I just wrote a piece on a cool visualization project of the new London cycle scheme, or bike sharing program. Now, on the other side of the Atlantic, we have some very exciting news about a bicycle sharing program in New York.
I have been pretty critical of U.S. bicycle sharing programs in the past, and I think for good reason. While many of them reference and are trying to replicate the extremely successful Paris bike-sharing program, Vélib’, they are using 100 bikes or so instead of the tens of thousands of bikes Vélib’ uses — not even on the same playing field.
Nonetheless, my point is not that bicycle sharing programs aren’t awesome. When I was working as the Executive Director of a non-profit promoting sustainable transportation and development in Virginia a couple years ago, this is one of the main programs I was interested in. And my thoughts were that such programs would become some of the hottest and best ways to promote cleaner transportation.
The point is just, if you want to make a difference, you have to put something significant in first.
Now, one city that seems to get this is New York City. When I was working in this field full-time, I have to say that NYC seemed to be doing the best work the fastest. Portland and some other cities are at a higher level for such things today, but NYC seems to be doing the most to improve themselves. And, as a result, cycling has risen dramatically in NYC in recent years.
Their newest effort is to actually, more-or-less, replicate the extremely successful Vélib’ bicycle sharing program, not just say they are.
NYC is reportedly aiming to launch a new bicycle sharing program now that will start with 10,500 bikes (500 more than Vélib’ started with), and expand to 49,000. Now, that is the way to do it!
This is brand new… news, so there aren’t a lot of details out there on it just yet. But I definitely plan to come back to this if it moves forward as it is supposed to.
Are you crazy about bikes? If you are, you may want to join the Biking Revolution of Love & Freedom facebook group. Check it out.
Photo Credit: Stuck in Customs via flickr