By Seth Daniel
Finding a HubWay bicycle in the South End is a little bit like trying to find a parking spot – they do exist, but just are rarely available.
Bike sharing entered into Boston in the South End in 2011 with some skepticism, but the popular way of riding a bike without owning a bike really took off. Now the system is booming and residents are clamoring for more stations and more bikes.
That is why the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) has been out in force for the last couple of months gathering input from neighborhoods that include everywhere from Brighton to Charlestown to the South End.
BTD Commissioner Gina Fiandaca said the South End is one of the most heavily used HubWay locations, and would certainly be one area where they would look to put more stations.
“The South End is very popular for HubWay,” she said. “It’s an ideal way to get downtown and everywhere in the city. We’ll be looking to site additional stations there.”
A meeting at Tent City (Tenants Development Corporation), 23 Wellington St., in the South End on Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. would be a forum where the city would be looking for guidance in how many stations to expand to and where the best locations would be.
There would also be a hardy discussion, likely, on where stations could be located without taking up valuable vehicle parking spots on the street.
Fiandaca said they try wherever possible to location stations in areas where they don’t impede parking.
Many times, however, the solar-powered stations need to be on the street to get power, or the sidewalk isn’t wide enough to accommodate a station.
Kim Foltz, who is leading up the effort, said there are eight stations right now in the South End.
After having all of the public meetings this fall, the city would look at the input and come back in early 2018 with some plans.
“We would be coming back for another round of meetings with potential identified sites,” she said. “We would share that preliminary plan with the public in community meetings.”
The HubWay program includes 70 stations with 700 bikes right now in Boston. The goal would be to expand to 130 stations.
Fiandaca said there have been six million HubWay rides since it was introduced in 2011.
Other meetings in the area on HubWay expansion include: BCYF Tobin School, 1481 Tremont St., Mission Hill (Oct. 28, 6 p.m.); BCYF Quincy School, 885 Washington St., Chinatown (Nov. 2, 6:30 p.m.); and Bruce Bolling Building, 2300 Washington St., Roxbury (Nov. 16, 6 p.m.).