Whose Bike Share is Biggest?

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is joined by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to Announce Tiger Grants (photo: Chicago Mayor's Office)

In a conference call Thursday announcing transportation grants, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood crowed that “In the Chicago area, $10 million will go to bike share, the mayor has a vision to create the largest bike share program in the country, and the other $10 million in Chicago goes to the Blue Line.”

But, um....that's not exactly right.  Chicago's bike share will be the second biggest. Which, we guess, is appropriate for the second city.

According to its request for proposals, Chicago will start with 3000 bikes, and expand to 5000.  New York is starting with 10,000.

A LaHood spokesman, Justin Nisly, clarifies that the Secretary meant Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to build the biggest bike share.

And, yes Emanuel has a big place in Ray LaHood's heart (Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) credits Emanuel, the former White House Chief of Staff, with LaHood's appointment.)

But does Emanuel want the biggest bike share more than New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants the biggest bike share?  (Bloomberg is also not exactly a shrinking violet.)

No word from either Chicago or New York officials on that one.

We'll say this for Chicago.   New York had about a year and a half between the announcement of the bike share and the projected launch date. Chicago?  Half that time.  So that city may have the fastest bike share to get up and running.