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Transportation Nation

NYC Bike Share Delayed Again -- Until May, Sandy Flooding Cited

Friday, December 07, 2012

(photo by Kate Hinds)

New York City Bike Share, delayed from its initial summer, 2012 launch, is being delayed again. The city is now setting a May, 2013 launch date. Officials are citing damage from storm Sandy.

According to a DOT press release: "Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge flooded NYCBS’s facility at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which sits along the East River, and where about two-thirds of the system’s equipment had been stored before the Oct. 29 storm. While portions of the system’s equipment were not significantly damaged, including bike frames and hardware, many parts of the system containing electrical components must have individual parts refurbished or replaced.

"NYCBS is currently working to identify, repair and replace these damaged parts, aided through insurance and supplemented by equipment that wasn’t stored at the Navy Yard, as well as by additional equipment from its supplier and from elsewhere in the delivery pipeline."

The bike share was initially scheduled for July, then August, then delayed until March 2013.  Bike share systems in Chicago, San Francisco, and an expansion in Washington have also been delayed. All four cities share a vendor, Alta Bike Share.

Launching bike share has been a part of the city's PlaNYC, a blueprint for reducing the city's carbon footprint and combating climate change. Climate change has been cited as a reason for Sandy's intensity and destruction.

The city also says some neighborhoods won't get bike share even at the newly delayed launch date.

"The timeline will affect the phasing for neighborhoods in the initial launch area. The 5,500 bikes will be located in the densest and most geographically contiguous parts of the service area in Manhattan south of 59th Street and in Brooklyn as work continues to extend to 7,000 bikes in the remaining parts of the Brooklyn service area and into Long Island City, Queens, by the end of 2013. Details will be announced as planning continues. And while planning is underway to launch the initial system in May, we remain committed to bringing the system to 10,000 bikes."

In a statement, Transportation Alternatives Executive Director, Paul Steely White, was philosophical. “New Yorkers are eager for this new transportation choice but we all know the damage Hurricane Sandy wrought on our city," Steely White said. "Every day, a new cost is added to the toll of destruction, and the damage to the bike share equipment is merely the latest. We’re thankful the storm spared so much of the equipment and grateful to see the program will still launch in the spring.”

Tri-State Transportation campaign offered a more grimly sanguine twist: "If a 150 percent increase in bicycling over the East River bridges in the days after the storm is any indication, bike share will help New York City’s residents and commuters weather the next storm even better."

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Transportation Nation

Capital Bikeshare Expansion Halted By Parts Problems

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

(photo by James Schwartz via flickr)

(Armando Trull - Washington, D.C., WAMU) A lack of parts is putting the brakes on the expansion of the Capital Bikeshare program in the District, according to a District Department of Transportation official.

Existing plans to add 54 bike share stations this fall will likely come up short, department spokesman John Lisle told The Washington Post, because they have not been able to get all the needed equipment from a supplier.

The system, launched in 2010 in the District, Arlington and Alexandria, has about 175 stations. It has struggled to keep up with demand at times.

The expansion delay has also raised questions about whether supplier Alta Bicycle Share can keep up with growing demand from cities for bike share programs. New York City's bike share program, which will also be operated by Alta, has been delayed due to software problems, as has Chicago's program.  Meanwhile, Alta picked up another big contract earlier this year: it will be the vendor for Portland's bike share. And in the D.C. region, Maryland's Montgomery County unanimously approved measures to expand bike share, most of which is expected to integrate with Capital Bikeshare.

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Transportation Nation

Nine Percent of All D.C. Bike Share Bikes at Washington Nationals Stadium For Playoff Game

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Capitol Bikeshare "corral" at Nationals Stadium earlier today.

Playoff baseball pulls in the fans. In Washington, D.C., it's also pulling in the Capital Bikeshare bikes.

According to a rough count from the Washington D.C. Department of Transportation, about nine percent of the city's bike share bikes are Nationals Park for game three of the National League East division series, according to John Lisle, a DDOT spokesman.

"We have about 1,600 bikes in the system, and best I can count, we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 140 that are docked there [at the stadium]. Or were docked there," Lisle said. "That's a pretty good showing."

Capital Bikeshare, which is run by DDOT, has set up a staffed bike corral at the stadium for the overflow. "So if someone brings a bike there, even if the station is full, they put can put it in the corral," Lisle said. "It's a way to add capacity and it's relatively easy to do. " So there is no limit to the number of people who can come by bike share, Lisle said.

During the regular season, Capital Bikeshare clears out the docking stations before games and monitors them closely. If the docks fill up, then Capital Bikeshare "rebalances" them -- the technical term for 'takes the bikes to by van to another dock somewhere else.'

After today's game ends, staffers will keep the docks full with those corralled bikes so fans can check out a bike as usual.

But, Lisle cautions, "after the game there is no guarantee you will have a bike share bike to go home, but we are not removing any of the bikes."

So: Nats fans who chose bike to cheer on their team may want to consider checking out in the top of the ninth to ensure a two-wheeled ride home.

The bike corral will be in place at all Nationals home games during the playoffs.

