An agenda posted today by the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission for an upcoming meeting included an item that bicycle advocates around the region are celebrating: a proposal to dramatically expand the Bay Area Bike Share program to 7,000 bikes by the end of 2017.
The Bay Area Bike Share program, which launched in San Francisco and San Jose in August 2013, provides a fleet of bicycles for affordable, easy short-term rentals from secure docking stations 24 hours a day. Bike share bicycles can be rented from and then returned to any station, creating a convenient transportation option between different locations.
Bicycles are currently available at 70 stations in San Francisco, Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and San Jose. But currently there are only 700 bicycles, and residents and visitors to the Bay Area have been clamoring for more.
In particular, East Bay residents are eager to have bike share available in their communities. Of those already members of Bay Area Bike Share, over 10% live in the East Bay where there currently is no bike share system. This expansion would bring 1,400 bicycles to Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville.
“This 7,000-bicycle expansion of bike share will be a game changer for our transportation system,” said Noah Budnick, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. “When we saturate our biggest cities with bike share stations and bikes, riding a bike will become as convenient as walking around the block.”
Since launching less than two years ago, nearly half a million rides have been logged on Bay Area Bike Share bicycles, according to data from Motivate, which operates the system.
“Even with the limited number of bike share stations and bicycles we have currently, bike share has proven immensely popular,” said Renee Rivera, executive director of Bike East Bay. “This expansion means many more residents will be able to bridge key gaps in getting around without a car; for example taking a bike share bicycle to quickly get to a BART station that’s not within walking distance.”
“Our region is growing quickly and we need more affordable, sustainable ways for people to get around,” said Corinne Winter, executive director of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. “A robust bike share program has incredible potential for helping address our transportation challenges, plus build on the momentum of bicycling.”
The 7,000 bicycles will mean many new stations in more locations, making the system easier to use for hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents, and allowing it to serve as a true complement to our transit system. New research on bike sharing from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business shows that having a stations spaced within 1-2 blocks of each another is critical to achieve high ridership rates.
Bikeshare has been successfully implemented in dozens of cities across the United States, including New York City where CitiBike users have logged more than 16 million trips, and Washington DC, where Capital Bikeshare riders have logged 9 million rides. The Bay Area is well-positioned to create similarly robust bike share programs, providing affordable, safe, healthy, and fun ways to get around our region.
In the news:
Bay Area Bike Share Expanding to East Bay in 2016 — 850 Bikes Planned for Oakland – East Bay Express – 4/2/2015
Bay Area Bike Share program rolls out ambitious growth plan – SF Bay Area – 4/2/2015
Bay Area Bike Share to Expand to 7,000 Bikes By 2017 – SF Streetsblog – 4/2/2015
Bay Area Bike Share Would Reach East Bay Under Big Expansion Plan – KQED – 4/3/2015
Bay Area Bike Share Program To See 10-Fold Expansion – CBS – 4/8/2015
Bay Area Bike Share to Expand Ten-Fold By 2017 – SF Weekly – 4/3/2015
MTC Proposes to de-fund bike share on Peninsula, despite demand for bikeshare last-mile – Green Caltrain -4/7/2015