Monday, June 25, 2012

Bike-sharing definite, says CDOT director

I chanced to sit next to Charlotte Department of Transportation chief Danny Pleasant at this afternoon's  Charlotte City Council meeting (where the council voted against building Phase II of the streetcar, but the mayor vetoed it).

So, I asked, is Charlotte going to start a bike-sharing program or not? I was just in Paris, I said, and their program is awesome. Bicycles everywhere. What about Charlotte?

Yes, he said, we're launching one.  My follow-up: Absolutely sure? "Absolument," was his reply (in French).

The reason I was asking: A bike-sharing program has been in planning stages for weeks, after enthusiasts have pushed for one to open before the Democratic National Convention.  See: "Bike sharing in Charlotte - soon?" and "Charlotte rolls toward N.C.'s first bike-share system."  But no one yet would confirm that it really was going to happen.

Why not announce it? I asked Pleasant.  He said the city is waiting for the bike-share program's sponsor to set the publicity timetable.

Bike-sharing programs, if you're not familiar with them, are set up to let users rent bicycles short-term – for a half-hour up to a day – from one bike-share station and return them to another. Many cities have them, from Paris (see photo at right, for a fleet of to-be-rented bikes early last Sunday in Paris) to Boston to Washington to Spartanburg. Here's a piece on the remarkable success of the Velib bike-share program in Paris.


Anonymous said...

Washington DC has a great bike sharing program as well - and it works very well for tourists. Now one can see the major attractions in a short space of time without a car parking problem (or expense). I highly recommend it to any visitor.

perdlespedales said...

And don't forget the #BIXI #Bikeshare program, created in Montreal and deployed throughout the world, including Washington/Arlington, Boston, Chattanooga, New York, Minneapolis, London, Toronto, Ottawa/Gatineau, Vancouver (2013) and Melbourne.
#Bike Sharing is taking the Global #Velorution to new heights!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Montreal which has an awesome bike-share program (Bixi) whose concept has been sold to London (UK) and NY city, among others.

Jean-Marc (resident of Montreal :) )

Erin Chantry said...

As a native Charlottean, I am so proud of our city redefining what it means to be "Southern American City." Danny Pleasant was just in Tampa (where I live now) where he wowed the socks off of city leaders and residents. He makes me proud to say I'm from Charlotte and continue to fight for returning the streets back to the people.

Erin Chantry

karin said...

who does this bike sharing target? corporate workers in their starched outfits? random passers-by? mothers with their children going grocery shopping? what is the average trip that one will use this for? where will these be placed in Charlotte? Is this option supposed to attract new bike users and keep them away from motorized vehicles? Charlotte is a place with many disjointed locations - will bikes help connect them?

karin said...

Let's not forget Montreal, DC, and Paris are much more dense than Charlotte. This bike sharing will have to be part of a much bigger bike lobbying effort to get anywhere serious. I hate to be pessimistic. But then Charlotteans love novelties and gadgets (a la WWC) - maybe they will tinker around on these bikes between museum visits. I only envision people using these for play and not so much for transportation for work or errands. Hopefully I am wrong. And maybe that is better than nothing anyways.

Anonymous said...

Those are definitely the right questions to ask. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but here's a shot at answering some: I live in fourth ward uptown and drive locally all the time. I spend a lot of time in South End, Elizabeth, Dilworth, and Plaza Midwood, and would love a way to drive less. All of these will be accessible with the Bikeshare program according to the station map. I walk to the grocery stores uptown, so that will be a nice option. A few of my friends work and live uptown have gotten excited about biking (not an option for anyone above a certain dress code, but still an option for some). I have asked around in my plaza midwood group and heard excitement about riding the bikes over to light rail stations where there will be more Bikeshare racks- eliminating the need to drive completely. I can't be the only one who will have many uses for the program, I hope to see a lot of use!

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