of the town in which town you begin and end your ride. Members get are entitled to half-hour rides for free, with additional fees over 30 minutes; non-members can still ride, but pay extra.
Said Mermell, "This is the type of project that everyone thinks is really simple: you buy some bikes, you buy some racks, you put it on some open land, and we're good to go. Would that that were the case. There is an incredible amount of planning and preparation that goes into that."
Mermell went on to thank Jeff Levine, former Planning and Community Development Director for the town. She also thanked members of the Planning Department and Department of Public Works staff, the Metroplitan Area Planning Council, and the Brookline Bicycle Advisory Committe, many of whom were in the audience.
Standing in front of the map and kiosk on the machine, the full Board of Selectmen was joined by Dr. Alan Balsam of the , and Robert Raymond, a Senior Architect/Planner at Partners Healthcare--one of the Brookline sponsors for the bike program.
Dr. Balsam referenced a recent Boston Globe report about life expectancy in Massachusetts. In it, Brookline is said to have the highest at 87 years old. Balsam added that Brookline's rates of premature mortality and obesity (including for "youngsters") are also the lowest in the Commonwealth. He cited Brookline being a walking and biking community as part of the reason for this.
"And now we have the final--or the next--jewel in our crown to promote fitness and lower our carbon footprint, and foster a healthy community. Welcome to Brookline, Hubway!" said Balsam
Raymond, representing Partners, added "We're proud to be sponsors, and we're very happy that Brookline has expanded the Hubway program."
A group of bikers left from Town Hall to head to Somerville for their official launch of the Hubway network.