Metro, Newton

New Bluebike Stations Installed in Newton

Look out sidewalk dwellers, Bluebikes have begun to populate Newton. Five Bluebike stations have been installed around Newton, and three additional stations will be installed in the next few weeks.  

The Bluebike system was established in Boston in 2011 and expanded to Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline in 2012. In addition to Newton, they have recently been launched in Chelsea, Watertown, and Arlington.  

“Bluebikes is not a startup; it is an established system that is almost in its tenth year in the legion. The business model is very stable,” Nicole Freedman, Newton’s Director of Transportation, wrote in an email to The Heights.

Bluebikes allow users to get a bike from any station and return it to any station in the system. Users then use an app to pay an amount based on how long they used the bike.  

Fuller announced on Jan. 15 that Lime bikes would not be renewing its contract with Newton. Lime bikes had been in Newton since 2018. 

Through the Lime app, track a nearby scooter or bike. Users then pay for their bike based on how long they use it and return the bike anywhere in an approved zone. In contrast, Bluebike is dock-based, meaning that the bikes can only be picked up and returned to a designated Bluebike station.

Freedman said that the biggest advantage to the Bluebike system is its connection to the existing systems in Boston, Somerville, and Brookline. 

“I also anticipate a lot of trips for recreational purposes, within Newton, and to/from our neighboring communities,” Freedman said in an email.

Newton was awarded an $80,000 grant from MassDOT Workforce Transportation to implement the Bluebike system. Fuller said that the City will provide $20,000 in funding as a match. 

“As the system grows to have ever more bikes in Newton, yes, we anticipate seeing good ridership,” Freedman wrote.

The system is currently operational, and bikes are available to rent 24/7, 12 months a year.

The locations of the stations were selected based on various factors to allow for the most amount of people to use them.

“Stations are selected based on connection to the existing system, demand, pair within a third of a mile, transit connections, and high pedestrian volumes,” Freedman wrote in the email.

Five stations have been installed on Newton Corner North, Newton Corner South, Washington at Crafts, Nonantum Library, and Newton Centre South. 

Another station in Newton Centre North was approved by the Newton Traffic Council on Oct.8. Installation of the station involves the removal of two parking spots from the Newton Centre Triangle Lot. 

“We actually will have eight stations by August,” Freedman said. 

Fuller announced in an update on Oct. 1 that Newton was awarded a $153,000 shared street grant to fund two additional Bluebike stations and two additional Park & Pedal electric bike rental stations. The two additional Bluebike stations will be installed in West Newton Square and on Washington Street. 

October 13, 2020