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Huntington Town may jump on the bike-share bandwagon

Christina and Robert Santos of Babylon rent bikes

Christina and Robert Santos of Babylon rent bikes near Argyle Lake in Babylon. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Town of Huntington officials want in on the bike sharing movement rolling across Long Island, but say changes to code are needed before the town can participate.

Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said the town is considering joining the Bethpage Ride rent-a-bike program sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union. The bicycles will have the credit union's name emblazoned on them and possibly other advertisements. Amendments to town code are required to allow sponsorships and other advertising on town properties.

“We are very interested in this,” Lupinacci said. “This will authorize agreements to allow postings of private advertisement signs on town or board of trustee properties, parks and recreational facilities and their vicinity on an agreement-by-agreement basis.”

Other Suffolk County communities have already  joined the Bethpage Ride bike-share initiative. Riverhead launched its program in September. Babylon Village, Patchogue Village and Hampton Bays also participate.

The program — which comes at no cost to participating communities — allows people to rent, locate and unlock bikes using an app on their smartphones. Riders pay a fee based on their bike usage, or they can sign up for a monthly membership. Riders can pause their trip when stopping at local businesses, parks or other locations.

A 15-minute ride costs $1; membership costs $10 per month or $60 per year for unlimited trips of up to 30 minutes. Ridership fees will go to Boston-based Zagster Inc., which runs more than 200 such programs in 38 states, to help cover maintenance and operational costs.

The bikes are placed near train stations, parks and downtowns, officials said. The program, which is modeled after Citi Bike in New York City, is designed to solve the "last-mile connection" when using public transit.

A public hearing is scheduled during the Huntington Town Board meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at   at Town Hall.

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