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Metro Bike-Share Opens July 7, Mobility Advocates Team up for Equity

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Metro Bike Share debuts next week. Photo via Allison Mannos

Southern California’s largest bike-share system, Metro Bike Share, debuts next week!

Metro Bike Share will feature 1,000+ bicycles at 65+ docking stations in downtown Los Angeles. Starting July 7, Metro Bike Share will only be available to pass holders who sign up in advance. On August 1, the bike-share system will open to walk-up customers. The system is expected to expand to Pasadena in 2017, and additional L.A. County locations in the future. Metro Bike Share is operated by the Philadelphia-based vendor Bicycle Transit Systems (BTS).

At 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 7, Grand Park will host a bike-share kick-off celebration. The event will feature speakers, free snacks, and music. At the conclusion, riders will hop on bikes and ride to distribute them to bike-share docks throughout the system. Register for the kick-off via Eventbrite; RSVP and share via Facebook event.

Metro's proposed bike-share fare strucutre. Image via Metro staff report [PDF]

Metro’s Bike Share cost to users. Image via Metro

Under Metro’s bike-share fare policy, riders can purchase a $20 unlimited Monthly Pass which covers all 30-minute rides with no per-ride cost. Alternately, less frequent system users can purchase a $40 annual Flex Pass, the pay $1.75 per trip. Walk-up use, which begins August 1, costs $3.50 per ride. For low-income riders, students, and seniors, bikes are available for the Flex Pass cost of $1.75 for up to 30 minutes usage, with no $40 annual fee. Sign up via the Metro Bike Share website.

The first 1000 riders who sign up for Metro Bike Share will receive a special membership kit including commemorative pins and TAP card.

Metro Bike Share will be L.A. County’s first smart-dock system. Existing systems in Long Beach, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and (expected to debut this summer) West Hollywood, are all smart-bike systems. For those who have never used a bike-share docking system, watch Metro’s instructional video for basic instructions.

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Map of bike-share stations in Downtown L.A. Note that this is a screen-shot, for an up-to-date map go to Metro Bike Share’s dynamic system map.

Bike-share docks have been appearing around downtown Los Angeles, and on social media. There are docks every few blocks from Chinatown to Union Station to the Arts District to L.A. Trade Tech College to Staples Center and in between.

One exciting aspect of the new bike-share system is that Metro is working to make it as accessible as possible to low-income riders. In addition to discounted costs for students, seniors, and those of lower-income and TAP card integration, Metro has teamed up with Multicultural Communities for Mobility (MCM) and the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) on a $100,000 program to make sure bike-share serves low-income riders. The program is funded by a $75,000 grant from the national Better Bike Share Partnership, with $25,000 in matching funds from Metro.

Generally bike-share systems have not served the mobility needs of very low income people, especially folks who do not have credit cards. MCM’s Maria Sipin states that “MCM recognizes that existing bikeshare systems have not been readily accessible to low-income communities of color, and this system can operate differently. MCM is committed to working with our partners to ensure that low-income communities of color transform this bike share system into one that promotes equity for all.”  Read more…

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Metro Sets Date To Launch DTLA Bike-Share: July 7

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Publicity photo for Metro bike-share. Photo via Allison Mannos

Downtown L.A. will get a little more bike-friendly with the launch of Metro bike-share, just announced for Thursday, July 7, 2016. Metro bike-share will include 1000+ bikes at 65 docking stations. The system is expected to expand to Pasadena in 2017, and other areas in future years.

From Metro’s press release:

People who live, work and play in downtown L.A. are encouraged to sign up for a Metro bike share pass in advance of the launch at www.metro.net/bikeshare. The system will be accessible exclusively to pass holders from July 7 until August 1, 2016 to incentivize pass holder sales. The system will open to walk-up customers starting August 1. People who purchase their pass early will get a limited edition Metro Bike Share Kit. The first 1,000 people to sign up will also receive exclusive Metro bike share pins.

The installation of bike share stations throughout downtown L.A. will begin in early June, with work expected to continue until the stations open to the public on July 7.

Who’s already signed up?