The bike share corral at Nationals Park, pictured earlier with just 102 bikes. Photo: DDOT

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Transportation Nation

Central Florida Mulls Region-Wide Bike Share

Friday, September 21, 2012

More bikes in Central Florida's future? (photo by Matthew Peddie)

(Orlando, Fla. -- WMFE) The train could bring in the bikes. The regional transportation planning agency MetroPlan Orlando is considering starting a bike share program to roll out alongside the SunRail train service under construction. The commuter train line is seen as a catalyst for cycling, with the potential to locate bike share kiosks around the stations along the 61 mile rail line. Other locations in consideration for bike share programs include the University of Central Florida and International Drive in Orlando.

Some cities like Orlando and Winter Park, are already researching bike sharing. But Mighk (pronounced Mike) Wilson, who leads the MetroPlan bike share working group, says it makes more sense to have a region wide system.

“You don’t want to have the user sign up for a program, let’s say in the city of Orlando, and then go sign up for another program maybe in Altamonte, and then have all that redundancy,” he says.

"Instead they should be able to hop on a bike anywhere in the Central Florida area, all under the same membership and fee structure."

The working group held its first meeting Wednesday.

Wilson says he doesn't know if bike share will be up and running in Central Florida by the time SunRail starts in 2014. "What we haven't really determined yet is, are we going to move forward with a bike share program," he says. "We still need to answer a number of questions before we make that commitment." Wilson says one of the first steps will be to put out a Request For Information from bike share companies.

Orlando already put out its own RFI, and three companies responded: Wisconsin based B-Cycle; Deco Bike, which has programs in South Florida and New York; and the Southern California based Bike Nation.

Winter Park Sustainability coordinator Tim Maslow says setting up a region-wide bike share program could take longer than it would for an individual city- but he's willing to wait.

Work is underway on tracks next to Winter Park train station in preparation for SunRail (photo by Matthew Peddie)

"I think the investment in time will pay off in the end," he says. "Maybe we could roll it out in three to six months, but I think it would be worse if we tried to expedite it on our own and then people who were traveling to and from Winter Park, Orlando and surrounding areas were using different systems and they had to get different memberships."

The other benefit of setting up a bigger system is a bigger funding pool. "If it was just city-wide, we would have to foot the bill not only just for bicycles and the stations, which could be a pretty hefty investment, but the city would have to assume the risk and liability and operation of that system," Maslow says. "I'm not sure we have the resources or the staff time."

Maslow says he's still hopeful bike sharing can roll out at the same time as SunRail. He says Winter Park is also making plans to accommodate private bike owners, and the city is in talks with the architects designing the new train station about a potential covered bike storage facility near the station.

A hundred miles west of Orlando, in St. Petersburg, plans are also underway for bike sharing. MyBike founder Andrew Blikken aims to use a system developed by the New York based company  SoBi., which does away with the need for kiosks.  The bikes include an on-board computer and can be locked up anywhere: riders can use their smartphones to locate a bike, unlock it and pay for its use.

MyBike founder Andrew Blikken (photo courtesy of Andrew Blikken)

MyBike was slated to launch in July with 500 bicycles, but Blikken says he's still trying to raise money for the program.

"There is not a bank on the planet that considers bikes collateral," he says.

"So that means debt financing is basically not possible for something like this. However, equity financing is. We have found a number of people who are very interested in putting down smaller amounts. We have a quarter million dollars towards our million dollar goal in our subscription agreement so far."

Blikken says he's looking for a major sponsor to get myBike off the ground. He says once he gets the capital it will be six months at least before his program will be operational.

Meanwhile in Orlando, another start up company is trying to generate interest in a bike share program using the same technology.

SunCycles founder Peter Martinez says he's in talks with SoBi, and he's also looking for people to invest in his company.

 

 

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Transportation Nation

Maryland County Debates Joining DC's Bike Share Program

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

(photo by Kevin Kovaleski/DDOTDC via flickr)

(Armando Trull and Matt Bush -- Washington DC, WAMU) Maryland's Montgomery County is considering a $2.1 million plan to expand Capital Bikeshare to more than 48 locations, including Takoma Park, Silver Spring, Bethesda, Friendship Heights and the NIH/Medical Center Metro station. Funding for the 350 bikes and their respective stations will be a combination of money from state grants, the county and the private sector.

Two bills were introduced in the County Council today to encourage bikesharing. One would eliminate a zoning requirement needed to set up a bikesharing station, while another would allow county transportation money to be spent on such stations.

"Twenty-nine stations in Silver Spring, Bethesda, Friendship Heights, Medical Center — all the places where you would most want to provide the kind of biking community integrated with the District of Columbia," said Council President Roger Berliner. He said both moves would encourage bikesharing with businesses and their workers.

While passage of both bills wouldn't necessarily mean that D.C.'s Capital Bikeshare would be coming to Montgomery County, Berliner says whatever bikesharing program there is in Montgomery County would have to be integrated with the city's.

Councilwoman Nancy Floreen warned though that Montgomery County has a long way to go in updating its roads to ensure bikers are safe.

"There are many, many accidents that are occurring on a regular basis," said Floreen. "Whether or not they reported. I'm going to a lot of hospitals to visit folks."

Floreen added the county can take its cues from D.C. on this issue as well, pointing to how the city increased the number of bike lanes and bike markings on major roads by turning some of them into one-way streets for vehicle traffic. Public hearings on both bills will take place late next month before the council.

