Watertown Seeks Grant to Bring in New Bike Share Option

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Watertown could see a shift in bike share options, with the current provider leaving and Town officials seeking help to bring in another well-known brand.

Last week, Assistant Town Manager Steve Magoon told the Town Council that the Town will be joining other communities to apply for a grant to bring in bike share docks for Bluebikes, which used to be known as Hubway.

“The Lime Bikes option in town is no longer an option,” Magoon said. “We are looking to bring Bluebikes.”

Lime Bike has reduced the number of bikes in town, so it no longer provides a reliable option for Watertown residents.

Bluebike already has stations in Boston and Cambridge where people can pick up and drop of bikes. Magoon said there are other benefits to joining with the company.

“They can be used to go to Boston and Cambridge, and they have dock stations so they will not be strewn across town,” Magoon said.

The Town Council approved sending a letter to apply for a grant from the Workforce Transportation Program to pay for he docks for the Bluebikes. Watertown will file the application jointly with Newton, Arlington and Chelsea, according to a letter from Watertown Transportation Planner Laura Wiener.

Installing a Bluebikes dock station would cost and estimated $100,000. The Town has applied for an $80,000 grant from the Workforce Transportation Program, which requires a 20 percent match from the town. The match would be paid for using the town’s share of the Transportation Network Company (TNC) money paid by companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate in Massachusetts, Magoon said.

Councilor Angeline Kounelis worried that the town would have to keep paying to have the Bluebikes in Watertown. Magoon said the bikes will be self sustaining with fees paid by users.

It is not certain where the dock stations will be located, but Magoon said the first ones will likely be near stations in other towns. Some possible spots include the Coolidge Square area of Mt. Auburn Street, which is close to Cambridge, or Arsenal Street, which is down the road from Brighton.

2 thoughts on “Watertown Seeks Grant to Bring in New Bike Share Option

  1. $100 grand for an automated bike lock seems outrageous. Why does this cost $100k and a bike cost $100. Seems like for $100,000 you could litter the streets with 1,000 bikes and let Darwinism prevail.

  2. If you want to reduce cars and provide access to bikes, stations would be needed in West Watertown and in Watertown Sq. for those people who need to get to the square to take public transportation from there and for reverse trips. The Pleasant St. corridor never got a shuttle service and now no bikes either!

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