Bike Share Round-up> Chicago Surges, New York’s Safety Record Shines, Los Angeles Lags

East, Midwest, National, West
Monday, November 11, 2013
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Citibikes like this one hit New York streets in May 2013. (Jesse Chan-Norris/Flickr)

Citibikes like this one hit New York streets in May 2013. (Jesse Chan-Norris/Flickr)

We hope you’ve stretched your hamstrings—there have been a lot of developments in U.S. bike sharing programs lately, and we’re taking another whirl through them now.

Although not without hang-ups, New York’s Citi Bike has at least not killed anyone yet. People love to joke about clueless tourists riding on the sidewalk, or on heavy-traffic avenues, or “salmoning” the wrong way down one-way streets — that’s true in Chicago as well as New York — but the fact that no bikeshare has so far produced little to no traffic carnage should come as no surprise, writes Charles Komanoff for Streetsblog.

A rendering of a bike share station in LA. (Courtesy Bike Nation)

A rendering of a bike share station in LA. (Courtesy Bike Nation)

Crunching the numbers, Komanoff points out “for each day in 2012, all NYC cyclists racked up 16 times as many miles as have Citi Bikers on each day to date.” So while Citi Bike ridership has exceeded expectations, it’s still only a small bump in the city’s total bike ridership. The bikes themselves could be a contributing factor, too — they aren’t racing bikes, and crowds of bikers further leaden their slow pace. The naturally lower car speeds in popular Citi Bike areas of Manhattan and Brooklyn may also play a role.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, a proposed bikeshare system was stymied by existing restrictions on street furniture advertising. Smaller systems may move forward in some of L.A.’s municipal fiefdoms — Long Beach and Fullerton are apparently moving ahead, while West Hollywood and Santa Monica are conducting reviews. For now, though, what was once proposed as the nation’s second biggest bike sharing program seems to have hit the brakes.

"Divvy," Chicago's bike share program, announced plans to expand to 475 stations. The system already has 3,000 bikes deployed. (Kevin Zolkiewicz via Flickr)

“Divvy,” Chicago’s bike share program, announced plans to expand to 475 stations. The system already has 3,000 bikes deployed. (Kevin Zolkiewicz via Flickr)

Instead Chicago’s Divvy bike share is poised to become the largest such program in North America after announcing the addition of another 75 stations. Divvy already has 300 stations, with plans to add 100 more in 2014 (the additional 75 brings it to a total of 475). Federal funding enabled the $3 million expansion. CDOT also announced that it has applied for $3 million in state money to fund another 75 stations, which would bring the grand total to 550 stations.

“As Divvy expands into more neighborhoods, and we build a 650-mile bikeway network throughout our communities, Chicago is quickly becoming the best biking city in North America,” said Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein in a press release.

It will be one of Klein’s last as Chicago’s transportation commissioner — he announced his resignation effective at the end of the month. Klein oversaw Divvy’s development and implementation, and was known for riding his bike to work. Sustainable transportation advocates told Streetsblog Klein’s successor will have big shoes to fill.

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