The county has already received federal money to purchase 200 additional bikeshare bikes in the Rockville and Shady Grove Life Sciences Center. The bike rental program -- the most popular in the country -- already operates in the District and Arlington County and the City of Alexandria in Virginia.

 

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Transportation Nation

Bloomberg: NYC Bike Share Delayed Until Spring (UPDATED)

Friday, August 17, 2012

(Photo by Andrea Bernstein)

(UPDATED 9:55am) There will be no shiny blue Citi Bikes on the streets of New York until March.

"Unfortunately there are software issues" said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Friday on his radio show on WOR with John Gambling. The mayor said: "One of the newspapers keeps writing, 'you're hiding something.' Yeah, well, nothing. The software doesn't work. Duh. Until it works, we're not going to put it out until it does work."

"We did think there would be a possibility of a partial launch but at this point --

At which point, Gambling interjected: "Next year?"

"The spring," Mayor Bloomberg responded. "Hopefully the software will work by then. We want to make sure that it works. Washington and Boston are pretty good tests." The Mayor added that "mother nature" makes winter a poor time to launch a system.

A press release from the NYC Department of Transportation (full text below)  sent out shortly after the Mayor's radio statement clarified the launch date will be "March" for phase 1 of the program, which will include 7,000 bikes at 420 stations. The statement did not specify what neighborhoods, or with what pace the bikes would be deployed.

Chicago also delayed its launch until spring, and before its own system went live, Boston delayed so as not to have the system get going just as a cold, northeast winter was getting under way. Bike share relies on physical activity, and streets clear of snow and ice.

The New York bike share program was to have launched July 31. But that day came and went with city officials tight-lipped about why. Mayor Bloomberg only said the problem had to do with software issues.

"It really is very advanced technology," the Mayor said Friday. "Each station is like a dock, each place you stick in a bike is a computer, and everything runs on solar power so you don't need a lot of wiring and there's no burden on the electrical system. There's an enormous number of transactions you have to communicate in real time to central computers."

With 10,000 bikes at full roll-out New York's system will be, by several orders of magnitude, the largest system in U.S., and the largest in North America. The next largest U.S. system is in Washington, with about 2,000 bikes.

Even before Friday's announcement, there were indications that the initial, breathless announcements may have been overly optimistic. When it named its sponsor, the city let it slip out that launching the system would take 13 months, and that neighborhoods like Park Slope and the Upper West Side wouldn't get bike share until 2013.

That turned out to be because finding a sponsor took so much longer than anticipated, and because of that the vendor who is supplying New York with its bikes, Alta Bicycle Share, didn't have any money in hand to order bikes until months later than planned.

Alta is also preparing large bike shares for San Francisco and Chicago. The Chicago system, set to be 4,000 bikes, is similarly delayed, and the losing vendor in that city has sued, saying the Chicago transportation commissioner, Gabe Klein, had an inappropriate consulting relationship with Alta. A Klein spokesman says there's nothing untoward and that Klein recused himself from Chicago's selection.

Alta is the only vendor in the U.S. who has undertaken large-scale bike share systems, running both the Washington, DC and Boston networks. Those programs are widely deemed to be successful, and both are expanding. They both use a previous version of software, made by a different vendor, than newer Alta bike share systems. Boston's launch was also delayed by several months when it opened with 600 bikes in Summer 2011.

On Thursday, at an unrelated press conference in Coney Island, Brooklyn, the mayor said: “We’re trying to figure out when we can put a date that we’re sure or reasonably sure that it will work."

He said the reason for New York's delay is straightforward. “Look,” he said, “everybody wants to say there’s a secret agenda here. The software doesn’t work. And putting it out when the software doesn’t work, it wouldn’t work. Period.”

He wet on: “The fascinating thing is those people who screamed they didn’t want bicycles are now screaming ‘where are they?’. So I guess we’ve come a long way and [are] going in the right direction. Nobody would put it out quicker than me.”

On Friday, cycling advocates praised the Mayor's edition.  " “While we are eager for Citi Bike to begin, it’s more crucial that this ground-breaking transit system be launched correctly, not quickly, " said Paul Steely White, the Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives.

"New York’s public bike share program will not only be the largest bike share system in the Western Hemisphere, it will also be the city’s first brand-new, full-scale form of public transit since the subway’s debut more than 100 years ago—this is not a moment to rush. When bike share launches in 2013, it will transform New York City by giving New Yorkers unprecedented convenience and freedom of mobility. In time, the circumstances of Citi Bike’s launch will be all but forgotten and we’ll all be enjoying a city made safer, healthier and less congested," Steely White added.

The contract inked between Alta Bicycle Share and New York City last September, which Transportation Nation has obtained, stipulated the company was to have least 1,000 bikes on the street on or before July 31.

Thereafter, Alta was supposed to have added at least 75 stations per ten business days, building to 7,000 bikes by September 30.

The announcement came on a summer Friday, typical a time politicians use to announce news they hope will garner little attention.

Bloomberg said Thursday there were no penalties for a delay.

“It’s all private money. And the people who’ve put up the money, particularly the two big sponsors, Citibank and MasterCard, are fully aware of what’s going on and they have been as supportive as you possibly can be. The city loses because we don’t have bicycles, but the city doesn’t lose any money or anything, and we all want to get it done as quickly — but you’ve got to do it right.”

