Posts Tagged ‘Velib’

Meet Your San Francisco Bike Sharing Program – 500 Bicycles and 50 Stations Coming Next Year to FiDi, SoMA, Civic Center

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

I guess they have the money now and they’re working on figuring out who’s going to run the thing.

Appears as if the SFMTA has given up on a giant Parisian Velib-style program with 5000 bikes strewn all over town – they’re starting small. Regardless, some of this free advice still applies.

The deets:

“…the pilot service area will be centered in San Francisco’s employment- and transit-rich Downtown/SOMA corridor between the Financial District, Market Street and the Transbay and Caltrain terminals.  This area is notably flat, has the densest bikeway network coverage in San Francisco and enjoys the highest levels of cycling, yet those who commute by transit from cities to the east and south encounter difficulties bringing a bicycle with them on BART or Caltrain.”

El Mapa:

Click to expand

So the stations might end up looking a little half-assed, owing to CEQA:

“Heath Maddox, senior planner for the Livable Streets Subdivision of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), says the defining characteristics of the service they’ve outlined in an RFP draft is that the bike system be solar-powered with no need for external AC power and no requirement for excavation that would turn the installation process into a construction project.”

Remember, sharing is caring.

All the deets:

“The map of the pilot service area presents northeast San Francisco. The highlighted area in the map is the bicycle sharing pilot service area bound by South Van Ness Avenue and the Ferry Terminal along Market Street. To the north, the service area boundary includes the Federal Building at Turk Street, Union Square at Post Street, the Broadway and Columbus Avenue intersection, and The Embarcadero at Sansome Street. To the south, the highlighted service area includes the Embarcadero to Mission Bay, Townsend Street and Concourse Exhibition Center.”

Bike Sharing

Bike sharing is coming to San Francisco! A regional pilot program led by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) in partnership with the SFMTA will bring approximately 50 bike share stations and 500 bikes to San Francisco’s downtown core beginning in spring 2012. The SFMTA is working with a regional team to implement this pilot along the Caltrain corridor in San Francisco, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Redwood City and San Jose and shown in this Regional Bike Sharing System map. The project is funded through a combination of local, regional and federal grants with major funding coming from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Innovative Bay Area Climate Initiatives Grant Program (BACI).

What is bike sharing?

Similar to car sharing, bicycle sharing is a term used to describe a membership-based system of short-term bicycle rental.  Members can check a bicycle out from a network of automated bicycle stations, ride to their destination, and return the bicycle to a different station.  Bicycle sharing is enjoying a global explosion in growth with the development of purpose-built bicycles and stations that employ high tech features like smartcards, solar power, and wireless internet and GPS technologies.

Who is involved with launching the San Francisco bike sharing system?

The BAAQMD is the overall regional project lead, coordinating the planning and implementation efforts of the local partners: the City and County of San Francisco, the Cities of San Jose, Mountain View and Palo Alto in Santa Clara County and the City of Redwood City in San Mateo County. The SFMTA is leading the project in San Francisco, and we are working in cooperation with our City and County partners, including the Planning Department, Department of Public Works, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and the Port of San Francisco. The regional partners will be selecting a contractor in fall 2011 to install, operate, and manage the system.

Where will bike sharing be located in San Francisco?

As the San Francisco Bicycle Sharing Pilot Service Area map (PDF) presents, in San Francisco, the pilot service area will be centered in San Francisco’s employment- and transit-rich Downtown/SOMA corridor between the Financial District, Market Street and the Transbay and Caltrain terminals.  This area is notably flat, has the densest bikeway network coverage in San Francisco and enjoys the highest levels of cycling, yet those who commute by transit from cities to the east and south encounter difficulties bringing a bicycle with them on BART or Caltrain. Much of San Francisco’s densely urbanized northeastern quadrant is similarly well-suited to bicycle sharing.

When will bike sharing launch in San Francisco?

The regional partners will be selecting a vendor to install, operate, and manage the bike sharing system in 2011 with the goal of a system launch in Spring/Summer 2012!

Further Information

If you have any questions, comments or feedback about bike sharing, contact the SFMTA at sustainable.streets@sfmta.com.

Carry Your Bike Helmet as an Accessory When You Ride Your Bike – That Way It Won’t Muss Your Hair

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

You certainly can say bicycle riding is a la mode these days in the 415, right?

But when fashionable people start hitting the streets, they find that wearing a helmet can become a burden.

So all you can do is just sling the thing over your shoulder with all your other accessories and then ride, ride, ride.

Click to expand

The Helmet Issue is a toughie for those who want a vast increase in the number of bikes on the Streets of San Francisco. In France, when a casual rider on a rental bike like a Velib gets killed for want of a helmet, people go ces’t la vie.

