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Transportation Nation

Bloomberg Not Budging on Bike Share, More Bike Lanes

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mayor Michael Blooomberg, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly (NYC Mayor's office photo, 12/29/11)

SCROLL DOWN FOR TRULY FUNNY VIDEO OF MAYOR "RIDING" TO THE STATE OF THE CITY
In his state of the city address today, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg promised to add more protected bike lanes and touted the city's planned summer launch of North America's largest bike share program.  He also promised to step up traffic enforcement.

The Mayor started off with highly-produced video (at the bottom of the post) nodding to several of his signature initiatives from last year, including creating a plan to allow hailing of livery cabs outside of Manhattan. The video also featured a cameo of Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan riding a  bike in a bike line, as Bloomberg admonishes Wolfson to "stay in the bike line."

The Mayor has faced withering criticism and even a lawsuit -- since dismissed -- over protected bike lanes, particularly one along Prospect Park, in Brooklyn.

“Now, I realize the debate over bike lanes has sometimes been hot and heavy," the Mayor said in his address, delivered in a Bronx High School and largely focusing on education.

"But the reality is more and more New Yorkers are biking, and the more bike lanes we put in, the fewer deaths and serious injuries we have on our streets."

He continued:

“This year, we’ll take steps to enforce the law requiring every delivery rider to have proper safety equipment and clothing that identifies the name of the business. At the same time, we’ll launch the largest bike share program of any city in the country. Those bikes will create another option for getting around town faster and easier, and so will new Select Bus Service in Brooklyn, which we’ll launch in partnership with MTA Chairman Joe Lhota."

The Mayor, whose NYPD has also faced criticism over lax traffic enforcement,  also promised more vigilance.

“We’ll also make our city smarter and safer by deploying Traffic Enforcement Agents to safety hot spots at key intersections, doubling the number of 20 mile-per-hour zones for schools.

The Mayor also name-checked the proposal to start a "select bus service" in Brooklyn, with off-board payment and priority lanes.

 

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Transportation Nation

Houston Starts Small As It Tries Out First-Ever Bike Share

Friday, January 06, 2012

B-Cycle Runs Denver and San Antonio Bike Shares (Photo: Andrea Bernstein)

(Houston, TX -- Gail Delaughter, KUHF)  A city that loves to drive is taking its first step toward setting up a bike share program. Starting this spring, people in downtown Houston will be able to use  solar-powered kiosks to check out bikes for short trips.

The city has given a $105,000 contract to B-Cycle to operate the program.

The program is starting on a small scale, in what officials term as a "demonstration" of the technology. There will be a total of 18 bikes and three kiosks, located within blocks of each other at three downtown locations. One will be at the convention center, another at the main public library, and a third kiosk will be located at Market Square park. Users of the system can register on a website or at the kiosk themselves.

Ray Cruz with Houston's Fleet Management Department says over the next year they'll gauge the public's interest in the program, as well as how it should be set up on a wider scale. "Obviously the city of Houston's footprint is huge, and to satisfy our needs we have to take into account how it would be received." If the program expands in the future, the city will have to set up individual systems for different neighborhoods, considering Houston's sprawling geographical area. Officials are also talking about setting up kiosks near the city's expanding light rail lines.

Houston is listed as a non-attainment area by the EPA in terms of air quality, and the heavily car-dependent city has been looking at bike sharing for the past couple of years as a way to reduce vehicle emissions. The pilot program is modeled after San Antonio's bike share, which currently has 20 kiosks at popular destinations. The Wisconsin company that installed San Antonio's system, B-Cycle LLC, will also install the Houston system.

The Houston City Council has approved a $105,000 contract to get things up and running. Each bike cost a little under $1000 and the kiosks cost about $10,000. The project is funded through an EPA climate showcase grant and will be operated through a partnership with the city and the nonprofit group Bike Houston. A local bike shop has volunteered to maintain the bikes at no cost for a year.

Cruz says response to the bike share pilot program has been positive so far. The city has been working to develop an extensive bikeway network, which now totals about 460 miles. Also figures from 2011 show a big jump in the number of Houstonians who ride their bikes to work.

The city is currently working on a website where people can sign up for the program.

New York and Chicago are expected to launch their bike share programs this summer.