The city’s Department of Transportation and Alta -- which is contractually not allowed to speak without prior DOT approval --  had been ciphers on the delay. Even Citi Bike’s official twitter account has been dark for a week.

But on Friday, the city issued DOT its longest statement in months on bike share.

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), bike share operator New York City Bike Share (NYCBS) today announced that the Citi Bike system will launch in March 2013 with an initial phase of 7,000 bikes implemented at 420 stations. The timeline, agreed to by all parties, does not affect the Citi Bike sponsorship structure, which uses $41 million in private funding from Citi to underwrite the system for five years and ensures that NYCBS will split profits with the City.

 “New York City demands a world-class bike share system, and we need to ensure that Citi Bike launches as flawlessly as New Yorkers expect on Day One,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “The enthusiasm for this program continues to grow and we look forward to bringing this affordable new transportation option to New Yorkers without cost to taxpayers.”

“NYCBS continues to be committed to bringing the largest and best solar-powered bike share system in the world to New York City,” said Alison Cohen, President.  “We recognize that New Yorkers are eagerly anticipating the launch of the bike share system and we will deliver on that promise.”

NYCBS continues work to conclude manufacture and testing of the high-performance software necessary to operate the new system, which is being tailored for New York City. The system uses new solar power arrays and circuit boards, and engineers will continue to thoroughly test data communications, power management and payment systems to ensure overall system performance. Following the March launch, work will continue to expand the system to 10,000 bikes, covering parts of Manhattan and from Long Island City to parts of Brooklyn.

 

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Transportation Nation

NYC Mayor Bloomberg: No Date Yet for Bike Share Launch

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (center), flanked by Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro and Brooklyn City Council member Domenic Recchia (photo by Arun Venugopal)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (center), flanked by Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro and Brooklyn City Council member Domenic Recchia at the New York Aquarium (photo by Arun Venugopal)

[The Mayor said on Friday the system won't launch until next spring.  Here's our post on it.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn't putting a date on when New York's delayed bike share program will be up and running. The program was to have launched July 31, but that date came and went. The mayor has attributed the delay to unspecified software issues.

"We're trying to figure out when we can put a date that we're sure or reasonably sure that it will work," Bloomberg said Thursday.  He also said, without explanation,  the city is "getting very close."

Bloomberg was speaking at a press conference trumpeting the new shark exhibit at the New York Aquarium.

New York's bike share, at 10,000 bikes, is by far the largest planned bike share anywhere in North America. The next largest system is in Washington, which is about a fifth that size.

An ambitious bike share program in Chicago has also been delayed, and a vendor who lost the bid has sued, saying that city's transportation commissioner, Gabe Klein, had a conflict because he was a consultant on Alta's bid to New York City. A spokesman for the Chicago mayor has said Klein recused himself from the Chicago negotiations and that the suit is baseless.

Alta is also the vendor for Boston's "Hubway" bike share. That program was also delayed by several months, though officials there declare the system a success and are expanding it.

On Thursday, Bloomberg said the reason for the delay is straightforward.  "Look," he said. "Everybody wants to say there's a secret agenda here. The software doesn't work. And putting it out when the software doesn't work, it wouldn't work. Period. And so we're trying to figure out when we can put a date that we're sure or reasonably sure that it will work. And we're trying."

"Everybody - a lot - the fascinating thing is those people who screamed they didn't want bicycles are now screaming 'where are they' so I guess we've come a long way and [are] going in the right direction. Nobody would put it out quicker than me."

Alta Bicycle Share, the company picked by New York City last September to run its program, was supposed to have had at least 1,000 bikes on the street on or before July 31, according to its contract with the city, which Transportation Nation has obtained.

Thereafter, Alta was supposed to have added at least 75 stations per ten business days, building to 7,000 bikes by September 30.

Bloomberg said Thursday there were no penalties for a delay.

"It's all private money. And the people who've put up the money, particularly the two big sponsors, Citibank and MasterCard, are fully aware of what's going on and they have been as supportive as you possibly can be. The city loses because we don't have bicycles, but the city doesn't lose any money or anything, and we all want to get it done as quickly -- but you've got to do it right."

The city's Department of Transportation and Alta have been ciphers on the delay. Even Citi Bike's official twitter account has been dark for a week.

 

 

Image from bike share contract (photo by Kate Hinds)

 

 

 

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Bicycling 101

Monday, July 23, 2012

Grant Petersen, founder and owner of Rivendell Bicycle Works and author of Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike, discusses the imminent launch of the New York bikeshare program and offers his take on how and why to ride.

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WNYC News

Mayor Blames Technical Reasons for Bike Share Hold Up

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the city’s long awaited bike share program won’t launch in July for technical reasons: "Until we get it working perfectly, have these private companies do it to our satisfaction, we’re just not going to put it out,” he said.

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Transportation Nation

No Launch Date For NYC Bike Share

Thursday, July 19, 2012

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (photo by Colby Hamilton/WNYC)

New York City won't commit to a new launch date for its vaunted bike share, the largest planned for North America.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered the first explanation Thursday for why the city’s bike share program won’t launch in July: technical reasons.

At a ribbon cutting ceremony in Harlem's Sugar Hill, the mayor was asked when the program was going to be up and running — and what the problems were.

