Have you ever thought to yourself: Gosh, I’d LIKE to ride a bike to Mecha Noodle, but then I’d need some kind of bike lock and my bike would probably get stolen by teenagers, and then I’d have to buy a new bike, and what, am I made of bicycles?
No, you are not. You are not made of bicycles.
Luckily for you, New Haven has a solution on the horizon: The New Haven Bike Share.
What is a bike share?
Great question, reader! So astute.
Bike shares are a form of public transportation where you sign up for a membership (whether it’s daily, monthly, annual, etc.) and you take a bike from a station, and you can ride it to any other station. Generally, you get some amount of time (30-60 minutes) to travel between stations as part of the base fee and additional time costs extra.
So, you take the train into New Haven. You sign up for a daily membership. You ride to Wooster Square and dock it there. You eat some pizza. You grab another bike and ride to East Rock and have a nice glass of wine at August. You ride another bike (cause you’re still sober and wouldn’t do anything dangerous) down to the Yale Art Gallery.
Next, you grab a bike from there and go to Ikea, where you pick up a nice new armoire, which you put into your bike’s basket, because you’ve never been one to be restricted by the concepts of time and space.
Finally, you ride the bike back to Union Station and get on the train back to Happy Suburbia.
Pretty great, right?
You get a bike! And you get a bike!
While the program is currently scheduled to be rolled out next year, Move New Haven is currently taking suggestions on docking locations through SeeClickFix. Want a docking station right outside your apartment? Go right ahead and open an issue.
(Though I admit I do not find the process entirely intuitive and can’t easily see what’s already been suggested.. )
You can also take the survey here.
Do I think that people from Newhalville and Fair Haven are going to fill out SeeClickFix tickets to get locations by them? Probably not. But I don’t live there, sooooooooo…
But seriously. During the meeting Monday night to discuss the New Haven Bike Share, one common theme was equity. How can we make sure everyone has a chance to use the Bike Share, and not just white, upper middle class folks? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
Furthermore, how can we educate people, knowing New Haven has 17 commonly spoken languages?
The answer is: Well, it’s complicated.
But with enough outreach and education, we can make sure that all neighborhoods are represented while acknowledging that certain popular spots, like Wooster Square, Downtown, and East Rock, are likely to be the most used.
One idea discussed was the ability to buy memberships with cash at local shops/bodegas for folks without accessible credit cards, or a low income option for residents.
Great: When can I get it?
For now, the schedule is “sometime in 2017.” And hopefully it’s not “New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Train Line 2017,” which, as you know, is 2018.
The current schedule has a “Phase I” of 300 bikes in 30 stations in 2017. With the option to lock bikes to other non-dock locations.
So they’re writing up the contract now and they’ve selected some vendors and all the i’s need to be dotted and you should probably go ahead and make some suggestions cause New Haven isn’t that big of a city so your voice will be heard.
Why a Bike Share Makes Sense
Unlike many other, larger cities, I think New Haven is a great city for biking. Like New York, where imminent death by taxi awaits around every corner. Sure, the drivers in New Haven are sociopaths with no regard for traffic signals, but luckily, the city has done a great job putting in bike lanes.
Plus, with a new two-way cycletrack on Edgewood Ave, along with other bike lanes popping up all the time, New Haven is only getting more bike-friendly.
I’ve had many friends and family come visit New Haven, but obviously, bringing a bike into the city is a pain in the ass. However, if we could easily rent a bike for an hour or so, and check out different sights, I think visitors and residents alike would enjoy the option.
Heck, there are times when I just don’t want to leave my bike somewhere but we all know I’m not gonna be able to ride that thing home.
Luckily, there’s a solution and it’s coming to a city near you!