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Councilmember Jose Huizar Promotes a More Bikeable Downtown L.A.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar is excited about the future of bicycling in downtown Los Angeles. At a press event yesterday, Huizar took a test spin on one of Metro’s bike-share bikes. SBLA Streetsie-winner Huizar sees bike-share as one key feature of “a snowball effect” virtuous cycle for central Los Angeles: more bikes on the street will trigger more safety-in-numbers, which will prompt more city investment in bikeways, which will lead to even more bicycling.

Metro’s 1000+bike 60+station bike-share system is coming to downtown “this June – though it might slip,” according to Huizar.

Huizar recently announced that protected bike lanes will be coming to downtown’s Spring and Main Streets. These improvements are part of an umbrella “DTLA Forward” initiative for a more walkable, bikeable, livable downtown Los Angeles. DTLA Forward includes these two bikeways, pedestrian head-start signals, green alleys, street trees, and a handful of other worthwhile (but not quite transformative) downtown initiatives, plus a (quite transformative) “Your Downtown L.A. Vision Plan” [PDF]. The Vision Plan, created under the auspices of the Downtown L.A. Neighborhood Council with support from the So. Cal. Association of Governments (SCAG), calls for all downtown streets to be complete streets.

Spring and Main Street currently feature a couplet of buffered bike lanes. The Spring Street lane was the city’s first (somewhat controversial) green bike lane, and now its first partially-green pavement bike lane. The protected bike lanes are expected to be implemented in late 2016, after a handful of community outreach meetings.  Read more…

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Eyes On The Street: Metro Bike-Share Really Coming To DTLA This Summer

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Metro bike-share coming to a downtown street near you this summer. Photo via Allison Mannos

It is not real until the marketing materials say it is real, right? Via friend of the blog Allison Mannos, enjoy an image from a marketing photo shoot for Metro’s exciting new bike-share system debuting in downtown Los Angeles this Summer. No start date has been announced yet.

The roughly 1000-bike, 60-station system will extend from USC to Union Station throughout a service area roughly bounded by Chinatown, the L.A. River, Washington Boulevard and the 10 Freeway.  The initial $11 million funding is in place for the initial 2-year Metro bike-share contract with operator Bicycle Transit SystemsMetro approved the planned fare structure last November, and in March approved what amounts to basically a half-price discount for low-income people, students, and seniors. Future year system expansion is expected to bring the bike-share system to Pasadena, central Los Angeles, Hollywood, and other parts of L.A. County.

Who else out there is excited to see this great new transportation mode on the streets of downtown L.A.?

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This Week’s Metro Committees: All-Door Boarding, Bike-Share, Parking, More

Metro's all-door boarding pilot is underway. Photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Metro’s operations committee is expected to approve all-door boarding for the Silver Line BRT this week. Photo of the agency’s 2015 Wilshire all-door boarding pilot: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

This week’s big Metro announcement, expected Friday, will be the fall ballot measure expenditure plan. Some early Measure R2.1 outlines are already foreshadowed here and at the Los Angeles Times.

That expenditure plan will be huge news, but there is other important Metro business going on at Metro board committee meetings this week. Dollar for dollar, this week’s committee business may not match the budget for the November ballot measure, but, from ciclovías to bike-share to all-door boarding to parking to joint development, these agency decisions can add up to make a difference for the region’s livability.

Below is a run-down of key items on this week’s Metro committee agendas:

Planning and Programming Committee – today 2 p.m. – agenda

  • The committee is expected to authorize an all-paid parking pilot for nine rail stations. This is an excellent step to stop costly-to-provide free parking from hemorraging away Metro’s budget, and for managing parking to better foster equity, improve air quality, and encourage active transportation.
  • The committee will hear a proposal to discount Metro bike-share fares for low-income folks, seniors, and students. This should be one helpful step toward making bike-share service more equitable. More details here.
  • Metro is proposing to fund CicLAvia-type open streets events, similar to the agency’s prior open streets funding cycle. The overall allocation would be $4 million, with $2 million per year for Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018.
  • The committee will consider joint development plans for parcels at First Street and Soto Street in Boyle Heights, and at Fourth Street and Hill Street in Downtown L.A. (rendering below).
  • Additional committee items include the Union Station run-through tracks (called the Southern California Regional Interconnector Project or SCRIP), double-tracking a portion of Metrolink’s San Bernardino line, and evaluating a proposed Metrolink Station for Rio Hondo College.

