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Posts from the Bike Sharing Category


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…


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.


Bike-Share Has Arrived: Santa Monica Breeze Opens!

Santa Monica's Breeze Bike-Share system opened earlier today. Photos by Joe Linton

Santa Monica’s Breeze Bike-Share system opened earlier today. Photos by Joe Linton

The first public bike-share system in Los Angeles County opened today to much fanfare. Santa Monica’s Breeze bike-share features 500 bicycles at 75 stations throughout the city of Santa Monica, plus four in adjacent Venice. The system is run by CycleHop under a contract with the city of Santa Monica. System start-up funding came from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, Metro, and Caltrans, plus an annual $675,000 sponsorship for at least five years from the Santa Monica-based entertainment company Hulu. Bicycles are available for rent hourly, monthly, or annually.

Breez bike-share rates - image via Breeze

Breeze bike-share rates – image via Breeze. They are currently offering a $99/year “founding member” rate, as well.

Enjoy the following photo tour of the first morning of L.A. County’s first bike-share system.  Read more…


A Peek Into Metro Bike-Share’s Proposed Fare Structure

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

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

A Metro staff report available this week gives a peek into the proposed fare structure for the transit agency’s bike-share system, coming to downtown Los Angeles in 2016. Metro has contracted with Bicycle Transit Systems (BTS) to open a 60+ station, 1000+ bicycle system extending from Union Station to USC. The new report [PDF] recommends that the Metro board approve bike-share fees and an interoperability plan, both detailed below.

The proposal will be heard at the Metro board’s Planning and Programming Committee on November 18th, then at the full board meeting scheduled on December 3.

Initial Interoperability Plan

As alluded to at the Metro board’s September discussion, the latest documents confirm that interoperability will initially just mean that multiple bike-share systems will use Metro’s TAP card. When the system first opens in mid-2016, monthly pass or annual pass bike-share users will receive a “uniquely branded TAP card” to unlock bicycles at docking stations. Bike-share TAP cards will be issued by BTS, with the TAP card only linked to the user’s bike-share account, separate from any TAP card’s stored transit fare account.

By the end of 2016, “all TAP cards will function as bike-share passes to unlock a bicycle at a station.” Users will enter their TAP card number when purchasing of a Bike share pass, though the bike-share and stored transit fare accounts still remain separate.

Additional interoperability features continue to be discussed, and will come back to Metro’s board in Spring 2016.

Fare Structure

Metro’s proposed bike-share fare structure (shown at top of post) includes three payment options:  Read more…

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Streetsblog’s Joe Linton on KCRW’s Press Play Today


KCRW’s Press Play news round-up airs daily at noon. Image via KCRW

Streetsblog Editor Joe Linton appeared on KCRW radio’s Press Play with Madeline Brand today at 12:45 p.m.

Host Madeline Brand interviewed Linton and City of West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath about bike-share programs, bike safety, and Idaho stop laws.

West Hollywood is implementing a 150-bike bike-share system, coming Spring 2016. WeHo’s “smart-bike” system, like Santa Monica’s, is not fully compatible with Metro and the city of Los Angeles’ 1,000-bike “smart-dock” system in the works for downtown Los Angeles, expected Spring, 2016.

The Idaho Stop Law has been a hot issue recently in San Francisco. In 1982, Idaho adopted a law that allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yields. A 2010 study showed that the law improved safety. The law does not allow cyclists to recklessly blow through stop signs, but permits them to slow, check for traffic, and proceed cautiously, without coming to a full stop.

The interview is available here (at about minute 45), the direct link will also be in tomorrow’s “Today’s Headlines” post.


Metro Bike-Share Update: 2016 Opening On Track, With No Title Sponsor

Preview of what Metro bike-share bikes will look like when they arrive in downtown L.A. in mid-2016. Image via Metro staff report

Preview of what Metro bike-share bikes will look like when they arrive in downtown L.A. in mid-2016. Image via Metro staff report [PDF]

A few new bike-share details emerged at yesterday’s Metro Planning and Programming Committee meeting. Overall, Metro bike-share is on track to open in mid-2016 in downtown Los Angeles with 1000+bikes at 60+kiosks.

