I suppose there was a remote chance that Vancouver could have had North America’s first Paris-style bike sharing program (see Price Tags 101 for details). But now it looks like Washington, D.C. will be the pace-setter.
The New York Times has an article here.
Starting next month, people here will be able to rent a bicycle day and night with the swipe of a membership card.
A new public-private venture called SmartBike DC will make 120 bicycles available at 10 spots in central locations in the city… The district has teamed up with an advertiser, Clear Channel Outdoor, to put the bikes on the streets…
In the deal, Clear Channel will have exclusive advertising rights in the city’s bus shelters. The company has reached a similar deal with San Francisco. Chicago and Portland, Ore., are also considering proposals from advertisers.
Proponents hope to see the D.C. system grow to a thousand bikes in about a year – a necessity, I’d say, since 120 bikes aren’t enough to reach critical mass.
TransLink currently has a study underway as a result of a motion moved by Peter Ladner under the old structure. It should go to the executive committee in a week or so, and then to the board. The report won’t likely be posted, since these meetings are all closed. Indeed, it’s possible we won’t even know publicly if it’s killed off at that point.
But I’m hopeful that some progress will be made towards a full-scale system that will show this region is sincere about leadership in sustainable transportation options.
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