He replied: “Well, its software isn’t working yet. And just rest assured we’re not going to put out any program here that doesn’t work.”

He went on to acidly comment that New Yorkers’ attitudes towards bike share seemed to be evolving. “What’s fascinating is there was a lot of screaming that ‘we don’t want bikes’ and now everybody’s screaming ‘we want ‘em now.’ We’re just not going to do it until it works. There’s no government money involved whatsoever here, the only thing about a delay — if it turns out there is one — is that people won’t be able to use something that we think is phenomenally popular. But until we get it working perfectly, have these private companies do it to our satisfaction, we’re just not going to put it out.”

Calls to Alta Bicycle Share (the company operating the system), as well to the New York City Department of Transportation, weren’t immediately returned. A spokesperson for the City Hall wouldn’t provide further information beyond confirming the Mayor’s comments.

Previous speculation about the delay focused on money and timing. New York City’s bike share program is unique among its peers in that it’s entirely privately funded. Citibank, the program’s main sponsor, wasn’t formally on board until the end of April. Until the sponsorship money was firmly in hand, the city couldn’t begin production. Which meant New York had only a couple of months to turn around 7,000 bikes, 420 stations, and a functional payment system. Some sources TN spoke to wondered if that timeline wasn’t too ambitious.

Caroline Samponaro, the director of bicycle advocacy for the nonprofit Transportation Alternatives said, “no one in any other city in the world remembers the start date.”

 

You can listen to the audio from the mayor's remarks below.

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Transportation Nation

DC Bike Shop Owners See Big Returns From Bike Share

Friday, June 29, 2012

(photo by Martin Di Caro)

Listen to the audio version of this story here.

When the District of Columbia and Arlington County partnered to establish a bike sharing system in 2010, offering more than 1,500 bikes at 165 stations, local bike shops got a little nervous. Why would someone buy a new bike for hundreds of dollars when they could hop on a bike any time they wished for just $50 per year?

It turns out their fears were for naught. Bike store owners say bike sharing is actually helping their businesses by fueling an explosion in bicycling enthusiasm. Moreover, bike shops say they are witnessing a culture change in their neighborhoods as more people leave their cars at home and hop on two-wheelers.

"We've seen all kinds of people out on the streets," says Erik Kugler, the owner of Bicycle Space, a new shop on 7th Street NW. "Streets are becoming safer. Drivers are becoming more courteous. The city is becoming a much more fun place."

Kugler says customers are buying bikes because of Capital Bikeshare.

"We've had plenty of those people," he says. "In fact, when you contacted me about the story I put it out on Facebook and Twitter, and we were just inundated with responses from people who said, 'I was a Bikeshare member, and it encouraged me to get a bike.'"

Kugler's and other bicycle users' Twitter posts about this story produced a flood of responses in just a few minutes. Jon Renaut tweeted that he hadn't ridden a bike more than a half dozen times since high school, tried Capital Bikeshare, and then bought his own bike. He says he's ridden about 1,500 miles already, just this year.

Laurance Alvarado tweeted, "bought a #Brompton after a great experience with @Bikeshare." Daniel Colbert tweeted, "I did exactly that. Loved Bikeshare. Bought a bike as a direct result."

Bikeshare proved to be a gateway drug that fueled an addiction. After bike sharing first, Kristin Frontiera, 25, bought her own bike online for $40.

"Bikeshare has gotten really, really popular," says Frontiera, a recently returned Peace Corps volunteer. "I'm so happy for it, but if I need to leave my house at 8:30 in the morning with the rest of America and go to downtown with the rest of America, there's no way. There aren't bikes."

Bike share program leads to more bike owners

Indeed, Bikeshare's shortcomings have led its users to buy bikes of their own. The cycles are a bit heavy and slow. On busy days there may be no bikes available at a nearby dock, or no open slots to return a bike, forcing a user to find another dock.

"When I started riding Bikeshare, there was a phase when I'd see another person and we'd say hey, Bikeshare! This is awesome!" says Frontiera. "Now I see them and I feel like I need to pedal faster to get to the dock before them."

Kugler is seeing more customers, and more significant changes, in his neighborhood that he credits to the rising popularity of bicycling.

"AAA estimates that people spend on the average [$9,000 per year] related to their car," he says. "So if you can build an area where people don't need to spend that money every year, that money becomes available for the local economy. You see new restaurants open up, cafes, niche shops, and small businesses like ours. We employ 18 people here."

The story is the same at City Bikes in Adams Morgan, which has been in business for 25 years.

"You are getting more and more people that loved using Bikeshare and now are saying wait, I want something that's my own," says marketing manager Ben West. "[They] want something that is custom designed for the kind of riding [they are] doing."

West says bicycling is achieving "critical mass" in Washington. There are enough bicyclists on the streets that motorists have to be courteous and accommodate them, even where there are no bike lanes.

"In some areas of the city, there is almost a traffic jam of cyclists," says West.

Bicycle community grows in D.C.

Any worries that Capital Bikeshare would ruin business for neighborhood bike shops are long gone. There were similar concerns in Paris when the Vélib rental system started. However, a 2008 report in Bike Europe, a website for bike professionals, cited a 39 percent growth in sales of city bikes possibly attributed to the huge popularity of the Vélib system.

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association endorses Bikeshare's program for that reason.

