Bike share program could be coming to New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– We could soon see a lot more bicycles on the streets of New Haven. A meeting Tuesday night could put the Elm City one-step closer to a bike-sharing program.

An Aldermanic committee will hear from the public about this Tuesday night. If approved, it would be kind of like a lending library for bicycles.

“You sign up for a membership, pay your fee and each time you rent a bike you can rent it for 30 to 60 minutes,” explained New Haven Transportation Director Doug Hausladen. “You can take it from one station to another and leave it, lock it, and forget it.”

New Haven is working with a company called Smart Mobility to put 30 bike stations around the city, with an average of 10 bikes per station. You may know about things like the Citibike program in New York City. Big city bike shares are often aimed at tourists. New Haven’s Bike Share is steering right at folks who live, work, and go to school in the Elm City.

“You take the bus to a certain place, you get off the bus, you take a bike share bike, you get to your destination, you leave your bike,” said Matthew Feiner, owner of Devil’s Gear Bike Shop.

New bike lanes have made it easier to get around on two wheels in recent years. Folks we found near the bus stop on the New Haven Green said they would use it.

“Yes I would,” said New Haven Resident Joyce Goodman. “I’d get around like that now.”

“I’d be happy about it. I would be cheerful about it,” smiled Julieann Lucas of New Haven. “I love to ride bikes.”

“So if you have a bike and you have a good deal like that, there’s not that much cons in it,” said New Haven resident Delon Battle.

The bikes are durable and easy to ride. They have automatic lights and embedded GPS that lets the program track where people ride them, and find any bikes that get stolen. Organizers are looking for suggestions where to put the bike stations through See, Click, Fix. Lots of people already asked to have them in their neighborhoods, and proponents say, that’s going to mean a lot more healthy, happy people.

“That’s the benefit right there – more people biking around,” said Feiner. “It’s healthier for you. It’s a de-stressor, it calms you down, it focuses you. You get to see our city.”

The folks at Smart Mobility have done this before. They have the technology and know how to operate it so the system pays for itself, and that is why this is likely to get approved by the city: It does not cost taxpayers anything.

If I you want to make your voice heard, the meeting is from 6-8 tonight at New Haven City Hall.

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