Suffolk County’s first-ever bike-sharing program has arrived in Babylon Village. The racks were built and stocked this past week.
There are six bike stations in Babylon, including at Park Avenue — to ride the Belmont Loop — one at the farmer’s market, the village pool, the Locust Avenue commuter parking lot and the parking lot behind Fitness Incentive, as well as the end of Carlston Place near Argyle Lake.
It was at Argyle Lake where Nancy Anzalone of Lindenhurst peddled up to a press conference Sunday announcing the program, which is called Bethpage Ride.
Bethpage Federal Credit Union is sponsoring the program, which comes at no cost to county taxpayers.
“I’m so happy you guys did this!” Anzalone said to those assembled for the press conference. “I’ve been riding around and everyone is stopping me. They’re great bikes; they ride really well.”
Anzalone said she doesn’t have an SUV, and it’s not so easy to transport bikes in her car. “So this is incredibly convenient,” she said.
The program is modeled after Citi Bike in New York City.
Locally, users now have the ability to download an app and can either pay per ride or buy a membership. Click hereto download the app.
Riders can bike at a rate of $1 per 15 minutes, or opt for a monthly plan for $10 or a yearly plan for $60 per year.
Both of those plans allow for unlimited trips of up to 30 minutes.
“Today really marks a milestone for the future of transportation in Suffolk County,” said County Executive Steve Bellone. “The wait is over; Bethpage Ride is finally here. Thanks to our friends at Bethpage Federal Credit Union, our new regional bike-share program is now available at 17 different locations.”
There are also stations set up in Patchogue and Hampton Bays.
“We’re effectively extending the reach of our existing transit system, and that is a critical thing,” said Bellone. “If you can’t get places from our transit system, the reach of it is limited. This is a key component that will be able to change that.
“There’s now a fun, convenient option that is waiting for them.”
“We are really focused on community impact projects, things that are actually going to benefit the community,” said Linda Armyn, a senior vice president of corporate affairs at Bethpage Federal Credit Union. “And this was really awesome, to be able to provide bicycles for community members for use with their families on weekends, or to take the train down to a ferry, or to a park, or down to the village and get some cars off the streets.”
Last May, Suffolk awardedZagster,a Boston-based micro-mobility implementation company, a contract for its Pace bicycle-share service.
Zagster is responsible for designing, building and operating the program.
Babylon Village Trustee Robyn Silvestri said the timing couldn’t be better, with the village planning to build a crosswalk along Trolley Line Road to better connect Argyle Lake with the long-existing bike path that leads, eventually, up to Belmont Lake State Park.
“It will be a contiguous bike path,” said Silvestri.
Top photo: Nancy Anzalone (L) of Lindenhurst was among the first to utilize the new bike-share program Sunday near Argyle Lake in Babylon.
(Credit: Michael White)