Boston is a city that embraces cyclists.
And I am proud to live in a city like that.
But there is a point where I draw the line. Last week I wandered through the park that is the center of Inman Square, the neighborhood that I live and have grown to love in the last couple of years and I saw what I considered an abomination. Hubway, the bike-sharing program (more info here) that Boston has embraced, was setting up a station in the middle of Inman.
And I wept a little inside.
I have no problem with Hubway in and of itself. It is a progressive, smart program that the city of Boston stands behind and helps cut down on traffic and congestion. Cheap bikes that can be taken from point A to point B and left there … hey, it is a smart idea. Where I have a problem is when the city drops a Hubway station in the middle of my neighborhood.
Inman is little slice of hipster at the edge of Cambridge, a mile from Harvard, a mile from Kendall that straddles the Somerville border. It is one of those neighborhoods where people in their 20s ride single speed bikes with pink rims and throw traffic laws to the wind. Inman is a biker neighborhood and proud of it.
I can dig a hipster cyclist. It is not the type of biking I like to do (I have a mountain bike and a fast road bike) but that is a biker that understands what it means to ride a bike. Yet, if there is one thing that single speed hipsters and spandex-clad road bikers can agree on it is this:
Hubwayers are annoying.
They ride down the street with little regard to other cyclists or traffic, peddling along on their bikes that could not go 10 MPH if Lance Armstrong himself was turning the crank. Then there are the stations. Each line of Hubway bike station is an eyesore, awkwardly placed and hard to avoid. And now there is one in Inman.
The park in Inman Square is known for a couple things. Foremost … pigeons. People love to feed the pigeons. Second is the wide array of benches spaced in a pointed horseshoe where the denizens of Inman spend spare time reading, watching other people feed the pigeons, sitting in the sun or watching the hipster bicyclists go get coffee at the 1369 coffee house. Now, down one the long benches along the road is a wide Hubway stand, cutting off the view towards the street and essentially making that side of the park unusable. The pigeons will continue to thrive, but really, pigeons are not that bright.
So, I am not happy about the new Hubway station in Inman Square. It brings the wrong element to the neighborhood (unimaginative consumer bicyclists) and ruins the dynamics of the heart of the park.