Did you know that soon you’ll be able to rent bikes, like the way you rent cars via CityShare, all over San Francisco? The long (and I do mean long) delayed, highly anticipated, bike share program is slated to be ready for you to pop a wheelie by early fall of 2013 offering up to 350 bikes for citizens to rent and ride.
The pilot program will take off the training wheels first in SF’s Downtown district with stations scattered about for renters convenance.
The program isn’t even rolling yet and Castro’s Dist. 8 Sup. Scott Wiener is calling on the Board of Supervisors to expand it as soon as possible. He proposed (wait for it) legislation to accomplish just that last Tuesday.
“All over the world, cities are recognizing the tremendous value of city-wide bike-share programs in reducing traffic, improving public transit and stimulating the local economy,” Wiener said in a statement. “Here in San Francisco, we should be doing everything we can to establish and start reaping the benefits from a full-scale bike share program.”
Originally the immaginative program was tapped to be up and pedaling by Summer of 2012, but, SF being its overly cautious (and cash strapped) self, the 7 million dollar plan finds itself currently trailing a year plus behind schedule.
SF Bike Coalition Executive Director, Leah Shahum, said in a statement regarding Wiener’s wish to see the program grow, “A full-scale bike share system will open up the joys of bicycling to everyone in San Francisco, while also increasing access to local businesses, relieving crowding on transit, and sealing our reputation as a leading city of innovation.”
Some other big plusses to increased bike ridership: reduce the City’s carbon footprint and traffic congestion. It would promote a healthier lifestyle greatly reducing health care costs at the City’s universal care program Healthy SF. Noise generated by vehicles, a subtle strain of non-stop stress on a dense population like ours, would be greatly reduced leading to a higher quality of day-to-day life.
The expansion of the program into neighborhoods like the Castro from Downtown would cost an additional 30 million dollars, but, Sup. Wiener feels confident that money can be drummed up via public/private partnerships instead of from City coffers.
The end result? Every citizen in every neighborhood across the City, have a bike at their rental disposal by 2014.
We hope to see the pilot bike share be a raging success and the expansion effort happen. It’s a great plan and long overdue. It would perhaps push the City to also realize the underfunded, Bike Lane Expansions plans like the Wiggle, needs to grow in every neighborhood sooner than later. Approving the Market Street Plan allowing only bikes and public transit up and down the City’s main drag is another great next step in that effort as well.
If Chattanooga, Portland and DC can sort it out, San Francisco, the bastion of all things green, with its history of communal sharing, should be on the forefront of transportation innovations just like this.