Proposed 4th and Hill development in downtown Los Angeles

Proposed 4th and Hill development in downtown Los Angeles would retool Metro Red/Purple Line Pershing Square Station portal. Image via Metro

Construction Committee – tomorrow 9 a.m. – agenda Read more…

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Long Beach Bike-Share To Launch 100 Bikes At Beach Streets On March 19

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia demonstrates Long Beach's new bike-share system. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia demonstrates Long Beach’s new bike-share system. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

At a kick-off event this morning, the city of Long Beach celebrated a soft launch of its new bike-share system, called Long Beach Bike Share. There are currently two stations in operation, with a dozen bikes. The system will fully publicly open at the Saturday March 19 Beach Streets open streets event.

The 4-mile March 19 Beach Streets will be the first open streets event in downtown Long Beach, extending eastward through Belmont Heights. The route [PDF] is primarily along Broadway, with spurs on Pine Avenue and Cherry Avenue. Beach Streets is looking for volunteers.

Long Beach Bike Share currently has two hubs installed: one at City Hall, the other on Third Street at the Promenade.  Read more…

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L.A. and Santa Monica Finalize Terms For Venice Bike-Share Stations

Hulu and CycleHop are businesses that made Breeze bike-share happen.

Breeze bike-share expansion took a couple of steps forward this week. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Yesterday, The Los Angeles City Council Transportation Committee approved terms for five Breeze bike-share stations to be located in the L.A. City neighborhood of Venice. Full details are available in the staff report [PDF] for council file 16-0176.

The Santa Monica City Council approved a similar agreement earlier this week. At that meeting, the Santa Monica City Council approved the five-station expansion into Venice. As part of that decision, the Santa Monica approved adding up to an additional 15 stations in the future. There are still a few more approvals necessary, including the full L.A. City Council and the Coastal Commission, but it appears that Breeze bike-share is on track for welcome near-Santa Monica expansion.

The five planned Venice locations are expected to be:

  • Venice Boulevard at Abbot Kinney Boulevard
  • California Avenue at Abbot Kinney Boulevard
  • Windward Plaza (where Windward Avenue ends at Venice Beach)
  • Ocean Front Walk at Rose Avenue
  • Rose Avenue at 5th Street

These locations may change somewhat as final approvals and permitting processes get underway.

In other L.A. County bike-share news:  Read more…

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Gabe Klein’s Advice for Los Angeles

Gabe Klein is one of the United States’ top livability leaders. From the private sector, he became a maverick city transportation department head for Washington D.C., then Chicago. In leading those DOTs, he championed innovative multi-modal approaches that activate streets. He embraces bicycling, walking, and new technologies. This year, he has a new book out titled Start Up City: Inspiring Public & Private Entrepeneurship, Getting Projects Done, and Having Fun.

Streetsblog L.A. caught up with Gabe Klein just over a week ago, after his inspirational closing keynote talk at the California Transit Association’s annual conference in Pasadena.

Gabe Klein speaking at the California Transit Association conference. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Gabe Klein speaking at the California Transit Association conference. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

SBLA: Let’s start with car-share. You led Zipcar expansion in Washington D.C. What’s your advice for L.A. regarding car-share?

Klein: Whether it’s taxis, that are limited here, car-sharing – it’s going to be challenging as long as everybody needs to own a car. When you look at where companies like Zipcar do well, they do well in places that are pretty transit-oriented or car-lite. In D.C., 38 percent of people own a car – a little more than a third. So car-share not only encourages more people to give up cars, but it serves the existing population.

I think in L.A., you need more of this type of development [gestures to pedestrian paseo], more urban village type development. We can actually place Zipcars on premise. Being realistic, I think I would focus on people getting rid of a second car or a third car. In the early days of Zipcar, we saw that: people would go down to one car, and if they knew they had a backstop of Zipcars on premise [then some would give up that car].

The interesting thing about Lyft and Uber is they’re providing that same security blanket that people need to give up a car.

