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Chicopee to join ValleyBike bicycle sharing program

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Chicopee to hitch ValleyBike bicycle sharing program

CHICOPEE — Town will be part of the area’s bicycle sharing program within the spring, offering a hyperlink between a number of communities which have joined the service over the previous two years.

Metropolis officers began the method to hitch ValleyBike final yr, however the COVID-19 pandemic created a number of delays in getting it up and working.

“We jumped on board. We needed to be a part of it and lots of people had been asking about it,” stated Nathan Moreau, affiliate metropolis planner. “We’re filling in a niche in service.”

ValleyBike started in 2018 with electric-assist bikes that may be rented from docking stations in a number of communities. Folks can decide up a motorbike from one place and drop it off at a special docking station after they attain their vacation spot.

Bikes are rented usually via a cellphone app. Charges vary from $2 for half-hour to $90 a yr to take limitless rides of as much as 60 minutes. There are a number of membership plans folks can use and reductions for college kids and those that stay in public housing, stated Wayne Feiden, Northampton’s director of planning and sustainability and one of many officers behind ValleyBike.

Final yr the bikes had been ridden about 196,000 miles. Some experience them for commuting, procuring or to do errands. They’re used loads for recreation based mostly on the very fact they’re rented most frequently on the weekends, Feiden stated.

“We need to give folks transportation decisions,” Feiden stated. “There isn’t a query it’s lowering automobile journeys, and though it’s electric-assisted, it’s important to peddle some so it’s giving folks train.”

ValleyBike now has a presence in Amherst, Easthampton, Holyoke, South Hadley, Northampton and Springfield, with the College of Massachusetts Amherst offering essentially the most riders.

The addition of Chicopee is a crucial hyperlink in this system since it’s in the course of Springfield, Holyoke and South Hadley, Moreau stated.

The three docking stations can be throughout from Metropolis Corridor, at Rivers Park off Meadow Road and within the island on the intersection of Church Road and Broadway, the place the monument topped by an enormous granite ball honoring Gen. Arthur MacArthur sits.

The three areas had been chosen as a result of they’re crossroads that lead in a number of instructions folks might need to go, Moreau stated.

The one at Metropolis Corridor is in the beginning of a brief bike path that runs alongside the Chicopee River. Previous Grape Road the trail turns right into a gravel highway that isn’t formally a part of the bike path however is used as such and connects to Szot Park and the Chicopee Senior Middle.

Rivers Park is just a few streets over from a proposed bike path, scheduled to be accomplished in April 2022, that can run alongside the shore of the Connecticut River.

A $1.1 million federal site visitors congestion mitigation grant is offering the cash to increase ValleyBike into Chicopee in addition to Hadley and West Springfield. It pays for issues reminiscent of bikes and tools for the docking stations, Feiden stated.

Chicopee’s Division of Public Works will set up the concrete pads on the three stations and Chicopee Electrical Gentle will present {the electrical} connection, Moreau stated. Town pays $5,000 for administrative and upkeep prices, he stated.

Regionwide, about 35% of the funding to maintain this system rolling comes from person charges. The remaining quantity comes from sponsors who can assist wherever from one docking station to these in a number of or all communities, Feiden stated.

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