"We often hear that once Capital Bikeshare members find the joys of bicycling in the D.C., they go on to purchase a personal bike," says Gregory Billing, the association's outreach and advocacy coordinator. "Local bike shops have seen both an increase in sales of bikes and also repairs of old bikes. Owners and managers report seeing an increase of old bikes being pulled out of the basements or garages, brought to the shop for a tune-up and to be outfitted with a cargo rack for commuting."

Russell Martin, 25, enjoyed bike sharing so much that he bought three bikes of his own at local bike shops. "I ended up selling my car and buying a couple more bicycles, and I haven't looked back," says Martin, a sales manager at a boutique hotel who commutes on a bicycle daily.

He fell in love with bicycling again, but the limitations of Bikeshare also persuaded him to get his own cycle.

"I actually had a problem last night where every station within a mile of where I want to go was full, and there was nowhere to dock the bike," he says.

Annah Walters, 25, says she wanted her own bicycle only after trying Bikeshare first.

"One of the great things about Bikeshare is it's sort of a gateway drug to biking. You don't have to make a several hundred dollar investment," says Walters, who works at Habitat for Humanity. But Walters didn't have to make the big purchase when it came time to get her own two-wheeler. Her boyfriend bought her one for her birthday.

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WNYC News

Liu Warns Bike Share Program May Lead to More Lawsuits for City

Monday, June 25, 2012

While many in the city are eagerly waiting the start of the city’s bike sharing program, at least one man isn’t. New York City Comptroller John Liu is warning of safety and lawsuit problems that could come with the launch of Citi Bike.

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Transportation Nation

Survey: Capital Bike Share Saved 5 Million Driving Miles

Monday, June 18, 2012

Capital Bike Share on the streets in Washington D.C.

A new survey of Washington's Capital Bikeshare, done for Capital Bikeshare, says four in ten users report using cars less -- for an average savings of 523 miles for those users.

The survey's authors say that translates to a total of 5 million miles not driven.

But the survey also found that bike share users tend to be, "on average, considerably younger, more likely to be male and Caucasian, highly educated, and slightly less affluent" than the adult population of the Washington, DC area.

And even though the survey found most (56%) of trips were for non-work purposes, more than nine in ten bike share users are employed, compared to just seven in ten adults in the Washington region.

Other results:

* 64 percent said they would not have made the trip without bike share;

* 15 percent said they joined bike share because of a "Living Social" offer;

* More than half of respondents used bike share as a feeder to reach transit stops.

Lots of other interesting nuggets. You can read the full survey here.

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Transportation Nation

As in the 1800s, Bikes and Trains Could Boom Together in Florida

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

DeLand, Florida (Photo by Matthew Peddie)

In central Florida the car rules. A network of wide highways link sprawling cities.

But now two machines which saw their heyday in Florida more than a century ago  are making a comeback: the train and the bike.

With the arrival of the SunRail commuter train in 2014 some cities are looking to bicycles as a way to get passengers to their final destination.

In Winter Park -- built in the late 1800s -- the city's sustainability coordinator Tim Maslow is thinking about how to incorporate cycling into the transportation mix. Maslow says the new SunRail and Amtrak train station could be a starting point for bike sharing.

Winter Park's train station will be demolished and rebuilt (photo by Matthew Peddie)

“We see having a station here with maybe ten bikes at first to see how it goes," says Maslow. "You could go up to 20 bikes per station with some of the companies we’ve been looking at.”

One company talking with Winter Park is the Wisconsin based B-cycle, which is backed by the bike manufacturer Trek. In Denver, the company has some 50 bike share stations where users can rent their bikes, and B-cycle says the system works well with the city's light rail line. Train passengers use the bikes to go the last leg of their journey after getting off the train.

Bike sharing already has a foothold in South Florida, where Broward County has started a system. Sales manager Lee Jones went for a ride around Orlando on a recent visit. He says bike share stations around SunRail may have to be positioned to avoid the busiest roads.

“I did find some of the very wide streets, basically three lanes across, it was almost like being on the interstate," he says.

Early map of Winter Park

Some cities along the rail line are ideally situated for this back to the future approach to getting around.

Tim Maslow, from Winter Park, points out his city was designed so passengers could easily walk to and from the train station.

“That was before the automobile was so prevalent in everyone’s lives, so when they came down to the train station they actually had to go to different locations that were no longer than a 15-20 minute walk, because in Florida no one would walk that far,” says Maslow.

A return to cycling as a primary means of transportation may seem a bit old fashioned. But when the bicycle first appeared in America, it was high tech. In the 1969 Western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Paul Newman's Cassidy shows off a bicycle with the words: "meet the future."

The movie was set in the late 1800s, when the real-life Cassidy and the Kid were robbing trains in the American West.

In Florida at that time, rail barons were laying a network of tracks across the state, and the whole country was gripped by a cycling craze.

"It was huge in this country, huge," says Tim Bustos, the executive director of the Florida Bicycle Association.

"Next to the railroad, bicycling was like the most powerful transportation lobby out there. [Bicycles] were expensive, so it was mostly well to do and influential people that could afford them.”

And in the late 1800s, well-to-do people were taking the train to cities like Winter Park to spend their winter vacations.

Winter Park’s not the only place where rail and cycling could make a comeback.