 

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Transportation Nation

Whose Bike Share is Biggest?

Friday, December 16, 2011

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.

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Transportation Nation

In Its First Season, Boston Bike Share Exceeds Projections; Will Expand Next Spring

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Hubway station (photo by effelarr via Flickr)

Boston's bike share program, which is shutting down for the winter as of December 1, has recorded more than 140,000 trips in its first four months of operation. Membership levels are outpacing targets. And when Hubway returns next spring, the city plans to add more bike share stations and expand into neighboring Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville.

Nicole Freedman, director of bicycle operations for the City of Boston, said the program had been a success.

"We were thinking that by the end of the full twelve months, we'd have four thousand (members)," she said. "So we're definitely ahead of our expectations" (with 3, 629 members in the first four months.)

The city has some preliminary data about just who is using the system (taken from an online survey that users fill out when they register):

  • 62% of annual members live in Boston; the remainder live in neighboring towns and cities
  • The average trip length is about 1.13 miles
  • 70% of Hubway users are male; 30% female
  • 40% of Hubway users are between 20 and 29 years old
  • The most popular station is located at the Boston Public Library
  • 36% of Hubway users have a household income of over $150,000; 20% earn $100,000 to $149,000; 21% earn $50,000 to $100,000, and 10% earn $20,000 to $49,000

Freedman said the city is working with the Boston Public Health Commission, as well as local non-profits, to reach out to low-income residents. The city has funding for 600 subsidized annual memberships.

Hubway is fully funded through 2013 and hasn't cost the city any money. New Balance signed on to sponsor the system for three years, and half of the 60 stations have corporate sponsorship.

Freedman said there had been no major theft or vandalism problems in Hubway's first season.

Like other urban bike share programs, Boston had to observe bike patterns and get bikes where they were most needed. Freedman said that early on, docking stations at Boston's commuter rail terminals -- North Station and South Station -- were so popular they were emptying out even before rush hour ended in the morning.  So, Freedman said,"we adjusted our rebalancing team." This meant that bikes were moved from station to station in vans to accommodate the heavy usage. The city also expanded the number of available bikes at North Station.

It takes three weeks to fully remove the bikes and stations from city streets, and that the program is expected to shut down by December 1. Hubway will return in the spring and has plans to expand to 80 to 100 stations.

Nicole Freedman said that the city would be preparing an end-of-year survey to get more user feedback. "It's really changed the city -- fast," said Freedman. "We actually just installed our fiftieth mile of bike lane this week." She added: "The power of this bike share to really get the average person, the mainstream person, on a bike -- it's unbelievably powerful."

The program officially kicked off on July 28th.  Membership costs $85 for a full year or $5 for a day; there's also a three-day, $12 pass. There are 60 Hubway docking stations spread across Boston.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Compromise Spending Bill Shaping Up, A Look at New York's Future Bike Share, and London's "Tour du Danger"

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Top stories on TN:

In the city that never sleeps, the subway will. (Link)

The structural integrity of California's Bay Bridge is in question. (Link)

Faster buses come to 34th Street -- but BRT, it ain't. (Link)

NY's new MTA chief sends warm signals to the transit workers union. (Link)

A demonstration bike share station in NYC (photo by Kate Hinds)

A compromise spending bill that funds the DOT through fiscal 2012 -- and preserves Amtrak -- is shaping up on the Hill. (Politico)

NPR profiles Alta, the company that won NYC's bike share contract, and says the city is poised to become a bike share Mecca.

A new electric truck assembly plant is moving into the Bronx. (Crain's New York)

Montreal's bike share program shuts down for the season today. (CBC)

There's a rise in the number of pedestrian deaths on Missouri roads. (KSPR)

The European financial crisis is affecting the rental car industry. (Marketplace)

Do New York's alternate side parking regulations bring peace and celebrate diversity? (New York Times)

New York State is hiring a financial consultant to figure out how to come up $5.2 billion to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge. (Times Herald-Record)

NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was injured in a bike accident. (Capital New York)

Hundreds of London cyclists participated in the "Tour du Danger," a tour of the city's 10 most dangerous intersections. (Guardian)

Jalopnik readers come up with what they call the ten cleverest ways to get drivers to slow down. A strategically-parked empty Crown Vic? Solar-powered fake cop lights? Holographic children? It's in there.

