On Monday night, leaders of the upcoming New Haven Bike Share program held a public meeting at Hill Regional Career High School to encourage community members to share their thoughts and ideas on how it can be best implemented.
The New Haven Bike Share program is expected to be similar to other established bike-share systems in the United States, including Boston’s Hubway and New York City’s Citi Bike, according to Doug Hausladen ’04, New Haven’s director of the Department of Public Transportation, Traffic and Parking. Monday’s meeting was the second public meeting held by the bike-share program, and attracted almost 30 attendees, despite the snowy, icy conditions.
“Freedom in transportation is all about options,” Hausladen said. “This is really a conversation about freedom rather than about bikes.”
The bike-share system will set up as pay as you go by the day, the month or the year. According to the program’s website, its goal is to expand New Haven’s transportation system by giving residents and visitors another option to travel their daily routes through the city.
Hausladen said the program is still in its developing phases. By Tuesday at noon, the program’s leaders — Hausladen, Deputy of Department Michael Pinto and consultant Krysia Solheim — plan to submit a contract to the Board of Alders detailing the funding the program will need and its policies. Once that is approved and signed by the board, which Hausladen said he expects will take three months, the city will need an additional eight months to get 300 bikes in town for the program to officially begin.
The meeting focused on the benefits of the bike-share program, including its affordability, convenience, environmental friendliness and around-the-clock access.
The system, Hausladen said, could fill the void of a fully functioning 20-hour-per-day transportation system. Because of New Haven’s flat topography, residents can get around “pretty quickly on a bicycle,” he added.
In addition to presenting details of the program to attendees, the public meeting also sought to gain insight on where bike-share stations would be the most helpful and most useful for residents and visitors alike.
For the last section of the meeting, the coordinators set up an activity in which attendees split into groups and used colored highlighters to show where they thought bike stations would be most useful and could most coincide with their daily routes.
Most of the attendees agreed that the most useful stations would be in areas that are job or student centers, or that have notable attractions. Many suggested the Yale Bowl as a location.
One attendee said that besides convenient locations, another thing important to keep in mind was safety. He looked for places where residents would not get mugged or run over while riding the bikes.
The city has instructions on the program’s website detailing how residents can go about recommending a location for a bike-share station. And a survey on the website asks residents for their input on the program.
Yale students could also use the program to travel both within and out of campus. Abigail Waugh ’20, for example, said because she does not want to spend money buying a bike, she would “definitely” be interested in using the service.
Though the program is still developing, two sample bikes displayed the bikes’ system and facilities for all attendees who had questions on more specific details.
“We are rolling out bike share in a way that would make New Haveners proud,” Hausladen said.
There are over 1 billion bicycles found throughout the world.