When the weather is nice, Boston is a fairly green city when it comes to transportation. The city is small and old which makes it very walkable, and the Hubway bike share system is not only green, but is also a very popular method of getting around. In fact, Hubway is such a successful program, that New York City based its city bike program after it. Unfortunately, due to Boston’s cold and snowy climate, the Hubway bikes are not available between mid November and March. Luckily, there are still some green methods of getting around in the winter.
The T Mayor-Elect Marty Walsh may work towards extending T hours once he takes office, which is great news for Bostonians. The current schedule is that the last subway trains leave at midnight, leaving people to find other, often more carbon-intensive modes of transportation in the early morning hours. The main question that remains is whether or not there will be enough ridership during these hours to make it economically and environmentally efficient to run the T. There is sure to be much debate about this issue over the coming months and it will be exciting to see Boston residents engaged in a dialogue about effective transportation options.
The Commuter Rail
Because of outrageous parking prices in many parts of Boston, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) commuter rail is an attractive solution for those that live in the city’s suburbs. Parking rates will not be going down anytime soon, in fact, they are used as a tool to encourage more efficient forms of transportation. So if you’re not familiar with the commuter rail, maybe it is time to consider it for your next trip downtown. In addition, the MBTA phone app makes ticket purchases a snap – no paper needed!
Winter Biking Just because the Hubway bikes aren’t available in the winter, doesn’t mean that biking is no longer an option. As long as it is not snowing or unbearable temperatures, many commute by bike in December, January and February. Consider purchasing a pre-owned bike through Craigslist or by visiting the Bikes Not Bombs bike shop in Jamaica Plain. The key to winter biking is to obey traffic rules, dress warmly, wear a helmet and have a backup plan. The backup plan is key because you never know when New England weather could take a turn.
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Cameron Bruns is the founder of BostonGreenBlog.com and co-author of Just Us Gals Boston. She lives in Boston’s North End, where her goal is to promote ethical, stylish, and sustainable lifestyle choices to all Boston residents. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.