 

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Transportation Nation

Bike Share Behind the Scenes: "Rebalancers" Keep D.C. Bike Docks Stocked

Monday, November 07, 2011

Capital Bikeshare's Nick Hritz makes a "rebalancing" stop. (Jonathan Wilson/WAMU)

(Washington, D.C. -- Jonathan Wilson, WAMU) Each morning, people across the Washington D.C. pick up red bike share rentals and peddle away on their morning commute. What they might not know is that it takes a team of people working through the pre-dawn hours to make sure those bikes are exactly where they're needed.

Well before sunrise, on a brisk weekday morning, Alejandro Fuentes checks in with a member of the crew he manages for Capital Bikeshare. Fuentes has been with the company since it launched last May, and he's in charge of the morning street team responsible for getting those now-ubiquitous red bicycles to the right places for morning commuters.

Officially, Capital Bikeshare calls them "rebalancers," but Fuentes also refers to the members of his team as sprinters, and things don't always go as planned as these guys are running around town.

Fuentes keeps track of where bikes are needed with a computer program similar to the one the public has access to on the Capital Bikeshare website. He says things can get particularly hectic at stations near McPherson Square and Adams Morgan.

"You can put 10 bikes, 12 bikes... in 5 minutes, you turn around and they're all gone," he says.

The trick during the morning commute is to make sure the bikes are where people live, and the empty docking spaces are near where they work. So, Fuentes makes sure the docking stations outside of downtown have a steady supply of bikes while downtown stations get cleared out so people arriving have a place to dock.

"When everybody has to be at work at 9 o'clock and everybody's looking for a space to park their bikes, it's a big challenge," says Fuentes.

Smiles and gratitude at the end of a route

Fuentes drives around in the company's all-purpose vehicle, a small SUV equipped with a bike rack that can hold four bikes. Nick Hritz, another employee, drives a larger van that can hold dozens of bikes. "I think the toughest days are when the weather's really lousy, and you're just bored because there's not much moving," says Hritz.

He says most of the time he's busy making right turns, to avoid red lights so he can make it to his next station, but he says even if he's late, Bikeshare users, so far, have been waiting with a smile.

"You come up to a station where someone's waiting to dock or someone's looking for a bike, and they say, 'Perfect timing! Thanks! And sometimes they just say... Thanks for doing your job, and that's really great. But it happens all the time.'"

Hritz says that kind of reaction may start to fade as the program expands and the honeymoon period ends, but that'll just mean more people are relying on bikes to get around, and that's just fine with him.

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WNYC News

Most New Yorkers Support Bike Share: Poll

Thursday, October 20, 2011

WNYC

Three in four registered voters support the New York City's proposed bike share program, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

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Transportation Nation

Poll: New Yorkers Support Bike Share, 72 to 23

Thursday, October 20, 2011

(Photo Kate Hinds)

In a city where you can have four people and five opinions, three in four support the city's proposed bike share program, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

Pollsters asked "New York City is starting a program to rent bicycles.  This will add 10,000 bicycles to New York City streets and create park lots for bicycles.  Do you support or oppose this program allowing people to rent bicycles in New York City?"

Among young people, the number supporting bike share rises to 87 percent, as close to unanimity as you'll ever see in a poll.  Bike share is the least popular in Staten Island, but even there, bike share is supported 52 to 42 percent.

Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Men, Women, Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics said they would want "bike rental lots" (presumably bike share stations) in their neighborhoods, as did residents of all the boroughs except Staten Island, and ,members of all age groups except for those above 50.

However,  only 45 percent said they'd used the bike share, compared to 53 percent who said they wouldn't.

The poll found support for bike lanes overall holding steady at 58 to 37 percent.  But when asked if they wanted more bike lanes in their neighborhoods, New Yorkers were divided, with 46 percent saying yes and 48 percent saying no.

The poll of 1,068 registered voters was taken October 12-16, and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

 

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Transportation Nation

Yes, William and Kate Use Bike Share

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What would make London's bike share more popular? What if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (a.k.a. Prince William and Kate Middleton) used it?

Well, apparently, they have.

People magazine is reporting that a spokesperson for the couple said "the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge occasionally use the London cycle scheme bicycles to undertake private journeys around London."

