In just under an hour, Bike Nation will publicly announce the nine locations for kiosks in its initial rollout of what is promised to be a massive bike share system for Los Angeles. Last April, Bike Nation promised a 400 kiosk, 4,000 bike bike share system to be installed in Downtown Los Angeles, Westwood, Venice and Hollywood in the next several years. The bike share company promised to invest $16 million in its system. An independent estimate from one of their competitors estimates that they could earn $40 million in revenue in the next decade.
Apparently, they’re starting the rollout in Downtown Los Angeles. That makes sense, since 175 of the promised stations will be in Downtown Los Angeles. As shown above, the first nine kiosks are planned for:
- Union Station
- El Pueblo/Olvera Street
- Caltrans Building (2)
- City Hall (2)
- County Hall of Administration Building
- LAPD (2)
“We are excited to put stations on the ground in Downtown Los Angeles and begin the process of rolling out our bike share program and providing a safe, low-cost, healthy transportation alternative to Los Angeles residents,” writes Derek Fretheim, Bike Nation Chief Operating Officer. “The Company has already begun its site planning in anticipation of the City Council Motion and created a sample permit package consisting of initial station locations.”
Rather than go through a standard “Request for Proposal” process as has been done with the other large bike share systems in America, Bike Nation gave Los Angeles another option. Bike Nation approached the mayor’s office with a simple proposal, if Los Angeles creates a permitting system to operate private bike share on public property, then Bike Nation would invest in creating a private bike share system.
Last week, the City Council unanimously passed a motion that directs staff to create a permit process for Bike Nation’s bike sharing stations to be placed in the public right of way. Bike Nation is currently working with the City of Los Angeles to navigate the new approval processes and permitting. The benefit of avoiding the RFP process is that the completely privately funded system is immune to attacks that it is “subsidized bicycle rental.” The bad news is that an RFP process provides many opportunities for the public to weigh in on where, and how, kiosks should be employed.
Bike Nation launched a website to gather cyclist feedback on where kiosks should be placed in August. Bike Nation staff emphasized that the website is still functional and they are still collecting ideas for future placement in Downtown Los Angeles. You can access the website by clicking here. If you have trouble using it, instructions can be found at Streetsblog’s story from August.
While the bike share company has yet to successfully install bike share, it has contracts with Anaheim, Long Beach and Los Angeles. The delays in installing Anaheim’s system, promised for earlier this year, has led some to question whether Bike Nation can pull off creating such a large system in Los Angeles.
Eric Bruins, the policy and program director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, hadn’t seen today’s announcement yet, but remains excited about the prospect of bike sharing for Los Angeles.
“Bikeshare is a huge leap forward for transportation in Los Angeles. It’s going to transform mobility in the communities lucky enough to get stations and make quick trips across downtown as easy as can be.” writes Bruins.
“Over half of all trips are three miles or less and bikeshare is one of the easiest ways to help Angelenos leave their cars parked for these short trips within their neighborhoods. We hope that all Angelenos will one day soon be able to benefit from bikeshare in their communities.”
Joining Bike Nation at the press event will be Clippers forward and bike activist Caron Butler and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Butler is a spokesperson for Bike Nation, has donated literally thousands of bicycles to inner-city youth and served as bike ambassador to the Crown Prince of Denmark on his majesty’s recent visit to Washington, D.C.
Butler will be announcing a new bicycle donation to the Boys and Girls Club of Los Angeles.
“I am happy to serve as Bike Nation Ambassador and today’s event is just one example of things to come,” says Butler. “Bicycling and youth fitness has been a passion of mine for many years now. I am excited that through this bike-sharing program people will have the opportunity to consider biking as a viable transportation option while also becoming more fit.”