|Public Bike Repair Stations Installed in Pittsfield|
|By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff|
08:15AM / Sunday, June 19, 2022
|The station in front of the library|
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Residents may notice a couple of purple bike repair stations in the downtown area.
They are called Fix It stations, and are part of the city's Bicycle Facilities Master Plan that aims to make the streets of Pittsfield multimodal.
They are located on Wendell Avenue in front of the Berkshire Antheneum and on North Street in front of the Funky Pheonix.
Bike riders can simply walk up to the public utility and fix a number of issues including flat tires and loose bolts with an air pump and tools attached to wires.
"It's part of the growing need in infrastructure for people on the road moving with a bicycle being able to repair, if necessary, their bicycles," Commissioner of Public Services and Utilities Ricardo Morales said.
"And not have it be an impediment when you have a malfunctioning bicycle or an unworkable one, not have it be an impediment that you don't have the necessary tools to repair it."
The city purchased four of the stations with funding from a Shared Streets and Spaces grant for around $2,000 each. This funding is available to municipalities and Regional Transit Authorities (RTA) for improvements to plazas, sidewalks, curbs, streets, bus stops, parking areas, and other public spaces in support of public health, safe mobility, and strengthened commerce.
In the near future, the remaining two stations will be installed on Tyler Street and near the new leg of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail that comes out on Crane Avenue.
"It's very reassuring to be able to provide some of this stuff, and it was very good to see already some people making use of them. On passing bys I see some activity happening with them," Morales said.
"So it's reassuring when we look at our residents move around and rely more on alternative modes of transportation."
The Bicycle Facilities Master Plan was completed last year and will cover nearly 100 miles of Pittsfield.
It aims to create a safe, user-friendly connected bicycle network throughout the city based on transportation factors, land use factors, and demographic factors and will be implemented over the years as the city has opportunities to add more bike accommodations to its infrastructure.
The plan has been in the works since the early 2000s but was officially launched in August 2020.
Morales added that the city is working on installing more of the Fix It stations and other facilities as the city continues to expand its bike infrastructure.
"We're adding infrastructure to our city in terms of bicycle needs, so that does not just include bike lanes," he explained.
"It's the bike lanes definitely, it's bike boxes, potentially in the future we can start seeing intersections that are incorporated with bicycle infrastructure. But then on the furniture side, we're looking for bike racks, bike lockers, bike repair stations, and that sort of thing."
A bike box is a designated area at the head of a traffic lane at a signalized intersection that gives bicyclists a safe and visible way to get ahead of queuing traffic during the red signal phase.
Other multimodal efforts include the city partnering with a micro-mobility company to bring rentable electric scooters to the streets. In April, Bird scooters arrived in the city and began to provide a new way to get around and utilize the bike lanes.
All of these efforts are under the umbrella of becoming a community that is less reliant on single-use vehicles for transportation. This has environmental advantages and makes transportation more accessible for those who cannot afford a car.