London's bike share program began in July of 2010 and has proven to be enormously popular, with 7.7 million bicycle rides taken to date.

Apparently -- and, on behalf of TN, I apologize for missing this tidbit when it came out last spring -- the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, gave the royal couple a specially built tandem bicycle for a wedding present. (There's no word on whether the couple has actually ridden their tandem, or just grabs a Boris Bike from one of the 400 docking stations around town.)

You can see an animated video of it, below:

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Transportation Nation

Bike-Pedestrian Safety Study Draws Jabs

Friday, September 23, 2011

UPDATED WITH CLARIFICATION ON FUNDING OF STUDY Nothing sets off a noisier debate in pro- and anti-cycling circles than a set of data.

So when two Hunter College professors, William Milzcarski and Peter Tuckel, on Monday released a study saying injuries of pedestrians by cyclists were higher than previously believed, both sides rushed to the battlements.

Biking advocates point out  that it was the same team who did the earlier study (Milczarski says the earlier report was based on a sampling of data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, not an actual count by hospitals).   The advocates said the study failed to point out that overall, biking has shot up in New York, but streets have gotten safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

For its part, the New York Post was ready with an editorial arguing that New York's bike share system will soon lead to carnage, and the study provided a ready supply of ammo for that argument.

Now the researchers' own colleagues are jumping into the fray, as the New York Times' City Room blog reports, arguing the study is "skimpy" and "an unfinished document."

What the study does do:  it counts injuries caused to pedestrians by cyclists, based on actual data from hospitals.

What it does not do:  say who caused the crashes, how serious the injuries were, or compare the figures to injuries of cyclists by motor vehicle drivers, or injuries of pedestrians by motor vehicles.

And though the study shows there's been a decline in injuries over four years, it doesn't highlight that in its summary.

By the way, Milczarski doesn't dispute that his study had a singular focus. He acknowledges the Stuart Gruskin foundation funded asked him and his colleague look into a particular line of inquiry (Gruskin was a pedestrian killed by a cyclist), and that the study analyzed the data on a specific question: how many pedestrians are injured by cyclists.

Milczarski says he'd thought it would be an easy question to answer, and that, unlike pedestrian-motorist crashes, it hadn't been studied.  "This was something no one knew about, he said in an interview.  It was like a mystery waiting to be uncovered."

(Editor's note:  The initial press release said the study had been done "on behalf of the Stuart Gruskin foundation." )

And, FWIW, Milczarki says he's pro-bike share, and intends to use the system when its up and running next summer.

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Transportation Nation

Chicago To Roll Out Bike Share In Summer 2012

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A bike lane being built in Chicago, June 2011 (photo courtesy of Chicago Bicycle Program)

 

UPDATED 4:37PM:   In an ambitious move, the Chicago Department of Transportation announced today it would have bike share up and running by next summer, with 3,000 bikes and 300 stations.  Another 2,000 bikes would be added in summer 2014.

In its  RFP, the city said initial funding for the program will come from federal grants, and the "program will be self-sustaining through member and user fees, as well as advertising and sponsorship." Responses to the RFP are due on October 25.

That's a furious pace compared to New York, which issued an RFP last November and announced the vendor last week. New York's program, with 10,000 bikes and 600 stations, will also be up and running next summer.

The Chicago story was first broken by the Chicago Sun-Times, which said,

“Chicago would have 3,000 bicycles to rent from 300 stations by next summer — with no charge for the first 30 minutes — under an ambitious plan, announced Wednesday, aimed at making cycling a “new transit option….Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein are looking for an operator to offer 3,000 bikes at 300 stations by next summer and 5,000 bikes at 500 stations by 2014.”

Shortly afterwards, Klein tweeted out the response "Yes!!" to the tweets: "some big bike sharing news coming out of Chicago today," and then RT: Is that true?

These are heady days for urban bike share programs.  Boston's bike share, Hubway, launched in July.  On Tuesday, DC's Capital Bikeshare turned one year old -- and hit its one millionth ride.

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel -- himself a bike rider and a transit-user -- has consistently said he wanted a bike share program.

