ValleyBike to Launch with June 28 Event
NORTHAMPTON — ValleyBike will launch with celebrations, comments, demonstrations, and a parade at Thursday June 28 at 11 a.m. in Pulaski Park, 274 Main St., Northampton.
ValleyBike is the first bike-share program in the Pioneer Valley and the first pedal-assist bike-share program in New England. The program allows members to pay for bikes by the trip, or join as a member for unlimited 45-minute rides by the day, month, or year. Partners include the communities of Amherst, Holyoke, Northampton, South Hadley, and Springfield, as well as UMass Amherst and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC).
“Five hundred pedal-assist bicycles in 50 stations in five communities will help transform transportation options for many of our residents,” said Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz. “Northampton is proud to be the lead community and fiscal sponsor for our seven-member ValleyBike consortium. This will help provide that extra mile that PVTA can’t always provide, and that is too far to walk and short to drive. We are proud to serve all residents, including those with the least options.”
Added Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, “Springfield is delighted to be part of ValleyBike. Serving our downtown core and medical district, bike share will be a benefit for residents, workers, and visitors. Bike share is good for one’s health and our environment, too. Congratulations to all of our partners for coming together on this great regional project.”
Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse noted that ValleyBike will increase connectivity between member communities, along with recent upgrades such as regional rail service. “Coupled with key investments in our densest neighborhoods and complete streetscapes that are favorable to pedestrians and bikers, the bike-share system will play an important role in Holyoke’s continued renaissance.”
ValleyBike was initiated by Amherst, Northampton, and the PVPC, and then quickly joined by Springfield, Holyoke, and South Hadley. The planning effort was led by the PVPC, which found the funding for planning. Leadership of the effort switched to Northampton for the implementation phase of the project. Within the next week, residents will be able to sign up at www.valleybike.org, with special founding membership opportunities for a limited time.
“ValleyBike is yet another exciting example of how our region, and its cities and towns, are working collaboratively and proactively to shape a smart and sustainable future for us all,” said PVPC Executive Director Tim Brennan. “ValleyBike not only introduces a new type of shared mobility, but offers a creative and sensible way to improve our air and our health while capturing the benefits of modern-day pedal power.”
ValleyBike has contracted with Bewegen Technologies and Corps Logistics to build and operate the system. According to Alain Ayotte, Bewegen CEO, “since the very beginning, the Bewegen team has been convinced of the strong potential for bike sharing to succeed in Pioneer Valley. Data from our systems launched around the world have shown that our Pedelec bikes offer a transportation alternative that is more attractive to a diverse range of users, contributing to a larger mode shift toward cycling. Our team is committed to this project, which will continue to strengthen healthy living and active mobility throughout the region. Working in partnership with Corps Logistics, local veterans will be hired to operate the bike-share system, creating jobs and contributing to the local economy.”
ValleyBike is funded by state and federal grants, Bewegen investments, community investments in station pads, user fees, and program sponsors.