The bike-share item before the committee was just a receive and file update [PDF], with no action taken.

Metro published a request for proposals for bike-share title sponsorship in July. No sponsors submitted proposals by the late-August deadline, so system implementation is planned to proceed without a title sponsor. Metro staff are arranging for a contract modification to bring their bike-share vendor, Bicycle Transportation Systems (BTS), in to assist with procuring sponsorship. After boardmember Sheila Kuehl stressed the need that a sponsor be “suitable,” Metro staff clarified that BTS would provide technical assistance, but selection of a sponsor would ultimately be up to Metro.

Staff clarified that lack of a title sponsor would not impact the initial roll-out in 2016, but leaves some questions over where continuing Metro funding would come from.

One of the key questions facing Metro is “interoperability.” With Santa Monica opening its Breeze bike-share this year, Metro’s board and others have been pressing to make multiple local systems as easy as possible for riders to use.  Read more…


Open Thread: Yup, Bike-Share Is Coming

metro bike share

Photo: Metro

Friday, the City Council formally agreed with Metro to bring over 1,000 bike-share bikes to Downtown Los Angeles as soon as “sometime in 2016.” The cost of the system will be split between Metro (35%) and the City (65%). Proceeds from naming rights will go to Metro, and advertising from the bikes and kiosks to Los Angeles. If successful, bike-share will spread to North Hollywood, Hollywood, Venice, and elsewhere.

Of course, there are some issues. Santa Monica, Long Beach, West Hollywood, and Beverly Hills have all chosen a different bike-share provider, with a different technology and different fee-collection system. Santa Monica’s Breeze system is currently testing a limited pilot, with the full program going online in November. This means that people visiting attractions in Hollywood or the beach areas could be faced with trying to decipher two different systems. Hopefully, Metro will be able to adapt its TAP card to work for both bike-share systems to reduce the confusion.

But the good news is: it’s official. From Wendy Greuel’s vision in 2008 to the debacle with Bike Nation, Los Angeles took the long road to bike-share. But we’ve emerged with a contract, plan, and timeline to bring bike-share to Los Angeles.

Do you have any thoughts on the plan or suggestions for Metro/L.A. City? Leave them below.

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Eyes on the Street: Breeze Bike Share Is Operational in SaMo

One of seven bike-share hubs that are part of Breeze bike-share's month-long test run. (Photos by Jason Islas/Santa Monica Next)

One of seven bike-share hubs that are part of Breeze bike-share’s month-long test run. This hub serves City Hall. (Photos by Jason Islas/Santa Monica Next)

Los Angeles County’s first public bike-share system has begun testing this week in Santa Monica. Seven test hubs with a total of 31 bikes have been set up around the city. CycleHop, the company running the system, has recruited about 80 founding members as test users* to try out the bikes over the next month.

The test run, which started on August 13, will run until September 13. The full 500-bike, 80-station system is on schedule to go live in November. CycleHop is still accepting test riders through August 31. If you have already purchased a founding membership and are interested in being a test rider, email

Here’s a map of the seven test hubs.

Bike-share hubs

They are located near the city’s major bike routes. There’s one at City Hall, one at 4th Street and Arizona, and another at Broadway and Cloverfield. There are two on 16th Street, at Arizona Avenue and at Montana Avenue.

There is also one on Main Street and Ashland Avenue, near the Venice border, and another at Cloverfield Park.

Since the Breeze is a “smart-bike” system, all the technology is located on the bike, which means it does not require a docking station to be locked up.

As a result, you may see Breeze bikes tethered at various locations throughout the city where there is no designated hub.