 

 

 

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Transportation Nation

Where You Can Test Out a NYC Bike Share Bike, Starting This Weekend

Friday, September 16, 2011

(Photo Kate Hinds)

If you are excited to learn more about bike share in New York you have five chances in the next two weeks to meet representatives from Alta, the company behind the plan, and test out a bike share bike.

As we've been reporting, New York City is set to launch the nation's largest bike share program next summer, it's likely to look a lot like Washington, D.C.'s Capital Bike Share program, also managed by Alta.

Possibly a sign of the initial target audience for the plan, three of the five events will be held in Brooklyn. The city's crowdsourced map of suggested bike share station locations is, as would be expected, most densely populated with pleas for spots in Manhattan.

The first is this Saturday from 12:00 -4:00 p.m. in DUMBO's Manhattan Bridge Archway.

Wednesday September 21, 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. at Bowling Green at the foot of Broadway at Battery Place in Manhattan.

Saturday September 24, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at  Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene, 176 Lafayette Avenue between Clermont and Vanderbilt Avenues.

Thursday September 29, 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m in Union Square.

Sunday October 2 12:00 p.m – 6:00 p.m at the Atlantic Antic festival, at the corner of Atlantic and Nevins.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Bike Share Coming to NYC

Friday, September 16, 2011

WNYC reporter and director of the Transportation Nation blog, Andrea Bernstein, talks about the launch of the city's first bike share program and how it will work.

Suggest a spot for a rental station on the NYC DOT map.

Comments [41]

Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: No Contract Yet Between UAW and Auto Makers; NYC Bike Share Is A "Game-Changer"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Top stories in TN:

NYC chooses Alta for its bike share system. (Story, photos)

Congressman John Mica -- chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee -- has a love/hate relationship with infrastructure. (Link)

A lone Republican senator is holding up transportation and FAA funding extensions, because he said they will fund things like a Corvette museum and an albino squirrel sanctuary. (Link)

A bike lane on Manhattan's Upper West Side (photo by Kate Hinds)

NYC bike share: coverage in Marketplace, New York Times, NY Daily News, NY Observer, DNA Info, Wall Street Journal.

NYC DOT head Janette Sadik-Khan's editorial in the New York Daily News: bike share is another option for New Yorkers.

Editorial in The Guardian: bike share is a "game-changer."

Auto workers and car manufacturers failed to reach a contract agreement by the deadline; GM and Chrysler agree to extend talks. (Detroit Free Press)

In Canada, a study found that new immigrants are twice as likely to use public transit when compared to Canadian-born workers. (Global News)

The Obama administration wants to ban electronic cigarettes on planes. (AP via AJC)

A Chicago official wants to crack down on distracted biking. (WBEZ)

Taking stock of technology in cars: we're not that far off from "partial autopilot." (Wall Street Journal)

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Transportation Nation

PHOTOS: Scenes from New York City Bike Share Announcement

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

As we reported earlier, New York City announced the vendor for its bike share program.

A bike share station (photo by Kate Hinds)

A close up of the handlebars of one of the sample bikes. Looks like a three speed.

(photo by Kate Hinds)

The formal announcement:

Dan Cantor (Working Families Party), Alison Cohen (President, Alta), Janette Sadik-Khan (NYC DOT Commissioner), Gale Brewer (NYC Council Member), Kathleen Wylde (Partnership for NYC), Paul Steely White (Transportation Alternatives) and Brad Lander (NYC Council Member)

Front view of a bike station:

(photo by Kate Hinds)

Musician -- and bike advocate -- David Byrne was on hand:

David Byrne (photo by Kate Hinds)

So were city politicians.

Gale Brewer, Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson, NYC Council Member Letitia James, and Colvin Grannum, president of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration (photo by Kate Hinds)

Eco-friendly parking stations:

The bike stations are solar powered (photo by Kate Hinds)

Docking instructions:

(photo by Kate Hinds)

A sample payment machine:

(photo by Kate Hinds)

And finally, a joy ride. NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and other city officials make a loop around the plaza in front of reporters.

 Janette Sadik-Khan test-driving one of the bikes (photo by Kate Hinds)

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Transportation Nation

Early Photos of NYC Bike Share

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

NYC announced Wednesday that Alta bicycle share company will run New York City's bike share program to launch next year. Here's an early peak at what it will look like.

