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Beantown Going Green One Peddle at a Time

Photo courtesy of inhabitat.com.

Lately when we think about ‘green’ initiatives to reduce global warming, thoughts such as world leaders meeting in Copenhagen come to mind, as well as thoughts of energy from renewable resources. Things that are complicated, expensive, and far removed from the average person’s ability to independently affect change.

The truth is that everyone can do their small part to reduce global warming, and in the case of Boston’s new employee bike pool service, it won’t cost city workers anything except maybe a few extra pounds.

The new service, supported through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program grant, allows city employees to reserve bikes. The service makes about 60 bikes and helmets available for reservation at eight city buildings, housing over 5,000 employees. The bikes were donated by Giant Bicycle Inc.

Jessica Shumaker, a spokesperson for the Boston Bikes service, said the buildings include City Hall, the Boston police headquarters, as well as locations that house veterans’ services, community services programs, city public cable television, Boston public schools administrative services, and neighborhood development services.

“There are a number of employees that have to travel short distances from one building to another within the course of a day. The hope is that it (the bike service) will be seen as an easier alternative to using cars or city transportation,” said Ms. Shumaker.

The reservation and locking system pairs a unique pass-code with an employee and each bike’s individual number which allows for an advanced tracking system. Employees register online for the bikes through a pool service.

Photo courtesy of worldchanging.com

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s office said that, “through this system, the city is able to see who is using the bikes and the length of each trip. Any stolen bikes can be easily traced back to the user through their code.”

Ms. Shumaker simplified saying, “What happens is when you sign up to ride a bike on the website, you get a unique pass-code that you enter into the bike’s keypad lock, and when your done, you put it back, and then we can tell how frequently you use a bike.”

To maximize bike use, the mayor’s office added they will also be made available on weekends at city and non-profit bicycle events. The city’s “R.O.C.K. Roll & Ride, Bike Friday, and Hub on Wheels events will all find accessibility to the bike pool,” said the office.

Mayor Menino said in a memorable statement that he wants to “see the bikes receive as much use as possible to ensure that Beantown is well on its way to becoming Green Town.”


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