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Bluebikes Expanding to Arlington, Chelsea, Newton, Revere, and Watertown This Summer

12:13 PM EDT on July 24, 2020

Bluebikes docked at South Station in downtown Boston.

Bluebikes, the publicly-owned bikesharing system serving the greater Boston region, will expand to five new municipalities later this summer with 30 new stations in Arlington, Chelsea, Newton, Revere, and Watertown.

The expansion has been in the works since last fall, and will be funded in part with grant funds from MassDOT.

Bluebikes monthly ridership in 2019 versus 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data courtesy of the City of Boston.
Bluebikes monthly ridership in 2019 versus 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data courtesy of the City of Boston.

Although ridership on Bluebikes has declined significantly during the pandemic, ridership is beginning to recover: system data recorded only 46,793 Bluebikes trips in April 2020 (down 72 percent from the 166,694 trips of April 2019), but Bluebikes customers made 191,843 trips in June (down 30 percent from the 274,022 trips made in June 2019).

The new stations will generally be sited near existing Bluebikes stations in Boston, Cambridge, and Everett.

In Revere, officials are planning to install docks on the east side of the city, between Broadway and Revere Beach, where trip data from the defunct Lime bikesharing system showed the highest levels of demand.

Julie DeMauro, Revere's Active Transportation Manager, says that the city plans to install docks at City Hall on Broadway and at the nearby Revere Public Library on Beach Street. The city also plans to install two docks along the Shirley Avenue corridor, a business district that extends inland from the Revere Beach Blue Line station, at Eliot Circle, located at the southern end of the beach, and at Kimmerle Park, which is across the street from the Beachmont Blue Line station.

"Our footprint will grow," said DeMauro. "A lot of developers are interested in putting more stations in their projects as they get built."

The City of Chelsea is kicking off a community outreach process to determine the locations for its five stations. Meetings will be scheduled in August to prepare for a September deployment.

“This is a major focus of our city departments and of the city manager. It's going to improve access to healthy and affordable transportation options for our residents,” said Alex Train, assistant director of Chelsea's planning and development department, in a phone conversation Friday afternoon.

Nicole Freedman, Director of Transportation Planning for Newton, wrote in an email that the town is still evaluating specific station locations, but "most of the stations will be in the northeast section of Newton to provide connectivity to the other Bluebikes stations in Watertown and Cambridge."

In Arlington, town planners are evaluating three different alternatives for their network of six stations, which will generally cover East Arlington with one or two docks in Arlington Center.

"Option one" would create a corridor of Bluebikes docks every few blocks along Massachusetts Avenue, while "Option 2" would place more docks along the Minuteman Bikeway, and "Option 3" would place three docks on Massachusetts Ave. and two on Broadway (all three options would install a dock on the Minuteman Bikeway at Thorndike Field, near the Alewife T station).

Arlington planners are inviting the public to weigh in on the three alternatives in an online survey.

In Watertown, five new stations will be installed along the Arsenal Street corridor between Watertown Square and the Arsenal shopping mall (see map below).

A map of proposed new Bluebikes stations in Watertown (existing Bluebikes stations in Allston and Cambridge are marked with blue circles).

Another dock will be installed on Nichols Avenue at the current terminus of the Watertown-Cambridge Greenway corridor, and another dock will be put in Coolidge Square, at the intersection of Mt. Auburn and Arlington Streets.

Laura Wiener, a Senior Transportation Planner for Watertown, wrote in an email that the town hopes to install the seven new stations sometime in August.

Since May 2018, Bluebikes and its municipal owners have added over 100 new stations and 2,000 additional bikes in its current service area, including a 2019 expansion into the City of Everett and new stations in outer Boston neighborhoods like West Roxbury and Mattapan.

Those expansions have driven considerable growth in ridership, to the point where the system celebrated its 10 millionth ride last fall.

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