The official announcement is underway right now. We posted a few details already (10,000 bikes, $100/year membership fee, planned launch date in 2012) and we'll have a lot more soon.

Keep checking back for updates all day.

(Photo Kate Hinds)

Alta is affiliated with Bixi bike share which runs Monrteal's bike share program and Barclay's bikes in London.

(Photo Kate Hinds)

The pay station. Membership fees will be $100 per year. The first half hour of a trip will be free.

(Photo Kate Hinds)

Expect this kind of bik share station in 600 locations around Manhattan and Brooklyn. They are slated to stretch from 79th street south as far into Brooklyn as Bed-Stuy, Windsor Terrace and Park Slope. Pilot locations will also be tested in the other three boroughs.

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WNYC News

City Announces Nation's Largest Bike Share Program

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

WNYC

The city has chosen Alta Bike Share to run a 10,000-bike network of one-way, short-term rentals that it says will augment the transit system.

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Transportation Nation

UPDATED: New York City Chooses Alta for Wide-Ranging Bike Share

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What a bike share station might look like in NYC (image courtesy of NYC DOT)

New York City has chosen Alta Bicycle Share, which runs systems in Washington, DC, Boston, and Melbourne, Australia, to run its bike share program, officials say.

With 10,000 bikes, the New York system will be the largest system in the world, save for Paris, with 28,000 bikes, and some systems in China. It will also be the first U.S. city to run without government subsidies. Alta Bicycle Share, which says it will raise a $50 million investment from private sponsors and will assume all the financial risk of running New York's system. It will share any revenue it earns with New York. The city estimates the plan will create 200 jobs.

New York's system will be more far-reaching than some planners had initially envisioned, stretching from Manhattan below 79th street to Bedford-Stuyvesant, with stations in Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Fort Greene, Park Slope, downtown Brooklyn, and areas in between.

The system will cost $100 a year to join, and members will be able to use bikes for the first 30 minutes of a trip for free. Alta hasn't said how much bikes will cost after that, but in Washington, users pay $1.50 for 30-60 minutes, $3.00 for up to 90 minutes, and $6.00 for every 90 minutes after that. There will also be daily and short-term memberships available.

In Washington, some 70,000 casual or daily members had signed up as of July, compared to about 15,000 annual users. (Excellent website with DC data here.)

In a time when most transit systems are facing big cuts, NYC transportation chief Janette Sadik-Khan says bike share will fill in the gaps. "There are times when you can't find a cab, or you can't find the bus, or the subway is not going to work. So it's perfect for those short trips from point A to point B." The NYC DOT says 54 percent of all trips by New Yorkers are under two miles.

The location of bike docking stations is yet to be worked out, but Sadik-Khan promises the DOT -- which has been subject to searing scrutiny for not seeking enough community input on bicycling issues -- will get input from communities. Sadik-Khan says locations could include plazas, edges of parks, and parking garages.

The city did not mention sidewalks or car parking spaces, both both have been used in other cities.

"The adage with bike share is go big or go home," said Transportation Alternatives Paul Steely White. "You really need to reach a critical level of station coverage and saturation so that it becomes an easy transport option. It doesn't work if the station's aren't three blocks or closer."

 

The city has launched a website to solicit suggestions for bike share stations; it's already of sea of flags.

Alison Cohen, President of Alta Bike Share, is moving to New York to shepherd what will no doubt be a furious year for the company.    "There are two things New Yorkers love to talk about, real estate, and how to get from point A to point B."

"Boy does she understand us," commented councilmember Gail Brewer of the Upper West Side.

Sadik-Khan says she's not worried about theft, with the exception of Paris' Velib, which had problems early on with its locking system. "That was bike share 1.0," she said.

Nor does Sadik-Khan seemed to be particularly concerned about cyclists breaking traffic laws, referring to her "Don't Be A Jerk" campaign and other outreach efforts. She also noted that bike share users will be encouraged to carry helmets, but none will be available for rental.

Transportation Nation first broke the New York bike share story last November.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sadik-Khan have taken some heat over their forceful backing of bike lanes, but the Mayor has received a PR boost of late.

See lots of photos here.

Here's the promotional video from the NYC DOT.

