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  • David Galvan

    Wonder how effective those folding bike subsidies will be, and how much the subsidies will be. A $50 subsidy could help someone out significantly toward purchasing one of the cheapo brands like Citizen Bike, but my experience has been the budget end bikes need a lot of maintanence part replacements in order for them to stand up to everyday use as a commuter bike. On the high end, well-built folding bikes that fold small and ride well are $1000+, so the subsidy likely wouldn’t make a huge difference on that end.

  • I bet the Bus Bench folks don’t realize rhetoric like “Perhaps it should be the communities that are desiring a first chance, communities that have long wished to be a part of greater Los Angeles, communities that have brought themselves up by their boot-straps, be granted the chance that other communities were offered but refused.” isn’t necessarily limited to being justification for funding the Crenshaw proposal PDQ–by that reasoning one could justify prioritizing the laughable projected ridership Gold Line Foothill extension. It has a cadre of electeds having a near screaming fit on behalf of their project extending all the way to Ontario Airport. Best guess is that would cost TWO BILLION DOLLAR cumulatively.

    Community support matters but regioonal needs must be the primary measure by which projects are prioritized. Sadly some believe political mojo can overcome reality.

    I always worried that once passed Measure R would quickly be the object of a scramble as different projects jockeyed to be at the head of the line. It has a 30 year term that hopefully will by the end of that time result in the construction of all the projects it listed. Doing this stuff takes time and won’t happen in a year or even a decade.

    It seems more and more like I was correct to see intrigue etc. as a possibility.

  • Hi David,

    MK Campbell here, from CALSTART. First of all, I want to thank you for your comments on the proposed plan to launch a bike subsidy program. The feedback that you’ve offered (and that others will offer) will help us greatly to understand the community’s interests and needs, so we can accurately address them in the project. To answer your question, we are currently beginning the planning phase, so we haven’t yet begun to determine either the amount of the subsidies or to identify the brands/models of folding bikes to be used. The main part of our project is focused on performing outreach to the public so we can learn who our riders are and accurately design a range of subsidies that would facilitate the use of a folding bicycle to connect with transit instead of the use of an automobile. CALSTART has learned a lot already from its successful electric bike subsidy trial, MyGo-Pasadena, and is excited to start learning from the public on this topic. Like most projects in the First Mile program at CALSTART, the goal is to get folks out of their cars and connected to transit, reducing vehicle miles traveled, improving air quality, and increasing the overall health of commuters. http://tinyurl.com/mm33re

  • David Galvan

    Mary,

    More power to you! Sounds like a good thing to me, although as I mentioned before I don’t know if this program would have a significant impact, since I would bet that only a small percentage of the population would take advantage of it. Still, I’d think there would be more people interested in purchasing a folding bike than people interested in electric bicycles (Electric cycles typically cost significantly more, as I understand it, even than most folding bikes.)

    Still, as someone who already uses a folding bike with LA Metro transit, I can offer some more feedback you may or may not find useful. I’m only a single case study, but here it is anyway:

    You can see pics of my folding bikes on MTA transit at:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/dgalvan/sets/72157607345192447/

    1.) I own two folding bikes, and have commuted with both of them. The first is a full-size mountain bike that folds in half. It works well for the rail lines and for putting in the trunk of the car, and I have folded it and carried it onto an articulating bus about 5 times, but it is not ideal for the bus as it is still a sizable package and you have to stand with it. I purchased it for 20 lbs. Thus, a folding bike is probably not ideal for those who have trouble carrying around that much weight.

    3.) I find that, regarding buses, It is still more convenient to place my bike on the bike racks on the front of the bus than for me to bring it onboard and stand with it or hold it someplace out of the way. Hence, the ability to fold the bike is basically a “backup” option that is very nice to have, but probably wouldn’t be used (on the bus) if space is available on a bike rack. For certain bus lines (like the Rapid 761) the bike racks were already full about half the time, so a folding bike was definitely a time-saver there. Wouldn’t necessarily be a major benefit for bus lines where bikes are scarce (the Commuter Express 549, for example, has had a completely empty bike rack every time I’ve ridden it). Of course, if you do encourage more people to use bikes, that could change. The fold is ALWAYS a benefit when riding the rail lines, though, as those can get crowded and there are no external bike racks.

    4.) One major benefit of folding bikes is the ability to take them into your office with you, even if you don’t have much space. This means not having to deal with a bike lock. I would suggest advertising this benefit in your campaign, as I’m sure many potential cyclists think to themselves “But where would I put it when I’m at work?”. Also, when I drive I put my folding bike in my sedan’s trunk, and if I ever have to park very far from my office I use the bike. The ability to keep the bike in your closet at home is also a perk.

  • David Galvan

    Whoops my point #1.) got messed up. The last section should say:

    1.) I own two folding bikes, and have commuted with both of them. The first is a full-size mountain bike that folds in half. It works well for the rail lines and for putting in the trunk of the car, and I have folded it and carried it onto an articulating bus about 5 times, but it is not ideal for the bus as it is still a sizable package and you have to stand with it. I purchased it for less than $150, but have spent another $200 on tuneups and replacement parts for it since it was so cheaply made. In hindsight, people interested in folding full-sized mountain bikes should spend the extra money to get a decent quality one, like the Dahon Jack. These bikes can’t roll when folded, so they have to be carried when you fold them, and mine weighs just under 40 lbs.

    My second bike is a Bike Friday Tikit, which was designed specifically for multi-modal commuting. It has 16 inch wheels, but rides pretty much like a full-sized bike, due to it being of very high build quality. It has a very fast and elegant fold, and folds down much more compactly than the mountain bike. It still can’t fit under your seat on the bus, but it’s much easier to find space for it on the bus than the MTN bike. Also, it can be rolled on its front wheel when folded, eliminating the need to carry it except when going up stairs. It weighs about 25 lbs. Only problem is that it costs about $1300. For more info on it (It’s made in Oregon), check here:
    http://community.bikefriday.com/tikit

    Even a compact folding bike is likely to weigh over 20 lbs. Thus, any folding bike is probably not ideal for those who have trouble carrying around that much weight.

  • Wow David, great feedback already! Check back at the web site as the plans unfold.