Work Continues on Bringing Bikes to the East Bay in 2016

Author: Bike East Bay

Date: January 21, 2016

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2016: the Year Bikeshare arrived? 

Yes, it’s finally time. Contracts are signed, station plans are being developped, and we’re excited to announce that by the end of the year, Bike Share will be introduced into Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville! 

Ever since Capitol Bikeshare launched in 2010, our ears have been buzzing with the idea of bringing a similar service to the East Bay. Break down barriers to bicycling? Get people on bikes without fear of maintenance issues or theft? Give people a chance try out riding to work without having to buy a bike? Yes please!  

Back in 2013 we organized a meeting called “Bikeshare for the Bay and Beyond” at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) with the support of Capitol Corridor, UC Berkeley, our partner bike coalitions and others. We brought together over 50 attendees from all different sorts of organizations, agencies, cities and businesses, who were all interested in seeing bikeshare happen. This was the start for us of a lengthy campaign to bring bikeshare to the East Bay. 

Of course the next developments were the launch of a pilot program, managed by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) in a number of South Peninsula cities and San Francisco. We worked hard to get bikeshare funding allocated in the Active Transportation Program (ATP) and other funding opportunities. 

Things ramped up in 2015, when the MTC first approved the start of a public partnership with Motivate Co in May. This public partnership will build upon the pilot program, maintaining bikes in San Francisco and San Jose Contracts while adding service areas in the East Bay.

As of January 2016, contracts have officially been signed in all 5 cities, giving the green light to Motivate to begin work.

Both the cities of Oakland and Berkeley are currently in the process of approving franchise agreements for advertising purposes. Motivate has now assured us that there top priority is to get bikes on the ground. 

In the meantime, a series of public workshops is in the works to involve local residents, businesses and bicyclists with the final placement of stations within the designated service area. Each community will have multiple options so residents can choose which location best suits their neighborhood. All final station locations will also be vetted and approved by the local transportation agency. heck back for more workshop times and dates. 

Over the course of a two year phased roll out in San Francisco, San Jose, and the East Bay, the Bay Area Bike Share system will grow from 700 bikes to 7,000 bikes, making it one of the largest and densest bike-share systems in North America. That includes target goals of 850 bikes in Oakland, 400 in Berkeley, and 100 in Emeryville. Of those, 20% will contractually be located in Communities of Concern. 

The bikes will be installed in the East Bay in three phases, with approximately 25% of bikes for Phase 1 (Fall 2016), 15% for Phase 2 (Spring 2017), and 60% for Phase 3 (Summer/Fall 2017).

When Bay Area Bikeshare will be fully built out, it will be one of the largest bikeshare systems in the United States. The East Bay alone will rank amongst other large systems: Washington, D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare program currently has 2,596 bikes, Minneapolis’ Nice Rides has 1,446, and Boston’s Hubway has 1,077. (Source: Journalist’s Resource, May 2015). 

Why are we so excited about bike share? Here’s a quote from a recent press release from the City of Berkeley: 

Berkeleyans love to bike. A survey for the City’s Bicycle Plan, which is being updated this year, found that 70% of residents were “interested but concerned” about bicycling. Their primary concern involved designing streets to better accommodate people biking. Updates to the Bicycle Plan this year will work to address this, and bike share addresses the next three biggest concerns: bike theft, home storage and bicycle maintenance. 

Read the City of Berkeley’s press release here.

Equity in Bikeshare

The conversation as to how to make this Bike Share program as equitable as possible, to reflect and best serve the East Bay’s rich diversity, is ongoing. We are working with TransForm and bike coalitions from across the Bay Area to form a common platform. 

The Oakland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission sent a letter of support to the Public Works Committee in January, 2016, ahead of the first reading of the franchise agreement. The supportive letter identifies three specific elements the BPAC asks the city to consider in its work to ensure the equity of the program. Read the BPAC’s letter here (PDF) 

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition received a Google Impact Grant to focus on the equity question as it relates to bike share. Get their latest updates from their Bike Share for All campaign, including this blog post from December asking who bike share should serve

Although annual membership cost will rise with the expansion – going from $88 to $149 – Motivate has announced that there will be a $60 low-income membership on Day 1, with a monthly payment plan of $5. 

Read more on Equity in Bikeshare

NACTO is releasing a series of Practitioner’s Papers to highlight best practices for cities aiming to address equity issues while introducing or expanding their bike share systems

The Better Bikeshare Program is leading the charge by funding research, equity-focused programs and documenting success. 

In the news: Yet More Evidence Bike-Share Isn’t Reaching the Poor – CityLab, January 19 2016

East Bay Bikeshare Expansion in the News

East Bay gears up for bike-sharing this fall” Oakland North – 

Bike share program to expand to Berkeley, other East Bay cities” Daily Cal – January 26, 2016

Bay Area Bike Share adds 34 station locations in East Bay” SF Chronicle – April 24, 2016

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