Tim Bustos, Florida Bicycle Association

The Florida Bicycle association’s headquartered in Deland, and Tim Bustos dreams of making the city a hub for cycling in the state.

He says SunRail’s completion in 2016 could help, by giving riders better access to a network of cycling trails. Bike share could also be part of the mix.

“People that would have rented a car five years ago, are now using bike shares," he says.

"It’s cheaper, it’s easier, it’s more enjoyable.”

Some DeLand cyclists have reservations- they say a safe route first has to be found from the train station to the city’s downtown, five miles away.

“We’re researching routes that could be bike friendly," says Ted Beyler, who owns the Deland Cyclery, one of two bicycle shops in Deland.  Beyler’s on a chamber of commerce committee looking into the problem, and he says if that can be worked out, bike sharing could take off.

"That’s the major hindrance that I see is the proximity of the station to downtown Deland," says Beyler.

However, central Florida bicycle advocates agree that SunRail’s arrival brings with it a chance to begin a new chapter in the shared history of cycling and rail.

DeLand Cyclery (photo by Matthew Peddie)

 

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WNYC News

London’s Mayor: Bike Share Will Civilize New York

Monday, June 11, 2012

WNYC

The New World can still learn a thing or two from the Old World – especially when it comes to transportation. Just as London had the tube before New York City got the subway, London has had a bike share in operation before New York City.

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Transportation Nation

London's Mayor: Bike Share Will Civilize New York

Monday, June 11, 2012

London Mayor Boris Johnson. (photo by hammersmithandfulham / Flickr)

(New York, NY - WNYC) When we heard that Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, would be sitting for an interview with show host Leonard Lopate in a studio at WNYC, we made sure to plant a transportation question.

Lopate: Our news department wanted us to ask if you have any advice for New York as it launches its bikeshare program next month.

Johnson: My advice is, 'Enjoy it.' I think it's high time that New York had it. It's a great scheme; it will go well.

Johnson then described how London's bikeshare program has transformed street life in Great Britain's capital city, and what New Yorkers should brace for.

Johnson: I think drivers have got to learn to recognize they are going to find bikes on the streets. It's just a fact of life, and it will civilize the place. It will improve the atmosphere. There's nothing more immediately redolent of a village than loads of people wobbling around on bicycles.

Understandably, Lopate was suspicious of the idea that New Yorkers could be civilized, especially compared to Londoners.

Lopate: London's always had a bicycle culture. And bicyclists, at least when I rode around London, actually observed the traffic rules. We would signal left turn, right turn, and not go through red lights. That doesn't happen in this city. Has there been the kind of war between drivers and bicyclists that we've seen in New York?

Johnson: I wish everybody was as punctilious as you are, Leonard. I'm going to have to confess to you that we've got some bad habits now in London. There's loads of people who jump red lights, ride on the pavement, intimidate pedestrians and disobey the rules of the road. If any of them are listening, they know who they are.

Despite such problems, bikeshares have come a long way since the 1960s, when a Dutch anarchist group collected several hundred bicycles, painted them white and left them lying around Amsterdam to be used for free--a bold stroke that inspired this super-groovy song. Today's bikeshares, like Barclay Cycle Hire in London, tend to be organized, branded and growing.

Johnson: We've seen a massive expansion of cycling in London. Last year alone, it's gone up 15 percent. The cycle scheme we've got in is expanding very fast. We're at something like 40,000 rides a day. We will go further.

Still, the Mayor of London ended with a cautionary note about the need for police to crack down on bad actors.

Johnson: But there's got to be a reciprocal understanding by cyclists that they've got to obey the rules of the road.

Are you listening, New York City?

Here is a video about how London's bikeshare works:

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Transportation Nation

No Bike Share on the Upper West Side Until June 2013: Sadik-Khan Discusses Biking, Parking -- and Bike Parking, in NYC Council Testimony

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

NYC DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, flanked by DOT officials Lori Ardito and Joseph Jarrin (photo by Kate Hinds)

The Upper West Side of Manhattan won't see bike share until June 2013. That's according to New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, in testimony before the New York City Council Tuesday.

The date isn't exactly a surprise -- the city acknowledged at the launch of its Citi Bike program that some neighborhoods won't see bike share until next spring, but the June date puts it at the outer edge of that timeline.

Sadik-Khan also defended the cost of the program, noting that an annual membership in New York gives riders 45 minutes of free riding compared to 30 minutes in London.  And she pointed out that New York's is "a privately operated system" while most other city's bike shares are not.

In other questioning, Queens council member Leroy Comrie wanted to know what Citibank's $47.5 million will be used for.  Sadik-Khan told him "it's going to pay for the purchase of the bikes, the stations, the operator that is going to be servicing the bikes 24/7, rebalancing the bikes, moving them around the city -- so all of that money is going to pay for the operation of that system."  She added that the program will bring about 200 jobs to Brooklyn. "The initial launch site will be in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and then we will be doing the permanent facility (which) will be located at Sunset Park, 53rd and 3rd."

