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Somerville Bike Share Program Likely Delayed Until Spring

The city must wait four months after it signs a program contract to get the bikes, which will go into storage in late November.

The anticipated arrival of the Hubway bike share program to Somerville could be delayed until April, said the coordinator of the city's Shape Up Somerville initiative at last Tuesday's Somerville Bicycle Committee meeting. 

The city plans to sign a contract in August with Alta Bicycle Share for at least five, but possibly six, stations that would each hold 10 bicycles, said Nicole Rioles. 

Then the wait begins. Rioles said that Bixi, the company that will provide the bikes, can deliver them about 16 weeks after the city signs the contract. 

Therefore, if the city signs it August 31, which Rioles said was the realistic deadline, no one would actually get to use the bikes until spring because they would be put in storage from the end of November until March. 

Proposed station locations

The city plans have the stations installed in Davis, Porter and Union squares, at City Hall, at the intersection of Beacon and Washington streets and at Conway Park, said Rioles. 

If residents or the city decides that a station would work better elsewhere, she said, the city can request Alta to move it for a cost of $2,000. 

Moreover, she said the city intends to double the number of bike stations a year or two after the program begins. 

Bike Committee member Ron Newman said he worried that residents of the East Somerville and Winter Hill neighborhoods wouldn't be able to use the bike share program because the planned station locations would be so far from them. 

Meanwhile, Alex Epstein, who presides over the committee, said he hoped that Cambridge would install a station in Inman Square so that Somerville residents who live near the city line could use it. But Rioles said that while Cambridge should have 14 stations in by the spring, Inman Square wasn't an area slotted to receive one by that time. 

Meanwhile, Boston plans to launch 61 Hubway stations this month, with locations throughout the city. 

Somerville residents 18 years or older can sign up for Boston's bike share program online. An annual membership costs $60 now, but will eventually rise to $85. 

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