In America, people go to a lawyer and sue, sue, sue the city. And the county.

Oh well.

Our Crappy San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Hosts Bike Sharing Demos in Civic Center Friday, Saturday

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Do you know what it’s like to ride a 50-pound plus bike in SF in the rain? I do, I remember from just yesterday. But you, you ought to hit Civic Center today and tomorrow to see all the models competing to become a part of your San Francisco Bike Share Program. Check it:

“Vendors who operate bike-share programs will make their equipment available for test rides in San Francisco on Friday and Saturday. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is hosting the demonstration project at Civic Center Plaza on both days between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.”

I’ve already given my pithy advice here, so all’s that’s left to do is remember the time the Canadians came to town to show off their rides.

Enjoy.

From back in the day in GGP. An old report:

IMG_7741 copy

The Bixi short-term bike-share roadshow blew into town to show us how they do it up in Montreal.

But first things first – a quick report on what our visiting bike-sharing visitors were surprised by in GGP:

1. The summertime cold and wind;

2. The homeless dude with a guitar case who flipped out, attacked a jogger, and had to get taken down by a bunch of Park Rangers and SFPD officers;

3. Noisy raptors circling low overhead; and

4. San Francisco’s famous bicycle built for four. It almost stole the show. See?

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Program Director Andy Thornley with SF Weekly’s Matt Smith et ux, “quad” liberi, all together on a charming, fully-functioning bicycle. Click to expand:

IMG_7752 copy

So Bixi is just like the Parisian Velib program except the Bixi bikes aren’t as heavy, which is a good thing. But the Bixis are still heavy though. And if you happen to be six foot one and a ton of fun, you’ll find that the frame is strong enough but that the seatpost doesn’t go up high enough. Otherwise the whole program is as you would expect.

In France, they incentivize people to drop the bikes off at the tops of hills. If a program like this ever gets off the ground in San Francisco, what would it take to deal with stations at the tops of our mini-mountains?

Bienvenue à Montréal!

IMG_7742 copy

It’s enormous work keeping a program like this going. The little monsters of France have effectively managed to steal, vandalize, and otherwise mangle the entire original fleet – at a replacement cost of thousands of dollars each, that’s a tough row to hoe.

IMG_7732 copy

If you want to make a system like this work in San Francisco, you’d need  a subsidy from the government, the way that MUNI and BART and Golden Gate ferries get subsidies.

And where will people get the helmets they’ll need? Whoops. (In gay Paris, they take a c’est la vie approach to matters like this.)

All in all, I’d rather have a regular bike and a U-lock than a Bixi program membership. But if you can’t find a cab or you just missed your bus, you might like having the option of a short-term bike rental.

We’ll see.


City CarShare Cohosts Bike Sharing Demonstration.

Exploring New Trends in Green Mobility

WHAT: A one-day opportunity for the public to ride bikes from a bike share system. Bike sharing allows people to pick up a bike from one station, travel to their destination and return the bike to any other station in a network. City CarShare will be conducting a survey among participants to get their feedback on the concept, the equipment and their level of support for bike sharing in San Francisco.
WHEN: Sunday, August 2, 10 am- 3:30 pm
WHERE: Golden Gate Park, (just inside the car-free Sunday road closure on JFK Drive at Conservatory Drive East)
WHY: To allow the public to test-ride the bikes and learn more about this eco-friendly mode of urban transportation. Through this demonstration project, the sponsors hope to encourage awareness and increased civic conversation about Bike Sharing for San Francisco as having the potential to build a greener city while encouraging healthy living.
SPONSORS: City CarShare, SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), BIXI (of Montreal)
COST Free

Pithy Advice for the Person Who Ends Up Running San Francisco’s Bike Share Program

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Remember back in the day, back when Clear Channel “promised” that they would provide a Velib-style bicycle sharing program for San Francisco? Let’s dig up a press release crowing all about that from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). Ah yes, from the “Transit Shelter Advertising and Maintenance Agreement” with Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc.:

“The agreement also requires Clear Channel to provide a Bicycle-Sharing Program, at the SFMTA’s request, details of which will be negotiated in an amendment to the Agreement.”

Details! Oh noes. Well Clear Channel looked at the details of running a bike share program and decided that they didn’t want to do it. Of course, they were not “required” to do Jack despite what the SFMTA thought. Isn’t that funny?

Now let’s imagine that you’re in charge of San Francisco’s bike-share program. What should you do? Let’s start with the good stuff and then worry about the details, the gritty nitty.

