The Commonwealth’s two largest bikeshare systems are poised to expand further this summer, as Salem plans to join the Bluebikes system with eight new stations, and West Springfield joins the ValleyBike system.
In West Springfield, town officials in December announced plans to install their town’s first stations for the electric pedal-assist ValleyBike system. One station would be located on the town common next to the library, and a second station will be installed on Memorial Avenue near Union Street.
The latter location is in an area dominated by parking lots and strip malls, but it’s also next to two major supermarkets that serve thousands of households on both sides of the Connecticut River.
The town hopes to activate both stations later this spring.
Salem’s Bluebikes expansion will come courtesy of a $20,000 grant from MassDOT’s “Shared Streets & Spaces” program. The funding is expected to buy 50 bikes that would be distributed among 8 new docks around the city.
Unlike previous Bluebikes expansions, which have grown concentrically outward from the system’s origins in the cities of Boston and Cambridge, Salem’s Bluebikes docks will be located about 12 miles away from the nearest stations in the existing system (in Everett and Revere).
It will be possible – and more so once the completed Northern Strand Trail opens later this year – for Bluebikes users to ride those bikes between Salem and the existing Bluebikes network around Boston, but most riders are expected to use the new bikes for trips within Salem, and for last-mile trips to and from the city’s commuter rail station.
MassDOT’s latest round of Shared Streets and Spaces grants awarded funds to build new bikesharing stations in the existing Bluebikes service area as well:
- Watertown, which just joined the Bluebikes system in 2020, received $280,318 to add a new station, which would be the town’s sixth, along the Charles River Greenway just south of Watertown Square. The grant will also fund traffic-calming measures and pedestrian access upgrades at three intersections in the Bemis neighborhood on the town’s west side.
- Everett received $107,239 to add three new Bluebike stations to the city’s existing 11-station network. According to MassDOT, “the new stations will connect the Wellington MBTA station to the rest of the Everett bikeshare system, provide additional coverage on the west side of Everett, and make connections to the Revere and Chelsea bikeshare systems” with a station near Chelsea’s Silver Line terminus.
- And finally, Boston received $197,856 to install four new Bluebike stations in Roslindale, Mattapan, and Dorchester.