You may even see CycleHop’s all electric redistribution vehicle, the first of its kind in the U.S. bike-share world. The vehicle is used for rebalancing the distribution of bikes should one area end up with too many or too few bikes.

Once the full system is up and running, locking a bike outside of a hub area (within a 100 feet) will result in a $2 fee.

Returning a bike to a hub area can get you a $1 credit, though. Read more…


Metro Bike-Share Transit Integration and Pricing: What Do You Think?

Metro bike-share demo in DTLA. Photo via The Source

Metro bike-share demo in DTLA. Photo via The Source

There is a great new report out that shows that bike-share systems really are legitimate, full-fledged transportation facilities. The focus of the report is how bike-share interacts with other transit systems. The report is summarized in this excellent CityLab article. Researchers surveyed bike-share users in both Washington DC and Minneapolis. Bike-share users living in central city areas used transit less, because bike-share trips replace short transit trip in denser core areas. Bike-share users further from the core reported an increase in transit usage, reflecting bike-share’s role in solving the first last mile connection to transit.

Metro boardmembers, Laura Nelson at the L.A. Times, and Yonah Freemark at The Tranport Politic have all made the case that Metro’s regional bike-share system will offer a high level of integration between transit and bike-share. As Freemark puts it:

Though late, L.A.’s proposal could be a model for a new type of bike sharing. Not only will the system be operated by the county transit agency Metro (most systems are operated by city departments of transportation or independent groups), but it could also be tightly integrated into the transit system by allowing people to transfer directly from buses and trains to bikes—definitely a first.

I am getting a reputation as a bike-share contrarian these days, but I am not so invested in “tight integration” between bike-share and transit being a top priority. If it is a choice between, say, decent integration vs. bikes on the ground two months sooner, I would have to go with getting bikes on the ground.

It’s not entirely clear to me how tight integration of transit and bike-share should work.

Locate bike-share kiosks at Metro stations? Of course.

Integrate TAP fare card with checking out a bike? Maybe.

I do not see TAP integration as a straightforward easy task. Read more…

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Metro Board July Updates: Joint Development, Bike-Share, and More

Today’s monthly Metro Board of Directors meeting saw the chair transition from L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti to L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Incoming Chair Ridley-Thomas expounded on his priorities for the current fiscal year. The July board meeting did not feature any major controversies, but there are a number of items likely to be of interest to SBLA readers.

Expo phase 2 test train. Photo via Santa Monica Next

Expo phase 2 test train. Photo via Santa Monica Next

Rail Lines Opening 2016: Metro CEO Phil Washington gave a brief update on the status of the extensions of the Gold and Expo Lines. Both of these projects are nearing completion. They are both being built by Construction Authorities, who will finish their work, then turn the project over to Metro for testing and, then, operation. Washington reported that Gold Line Foothill Extension construction is expected to be complete in September, while Expo Phase 2 construction is expected to be complete in mid- to late-October.

Bike-Share: With bike-share opening in Santa Monica, downtown L.A. and Long Beach this fiscal year, and other places interested, Metro is still working out if and how the agency needs to enforce or incentivize interoperability. Differences were evident in the debate at last month’s board meeting.

County Supervisor Don Knabe strung together multiple apt cliches urging Metro not enforce bike-share vendor conformity in a “my way or the highway” approach because “one size does not fit all.” Garcetti, on the other hand, asserted that a single countywide system “funds well,” meaning that it could attract lucrative countywide advertising sponsorship. Duarte City Councilmember John Fasana expressed “misgivings” over the current two-vendor implementation underway, suggesting that he thought it might be better for Metro to “buy out” systems being implemented by Long Beach and Santa Monica.

Glendale City Councilmember Ara Najarian pointedly asked Metro staff how cities like his should approach implementing bike-share, asking if Glendale should “refrain from an RFP (Request for Proposals)?” Staff recommended cities contact Metro, pursue funding together, and work things out on a case-by-case basis.  Read more…