But first, let’s check in with Jessica Alba in Paris on a Velib. She’s in your corner:

All right, let’s go:

1. Junkets, junkets, junkets!

Try to get in as many “fact-finding missions” as possible early on. You’re the CEO, right? So, first thing you do is jet off to France, or D.C. or Montreal, bidness-class. Start a blog to post vacation photos of you on a Velib and complain about how you have to spend so much time away from your kids. Enjoy yourself, it’s going to go downhill from here.

2. Make the program as small as possible.

This is key. The bigger the program, the more headaches you’ll have. If you listen to people who tell you that you need to have a “critical mass” to be sustainable, you’ll have 5000 bikes on the streets – that means 5000 things to fret over every day. The Feds might give you millions to get started, but they’re not going to give you millions every year. As far as you’re concerned, a bike share program is a bike share program.

3. Think of a catchy name for your program.

I don’t know, BikeConnect (if Alex Tourk would license the name)? How about City BikeShare, CalBike, BikeCal, SFBike, BikeSF, FoggyBike, or Frisco a Go Go? I’m at a loss…

And now, decisions to be made:

1. Which bikes to use?

In the Parisian program, the heavy bikes come from Hungary and they cost $1000 per. This is both good and bad, because you want to have the bikes well-built in order to survive the rigors of heavy use, but you don’t want to lose too much money every time one disappears. I think it’d be impossible to charge $1000 to a San Francscan when the bike s/he just checked out got lifted by a thief, so you’re going to lose big bucks on theft. On the other hand, if you go the cheap route and use inexpensive mountain-type bikes, they’ll get stripped for parts with a quickness. You want bike thieves to think these are custom-made with no reuseable parts. Bixi bikes are cheaper (I hope) – perhaps they’d be a good starting point?

2. How much to charge users who don’t return bikes?

The Parisian government now subsidizes share program operator JC Decaux’s losses to the tune of millions of dollars per year. This is despite the fact that this company makes a mint from the 1600 advertising spaces given to them to pay for the program. If you are “too nice” to customers and only charge $50 for a bike they don’t return, then the customers won’t really care if their rental goes missing. On the other hand, if you try to charge the full replacement value, your customers won’t stand for it.

3. What about vandalism?

What about it – the little monsters are going to mess you up. They’re going to make it their business to make you want to go out of business. How will you react to the taggers who will paint over whatever they can? Now, program operators don’t have to deal with this issue in La Rochelle or Lyon, but in Paris, that’s a different story. Well guess what? We’re going to be just like Paris, having bikes with broken keels and lost keels. Deal with it. How about getting the City to cover all vandalism costs? That would help.

4. What about helmets?

You know, France has different attitudes about certain things. For example, they’ve got 58 nuclear panner plants and they’re building more, and they have a huge nuclear waste dump in Champagne, of all places. So, when you talk to the French about helmets for non-Tour-de-France-bike-riders, they don’t like it. Could San Francisco somehow rent out a smelly used helmet along with the bike? Doubtful. Could customers carry their own helmets? Sure, some of them would, but carrying around a helmet goes against the very nature of the whole program, which is designed to appeal to the general non-bike-riding public. In France, they tolerate deaths due to share program customers not having helmets. Will San Francisco?

5. What about hills?

Now let’s say your customer wants to go from a bike station at the top of Nob Hill down to Embarcadero Station – that’s a straight shot down California, it would take about five minutes, easy peasy. But who’s going to pay for the right to pedal a heavy bike back up to the top of Nob Hill? Should you give people who turn bikes in at the Nob Hill station more time? Certainly. Should you go ahead and just make that a free ride? Should you give these hardy souls a credit for future trips? Should you just pay jobless people to ride bikes uphill? Should you load up a truck and have an employee redistributing bikes all day long? Should you just not have a Nob Hill station? Don’t know.

There are no easy solutions for you. You’ll be made sport of in the pages of SFist and SFGate, San Francisco’s online newspaper. It’ll be endless. The Velib program works in Paris because of all that sweet, sweet street advertising money from all those signs. You won’t have access to that kind of dough, not in San Francisco.

Oh well, that’s why you’ll get paid the big bucks.

Good luck, Chuck.

After the jump, all the places you should junket to, before the cash runs out.

(more…)

Bixi, the Bike Taxi, in Golden Gate Park – Testing Out the Canadian Bike Rental System

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

The Bixi short-term bike-share roadshow blew into town today, however briefly, to show us how they do it up in Montreal.

