County Wide Bike Share? Metro Committee Says “Yes, We Can”

Coming soon to a street near you? B-Cycle (pictured), Bixi and Bike Nation present in front of Metro headquarters. Photo: Dave Sotero/Metro

Will Los Angeles County have an integrated bike share system in the next five years?  Metro is taking the first steps to become a coordinator for bike share efforts already underway so that L.A. County could have one integrated bike share program instead of many local bike share systems.

Earlier today, Metro’s Planning and Programming Committee approved a bike share strategy for the agency that would create a mechanism for municipalities and cities to work together and create a county-wide bike share plan.   Metro’s bike share strategy needs to be approved by the full board before it becomes policy.

Cities that have bike share programs funded and on the way, such as Santa Monica, and that are hopeful to bring bike share at some date in the future, such as South Pasadena, attended the hearing to voice support for the motion.

Before the hearing, B-Cycle, Bixi, and Bike Nation put on a demonstration of what bike share is and how it works.  Through a bike share program, people can rent bikes at a docking station and ride it to another station located somewhere else.  Systems can be publicly or privately owned and sometimes require renters to be members of the bike share program.

Bike sharing systems have been installed in many of the most progressive cities around the country.  Modeled after Velib in Paris, France Washington D.C. is widely credited for having the first bike share program in America.  New York City will launch a large bike share program of its own later this year including a GPS program that will be used to inform transportation planning decisions.

Locally, Long Beach, Los Angeles and Santa Monica all have plans and funds set aside for bike share programs.  Los Angeles’ is mainly planned for the Downtown sometime in the next two years.  Long Beach has two phases planned, 160 bikes and 16 statsions within the next two and a half years with another 500 bikes and 50 stations coming in the next five years.  Santa Monica plans for 250 bikes and 25 stations in 2016 or 2017.

Above chart from handouts from today's committee meeting.

Los Angeles has larger plans for bike share, but the funds for that plan were won by the Community Redevelopment Agency, the embattled agency that will fold either by the end of the month or April 15.

Los Angeles has been discussing bringing bike share to Downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood since then Transportation Committee Chair Wendy Greuel attended the 2008 Democratic National Convention where Bikes Belong had created a temporary demonstration project to show delegates and elected officials what a bike share program could look like.  In July 2011, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky penned a motion for Metro to consider creating its own bike share program that led directly to today’s demonstration and committee vote.