Exciting news for Angelenos today! Bike share is coming to LA, says the Los Angeles City Council. Today, Council voted to partner with Metro to launch a pilot bike-sharing program in Downtown Los Angeles. The program is slated to launch with 1,090 bicycles and up to 85 stations by 2016. The program aims to eventually expand to other neighborhoods, such as Hollywood, Koreatown, Expo Park, North Hollywood and Venice.
Bike share could be a game changer for LA, creating a new transportation system that has benefits that extend far beyond moving people around. In other cities, bike share has expanded the number of mobility options available for short trips, improved the health of its users, decreased crashes, and produced positive business outcomes.
Bike share is a partnership between Metro, and the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). Bicycle Transit Systems (BTS) and its partner BCycle were selected to implement the program for Metro in Los Angeles and other cities. The program builds on successful bike sharing operations in other major cities, including Washington D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Paris.
After a 2012 effort to bring bike sharing to Downtown Los Angeles failed to materialize, Councilmember José Huizar, who represents a majority of DTLA, welcomes the program, which compliments his DTLA Forward initiative, aimed at improving pedestrian, public space and bicycle access in DTLA.
“This bike sharing program is a long time coming for DTLA and the City of Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Huizar. “We have been leading the fight to bring more pedestrian and bicycle uses to the City, particularly in Downtown, where many of its 53,000 residents live car-free lives. Our bike sharing service will greatly benefit them, as well as the many workers, visitors and tourists who come to DTLA each and every day.”
Under the plan, Metro and the City of Los Angeles will share capital costs. Metro will cover 35% of net operations and maintenance costs and the City will cover the remaining 65%.
“Bike sharing’s return on investment is proven and powerful,” said Seleta Reynolds, LADOT General Manager. “It is good for local business, public health, and community happiness. The City is a proud partner to Metro in launching a new form of safe, equitable, and fun public transit.”
Naming rights for the bike share system will be retained by Metro and advertising rights on bike share stations will belong to the City and be negotiated separately from the MOU approved today.
“We’re very pleased to partner with the City of Los Angeles to bring bike sharing to Downtown L.A. next year,” said Mark Ridley-Thomas, L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair. “This partnership will do wonders to extend the reach of Metro’s bus and rail system and give Angelenos brand new, efficient and sustainable transportation options. Following Downtown L.A.’s bike sharing pilot, we look forward to expanding the bike share program to many other cities within Los Angeles County.”
BTS/BCycle is working on integrating transit fare cards similar to Metro’s TAP card, bringing a convenient, unified payment system to the county’s rail, bus and bike share systems.
Councilmember Mike Bonin also serves as a Metro Boardmember and helped usher in the new program.
“I am incredibly excited that we are moving forward with bike share in L.A. and that we are focusing on developing a system that will connect our neighborhoods,” said Transportation Committee Chair Mike Bonin. “It defies logic that snowy cities around the country have had bike share for years, but a city like Los Angeles, with our wonderful weather and communities begging to be biked, still hasn’t gotten this done yet. I’m excited this is happening in L.A. and I can’t wait for it to reach the Westside in the near future.”
Bike sharing programs have grown throughout the years from the free white bike programs introduced by the Dutch in the 1970s to the current explosion of member-based, electronic kiosk-operated bicycle sharing programs globally. In 2015, the global number of bike share bikes surpassed 1 million! Most major cities in North America have developed successful bike share programs:
· In Denver, 43% of bike share users say they use bike share to replace car trips.
· In Washington, D.C., 31% of bike share users report lower stress levels.
· In Paris, local bike sales increased 35% one year after the Velib bike share system was installed.
· New York’s Citibike system has created 200 local jobs.
· In five cities with bike share systems, injuries to people bicycling decreased by 30% compared to cities without bike share systems.
Learning from previous attempts to implement bike share, Los Angeles and Metro are creating a system in which bike share is a form of public transportation, and is subsidized similar to bus and rail.
The capital cost of the Pilot Program is anticipated to be $5,806,034. Grant funding from two sources have been secured in order to cover all of these capital costs. The first grant is $3,792,893 in ExpressLanes Net Toll Revenue. In addition, the Metro Board approved reprogramming $2,013,141 in Metro Call for Project funding from two former CRA projects to offset capital costs and pay for the remainder of the capital purchase of equipment for the Program.
The total Operations and Maintenance cost of the two-year program is estimated to be $5,259,639. The City’s 65% share will be offset by revenue from user fees, and the remaining net costs are recommended to be paid through a combination of funds from the Local Transportation Fund (TDA) and the Measure R Local Return 5% set-aside for bicycle programs.
Bike share will grace the streets of DTLA by Summer 2016 to provide Angelenos a new way to move around LA.