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Friday, April 3, 2015

Bay Area Bike Share to Expand Ten-Fold By 2017

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 2:24 PM

click image BY RICHARD MASONER / CYCLELICIOUS [CC BY-SA 2.0 (HTTP://CREATIVECOMMONS.ORG/LICENSES/BY-SA/2.0)], VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • By Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Bay Area Bike Share, which right now only scatters 700 bikes across a swath of San Francisco and the Peninsula, will be expanding rapidly in the next two years, under a proposal to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Five Bay Area mayors are calling for a 10-fold increase, or the addition of 6,300 bikes to create a system that serves the entire Bay Area.

The proposal would increase the number of bikes in San Francisco to 4,500, 1,000 in San Jose, 850 in Oakland, 400 to Berkeley, and 100 to Emeryville, with some additional bikes divvied up depending on need and use. This would make the Bay Area Bike Share system one of the biggest and most extensive in the country. This expansion will go a long way to help the bike share system connect other transit options.

The whole point is to give far-flung communities another option for getting around the region. 

Supervisor Scott Wiener, a long time supporter of the expansion of the bike system, and a Commissioner for the Metro Transit Commission, said “A robust and sustainable bike share network is a key part of being a Transit First city and will allow us to reap the benefits of bike share, including reducing traffic, improving public transit, and stimulating the local economy. I’ve been an active supporter of bike share at both the MTC and the Board of Supervisors, and I will continue to work to bring this critical transit program to more neighborhoods in San Francisco.”

The bike share isn’t just getting bigger, however; it’s also going to get more affordable and accessible for low-income people. Current stations are positioned primarily in downtown San Francisco and Silicon Valley, where there are already several transit options. The five involved cities are promising 20 percent of the new stations will be put in the Metro Transit Commission’s “communities of concern” which are areas that have high rates of poverty and poor transportation options. The system will also offer discounted memberships for people who benefit from public assistance like food stamps or Medicaid.

This expansion won’t be funded by tax payer dollars. The bikes and stations will be provided by Motivate, which was previously called Alta Bike Share, the owner and operator of the system. The deal isn’t sealed, however – the Metro Transportation Commission’s Administration Committee is planning to consider the proposal at an April 8 meeting. If all goes according to plan, the Bay Area Air Quality Management Department, which funded the current bike share pilot, would have to transfer the system to the MTC. Finally, the full Metro Transportation Commission will have to approve the contract, before any stations are installed.  

If it all this goes through the bike share system in the Bay Area make a lot more sense. For reference, the new 7,000 Bay Area Bike Share would be bigger than New York City's Citi Bike system, but still scrawny compared to the biggest systems in the world, like the Hangzhou Public Bike system that weighs in at a whopping 66,500 bikes.
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About The Author

Leif Haven

Leif Haven

Bio:
Leif Haven is a writer and cyclist living in the Bay Area. He can be spotted dragging himself up a hill — literally and metaphorically.

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