 

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Transportation Nation

New York Announcing Bike Share Program Today

Monday, September 12, 2011

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

New York City's transportation chief, Janette Sadik-Khan, will announce the selection of a vendor to run its 10,000-bike bike share system today. The city has been promising it would make the announcement in  summer, 2011 -- which, by the calendar, if not convention, ends next week.

A pair of articles in this weekend's NY Times signal the impending announcement will arrive under the most favorable PR conditions possible, a stark change from previous press coverage of bike share.

Saturday's Times reported that the city council -- which has no official role in the selection process or approval of the selection -- would be holding city-sanctioned hearings on bike share. And on Sunday, columnist Frank Bruni penned a front-page Sunday Review article titled "Bicycle Visionary" with a huge graphic that said "thank you," and went on to detail all the ways in which he thought transportation chief Janette Sadik-Khan, backed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, had made life better in New York City.

You cannot make this stuff up.

(For more on the goddess/zealot split in thinking about Sadik-Khan, see my Marketplace story from last winter here)

Both Sadik-Khan and the Mayor were roiled by several tough profiles last spring, and a lawsuit with some juice behind it asking for the removal of a bike lane along Brooklyn's Prospect West.  New York Magazine wrote a lengthy feature giving significant voice to bike lane critics, and a Times profile in March led with an anecdote in which former Rep. Anthony Weiner promised to rip out all the big lanes when he was elected Mayor.

(Did I just tell you, you cannot make this stuff up?)

But the lawsuit was dismissed, bike lanes' popularity continues to rise to landslide levels, a relatively mild summer has fueled an increase in bike riding, and now Frank Bruni goes for a spin with Sadik-Khan and it seems nothing could be more fun than a ride with the transpo commish on one of the city's new bike lanes.

Not only that, but Boston's launch of its Hubway bike share  seems to have gone off without a hitch, and Capitol Bikeshare in Washington is already looking to expand because of demand.

Officials confirm an announcement for New York City is coming very, very soon.   The bike share itself is expected to launch mid-2012.  Keep an eye on this space.

 

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Transportation Nation

Boston Launches Bike Share

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino today launched Boston's 600-bike,  61-station bike share, called the "New Balance Hubway."   Boston's system will cost $85 a year to join, or $5 a day.  Members can check out bikes from one station and drop them off at another at no charge if they use them for 30 minutes or less, with charges rising the longer bikes are used.  Nicole Freedman, who set up Boston's bike share, says the system already has 500 members, which she says is ahead of projections.

Hubway's 3-year cost is projected to be $5.7 million, with $3 million of that coming from the FTA.

From Menino's press office:

New Balance Hubway bike share system that will feature 61 stations and over 600 bikes around the city. The system is operated by Alta Bicycle Share of Portland, OR and includes locations in Kenmore Square, Roxbury, the South End, the Longwood Medical area, Allston, Brighton, the Back Bay and more. New Balance Hubway is a program under Mayor Menino’s nationally recognized Boston Bikes program that he launched to make Boston one of the world’s premiere cycling cities.

“This is a great day for Boston,” Mayor Menino said. “New Balance Hubway promotes a new, environmentally friendly way of getting around and I hope that all residents use the system. Over the past four years, we have taken great strides toward making Boston a city that welcomes and encourages bicycling but this innovative system is the most significant step yet. We have had the goal of going from worst to first, and with Hubway we’re nearly there. I want to thank Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown and Congressmen Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch for their dedicated hard work in helping to secure crucial grant funding to make such an important project possible.”

“If anyone can transform Boston into a premier bike friendly city it’s Mayor Menino,” Senator John Kerry said. “Bike sharing is an environmentally friendly way to reduce traffic congestion.”

With over 40 stations currently operational and the rest to be installed shortly, the system is fully operated by Alta Bicycle Share, although the equipment is a state-of-the-art, third generation, solar powered automated system developed by Public Bike System Company. New Balance Hubway features “swipe card” payments and costs $5 per day with free trips that are 30 minutes or less, and $85 annual memberships. Since the New Balance Hubway website went live on July 13, over 700 annual memberships have been activated. Similar systems are located in Washington D.C., Montreal, London and Melbourne. The technology allows users to rent bikes from one station and return them at another across the city. Typically, there will be about 10 bikes available at each station."

Full release here.

Send us your reviews of the system, or how it affects you!


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