New York City Plans Bike Sharing Program

פורסם: 22 בנוב׳ 2010, 21:17 על ידי: Sustainability Org   [ עודכן 1 בנוב׳ 2012, 2:47 ]
November 22, 2010

The Bloomberg administration is set to move ahead on Tuesday with plans to create a large-scale bike-sharing program that would make hundreds or even thousands of bicycles available for public use throughout New York City — a nimble, novel form of mass transit that has already become mainstream in cities like Washington and Paris.

The city plans to release a solicitation for proposals from companies interested in operating the program, which would allow riders to rent bicycles from kiosks installed across a swath of the city, according to two people who have been briefed on the plan.

The program would probably run on a subscription model, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plan had not yet been made public.

The introduction of a bike-share program is a long-awaited victory for Janette Sadik-Khan, the city’s transportation commissioner, who has banned cars from parts of Broadway in Midtown and installed more than 250 miles of bicycle-only lanes along major avenues in multiple boroughs.

It would also make New York the latest in a string of American cities that have begun experimenting with communal bikes.

Denver and Minneapolis started similar programs earlier this year, and Boston received a $3 million federal grant for a bike-sharing network to begin in the spring. Several public agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area announced last month that they would collaborate on a $7 million bike-sharing pilot expected to begin by the end of 2011.

Ms. Sadik-Khan declined to comment on Monday. But last year, in an interview, she described New York as “an ideal city for cycling” and said she would consider a bike-share program “tailored to meet our needs.”

“There’s a lot of interest in it,” she said at the time. “Half of the trips in New York are under two miles, and we’re essentially flat, so we’re in a great position to be able to take advantage of that way of getting around.”

The city first floated the idea of a bike-sharing program in 2008, but some officials were said to have expressed reservations about giving over city streets and sidewalks to a program that would require a sizable footprint.

In Paris, for instance, parking spaces were removed to make way for hundreds of rental kiosks.

Advocates, however, have hailed bike-sharing as a cheap, environmentally friendly alternative mode of transportation that is perfectly suited to a dense city where residents often take short trips.

In New York, officials are hopeful that the winning vendor would cover the costs for the program, according to one of the people who has been briefed on the proposal. In Paris, a vendor agreed to supply the bikes and oversee the program in return for exclusive outdoor advertising rights in the city.

Officials at the Transportation Department declined on Monday to provide details about how much the program might cost riders.

In Washington, where a bike sharing program began in September, a day pass costs $5 and an annual membership costs $75. The first half-hour of use is free with a membership, with small surcharges added for additional time.

An exhaustive proposal released by the city in 2009 offered a glimpse of how a bike-sharing program might look in New York. The study, by the Department of City Planning, envisioned an initial rollout of about 10,000 bikes that could be placed at automated kiosks below Central Park in Manhattan and in areas of Downtown Brooklyn, with a majority of bikes available in dense business districts.

In Paris, the pioneer of bike-sharing, the bikes are used up to 150,000 times a day. But there has also been widespread theft and vandalism; bicycles have ended up tossed in the Seine, dangling from lampposts and shipped off to northern Africa for illegal sale.

Told of the plan late Monday, Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, expressed excitement for the idea.

“Bike sharing has rapidly moved cycling into the mainstream in similar big cities,” he said. “The Big Apple will take to it like we’ve never lived without it.”


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