Southold officials are considering whether to allow a countywide bike share program to expand into town by installing several bicycle racks on town properties.
Chris Dimon, co-founder of PedalShare, which is the official operator of Suffolk County’s bicycle share program, is seeking permission from the town to install several bike share stations at some town-owned properties including the town’s recreational center on Peconic Lane, Town Hall on Main Road and Town Beach along County Road 48.
If approved, Dimon told the board the program would seek to get sponsors for the bikes, which helps pay for the costs for the program, and then move forward with installing the bike stations. The bicycles cost $4 an hour to ride, according to PedalShare's website. The program would be free to the town as sponsorships pay for its costs, according to Dimon.
"We have general ideas of some locations [in Southold], but nothing is locked in," Dimon said. "It becomes a collaborative effort where we need certain places to expand the program, so it becomes a public-private partnership to really expand it."
Since becoming the operator for Suffolk County’s regional bike share program in 2020, PedalShare has expanded into Huntington, Patchogue, Babylon, Riverhead Town and Bridgehampton, among other communities. The program, which launched in 2018, currently has 3,866 users countywide as well as more than 50 stations and 200 bicycles across eight municipalities, according to statistics Dimon shared with the Southold Town Board at their Nov. 16 work session.
Councilwoman Sarah Nappa, who is the board’s liaison to the town’s Transportation Commission, said residents had suggested making more bicycles available in Southold during a recent forum on transportation.
"This idea does fit into a larger goal of making sure there are more bikes in Southold," Nappa said.
Southold Supervisor Scott Russell told Newsday in a recent interview while he likes the bike share program, the design and size of Southold’s roads could make implementation difficult.
"It’s a great idea, but it’s difficult for Southold because we don’t have roads that have bike lanes or anything similar," Russell said, "and it would be very difficult to accommodate bicycles on these very narrow, small winding roads, so all these things have to be thought of before proceeding."
The program will also be looking at some private locations in town, according to Dimon, although that would be up to the owners of such properties. In addition, program officials will be talking with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority about adding bike stations at the LIRR Southold train station along Youngs Avenue and Traveler Street.