So I think you need to embrace all the alternative options, whether there’s a driver or not a driver. Whether it’s Car2Go, Zipcar, bike-share – once people feel comfortable cutting that tether, they may give up their first car as well.

Of course, you need great public transportation, and L.A. unfortunately got rid of it all, in the 50s, like many cities. You have buses, but buses are not always as intuitive as rail transit. I think there’s also probably a stigma around here around who rides the bus and who drives. And the car has become a status symbol.

There are lots of challenges. Geographically, and I’m not an expert on L.A., but this is a massive place, so I think you have to focus on places that are already dense that are also creative and open-minded to start to implement creative solutions: protected bike lanes, bike-share stations, more car-sharing vehicles, zoning – with maybe parking maximums instead of minimums. Go where it’s easy to do, where you can prove concept – and after that you can take it to other places in L.A.

You need context-sensitive solutions. What we’re seeing in D.C. now – after 20 years of working on these issues – is that the creative solutions, started in the densest parts of D.C. and started in Arlington County where they’ve reinvented themselves, are now spreading to Tysons Corner. Tysons Corner is worse than most parts of L.A. in terms of car culture. They’re reinventing themselves as an urban village with Metro stops. If Tysons Corner can do it, anybody can do it.

You’ve got to start somewhere, so you start and you show people what the quality of life can be, then you use that example, that pilot project if you will, to then do it in other places. At that point you have other people saying: I want this here. I want that protected bike lane. I want my kids to be able to walk to school. I want more public safety, more retail activation.

L.A. is about to kick-off a thousand bike bike-share system in our downtown. What’s your advice on bike-share?

I think you have to have a certain density of service, so if you place a station two miles away from the next station, it’s going to be hard to make it work.

We’ve got politicians asking for those outlier stations already.

Use that to your advantage. We would tell people “look – we’ll get there. You need to help us fill in in-between then we’ll get there.” So we’ll get more money that way. Because it doesn’t work to have a station out in the middle of nowhere. It just doesn’t function. This is a nodal system; it’s got to be compact.  Read more…

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Metro Planning Committee Approves Bike-Share Fare Structure

Metro's proposed bike-share fare strucutre. Image via Metro staff report [PDF]

Metro’s proposed bike-share fare structure. Image via Metro staff report [PDF]

Metro’s Planning and Programming Committee approved the proposed bike-share fare structure. Three payment options would be offered: a $20 monthly pass, a $40 annual “flex pass,” or $3.50 per half-hour for walk-up single use. For further Metro bike-share fare details see earlier SBLA coverage on the proposal.

Metro boardmembers Mike Bonin and Hilda Solis expressed “sticker shock” at the $3.50 cost for single-ride walk-up use. Metro staff explained that hourly rentals are anticipated to be largely tourists, and that revenue from these users would be important for the system’s financial stability. Bonin was concerned that hourly users would also include Angelenos interested in trying out the system for the first time. At the suggestion of Metro Planning head Martha Wellborne, boardmembers directed staff to look into some kind of reduced-price initial trial period to allow more Angelenos to get acquainted with the new system.

Boardmembers Bonin and Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker also pushed staff to allow for free transfers from bus or rail to bike-share. While this will not be available during the initial mid-2016 downtown Los Angeles roll-out, staff suggested it could be part of a phase of TAP integration due in late 2016. Staff cautioned that it might not be cost-effective. Further details of of the TAP payment linkages are expected to come back to the board in March 2016.

The proposal goes to the full Metro board for approval on December 3.

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What Can You Get to Riding the Breeze

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Last week, Santa Monica launched Breeze Bike Share, the first public bike-share system in Los Angeles County. To celebrate, more than 100 early subscribers, city staffers, and elected officials went for an inaugural ride in front of City Hall.

Breeze’s 500 bikes, located at 80 hubs around the city and in Venice, mean that residents, visitors, and workers now have a new option to get around the city that is more convenient than driving, especially for short trips. Just how much will Breeze change people’s options for getting around? The potential is pretty big. The above infographic shows just how much of the city a Breeze Bike Share user can cover riding at the modest average speed of 10 miles per hour. You can see a PDF version of the infographic here.