On other subjects, Jimmy Vacca, who chairs the transportation committee, asked the commissioner what was happening with plans to privatize parking meters -- would people be laid off? Would we have dynamic pricing? Sadik-Khan said it's in the very early stages and the city is just putting out feelers by issuing a Request for Qualifications (RFQ).  "We've agreed to study the possibility of a public/private partnership for our parking program to see if there are opportunities for further improvement," she said, "but I would say that we run the most efficient and effective system in the country; we have  a 99% uptake in terms of operability of our Muni Meters, and so we're thrilled with the performance of our programs to date, but again, we are checking to see...if there are options that could provide other, better service for New Yorkers (but) the benchmark is a high one."

She added that the feedback from the RFQ will determine whether or not the city moves forward with actual procurement. (Side note regarding NYC's parking meter program: 70% of parking meter revenue comes from credit cards.)

Sadik-Khan was also asked about a parking sensor pilot program on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx; she said the city was still in the middle of the pilot and would evaluate it after it was done.

Peter Koo, who represents Flushing, said bikes are chained everywhere in the neighborhood; the commissioner was sympathetic. "We've increased the speed with which we've put bike racks out there," she said. "We have over 13,000 racks out there right now, we continue to do more, but there are some parts of the city where if you stop walking for a second someone is going to chain a bike to you," Sadik-Khan said, saying that she knew the demand for parking was high. "We have to find a place for them to park!" Koo echoed, who added that he'd seen garages offering $8 a day bicycle parking. "It's really expensive! You can take the subway for $5 a day!"

"Well, for $9.95 a day, you can have a bike share bike ," Sadik-Kahn countered.

Following the hearing, reporters asked the commissioner about residential parking permits. Residents of the downtown Brooklyn neighborhood where the Barclays Center is opening this September have been pushing for a residential parking permit program. But it would require state legislation to enact, and Sadik-Khan said even after legislation cleared Albany, it would take nine months to get such a program off the ground.

Sadik-Khan also expressed support for legislation that would hold business owners accountable for delivery cyclists who don't follow traffic laws, and said she's working with the New York City Council to craft it.

 

 

 

 

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Transportation Nation

Washington Hits Top-Ten Bicycling Ranking -- Big Cities Climb on List

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bikeshare users in Washington, DC (Photo: Tara Bahrampour)

A report in Bicycling Magazine ranking the top 50 most bike-friendly cities places Washington fourth. In the magazine's last ranking, in 2010, Washington didn't break the top ten.

See the entire list 2012 here.

Then, as now, the list was dominated with more predictable cities like Portland, Minneapolis, Boulder, Madison, and Eugene. Seattle and San Francisco also made both lists.

But the big story of  this year's  list is the prominence of big cities --like Chicago and New York, which, like Washington,  both climbed in ranking.

Most of the changes that the magazine credits in Washington, DC -- including bike share and more bike lanes -- began under DC's former transportation commissioner, Gabe Klein, who now has that job in Chicago (up to #5 from #10 on the last Bicycling Magazine list.)

The magazine examined cities with populations of at least 95,000 for "a robust cycling infrastructure and a vibrant bike culture."

The magazine reports that bicycle ridership increased in Washington "80 percent from 2007 to 2010."  The capital city's bike share program is growing in popularity and recently clocked its two millionth ride.

 

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Transportation Nation

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About NYC's Bike Share Program

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

(Photo Andrea Bernstein)

WNYC listeners had questions about New York City's impending bike share program -- and TN's Andrea Bernstein had answers. Cost? Liability? Docking station locations? Length of ride? She fielded phone calls on Tuesday's Brian Lehrer Show on all of these topics.

And want to hear her response to Miriam in Greenwich Village, who complained that "bicycle riders are not very good about following traffic rules -- they don't stop for red lights"? Listen to the segment below.

And go to the Brian Lehrer Show web page as well to read the healthy conversation in the comments section.

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Transportation Nation

Will Citibank's $41 Million Bike Share Bet Pay Off?

Monday, May 14, 2012

(Photo Andrea Bernstein)

It's been a long time since the private sector completely took in hand the funding of a public transportation network, and New York's Citibank is certainly rolling the dice by getting behind one as new as New York's bike share.

But there's some anecdotal evidence the bet to associate itself with a hip, new environmentally friendly, healthy form of transport may pay off.

(You can listen to an audio version of this story here.)

On the streets of New York last week, lots of people were already familiar with Citibank's sponsorship --  "I'm very familiar with it," said Jason Banks, who works in advertising. "Isn't it Citibank?" said Erin Goldsmith, who works for a social media company.

Lisa Lipshaw, from London, worked with the company that set up London's Barclay Cycle Hire.  "They did really well out of the sponsorship," she said.

At the kick-off press conference, Mayor Michael Bloomberg did his part.   At least four or five times, he said "Citibank" when he meant "citibike," before he corrected himself.

"The person who I have the pleasure of introducing next hopes everyone confuses Citibike with Citibank," Bloomberg said, teeing up the remarks of Citibank CEO Vikram Pandit.

Pandit himself was pretty bullish on citibike. "We think this is a very innovative program that makes people's lives easier, and that's what we do, that's what we do as a bank."

Not everyone was thrilled.   Web designer Antonio Ortiz is uncomfortable with big banks' roll in the recent financial collapse "It's like some kind of subversive way of 'Hey we're buying PR, we're being good and we care about the environment and the people of the community.' Like if it was Patagonia, I'm sure I'd feel a different way."

But still.  There are exactly zero New York bikes on the street, and already the name is catching on.

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