But first things first – a quick report on what our visiting bike-sharing visitors were surprised by in GGP:

1. The summertime cold and wind;

2. The homeless dude with a guitar case who flipped out, attacked a jogger, and had to get taken down by a bunch of Park Rangers and SFPD officers;

3. Noisy raptors circling low overhead; and

4. San Francisco’s famous bicycle built for four. It almost stole the show. See?

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Program Director Andy Thornley with SF Weekly’s Matt Smith et ux, “quad” liberi, all together on a charming, fully-functioning bicycle. Click to expand:

IMG_7752 copy

So Bixi is just like the Parisian Velib program except the Bixi bikes aren’t as heavy, which is a good thing. But the Bixis are still heavy though. And if you happen to be six foot one and a ton of fun, you’ll find that the frame is strong enough but that the seatpost doesn’t go up high enough. Otherwise the whole program is as you would expect.   

The mise-en-scene today:

IMG_7741 copy 

In France, they incentivize people to drop the bikes off at the tops of hills. If a program like this ever gets off the ground in San Francisco, what would it take to deal with stations at the tops of our mini-mountains?

Bienvenue à Montréal!

IMG_7742 copy

It’s enormous work keeping a program like this going. The little monsters of France have effectively managed to steal, vandalize, and otherwise mangle the entire original fleet – at a replacement cost of thousands of dollars each, that’s a tough row to hoe.  

IMG_7732 copy

If you want to make a system like this work in San Francisco, you’d need  a subsidy from the government, the way that MUNI and BART and Golden Gate ferries get subsidies.

And where will people get the helmets they’ll need? Whoops. (In gay Paris, they take a c’est la vie approach to matters like this.)

All in all, I’d rather have a regular bike and a U-lock than a Bixi program membership. But if you can’t find a cab or you just missed your bus, you might like having the option of a short-term bike rental.

We’ll see.

 
City CarShare Cohosts Bike Sharing Demonstration.

Exploring New Trends in Green Mobility

WHAT:   A one-day opportunity for the public to ride bikes from a bike share system. Bike sharing allows people to pick up a bike from one station, travel to their destination and return the bike to any other station in a network. City CarShare will be conducting a survey among participants to get their feedback on the concept, the equipment and their level of support for bike sharing in San Francisco.
 
WHEN:   Sunday, August 2, 10 am- 3:30 pm
 
WHERE:   Golden Gate Park, (just inside the car-free Sunday road closure on JFK Drive at Conservatory Drive East)
 
WHY:   To allow the public to test-ride the bikes and learn more about this eco-friendly mode of urban transportation. Through this demonstration project, the sponsors hope to encourage awareness and increased civic conversation about Bike Sharing for San Francisco as having the potential to build a greener city while encouraging healthy living.
 
SPONSORS:   City CarShare, SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), BIXI (of Montreal)
 
COST   Free

The Vélibs are Coming, The Vélibs are Coming to San Francisco!

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Globetrotting San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced today in France that a Vélib’-style bike share program is coming to San Francisco. The plan is like ZipCar for bicycles - you could find a bike locked up in one of five areas around town, swipe your card, ride it to another bike lot, and then go about your bidness.

The French program has had its ups and downs. The little monsters of France (where “destroying property is a national pastime“) have found no end to what they can do to these built-to-last 50(!) pound bikes. In Paris, thousands of them have been lost and destroyed.

A satisfied Vélib’ customer in gay Paree. Cliquetez ici:

(¡Zoot alors! Their trash cans look just like ours!) via autsinevan

Who knows how this pilot program will work out here in San Francisco. Certainly, it will necessarily be different than what they have in Paris or Lyon. (The seven-mile trip between the CCSF Main Campus to the flat part of the Presidio – hoo boy, that’s a journey much longer than the typical Parisian jaunt, for example)

As they say in France, le bon Dieu est dans le detail.

 

  MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM ANNOUNCES SAN FRANCISCO BIKE SHARING PILOT PROGRAM
PARIS, FRANCE – Mayor Gavin Newsom today used his visit to the successful
bike sharing network in Paris to announce that San Francisco will implement
a bike sharing pilot program in 2009. San Francisco’s bike sharing program
is intended to build on the recognition of San Francisco as a gold-level
bicycle friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists-the largest
United States city to receive such an honor.
“Bike sharing will help connect thousands of residents and commuters to
their workplaces and shopping destinations by providing bikes that they can
easily borrow,” said Mayor Newsom. “This bike sharing pilot project will
allow us to test and perfect the bikes and technology that will be used in
our citywide network.”
The pilot program will include 50 bikes located at five stations on
non-city property (as required by a Court injunction until environmental
review of the City’s Bicycle Plan is complete). Each station will have
either nine or 12 bikes and will provide approximately 50 percent more
bicycle parking slots to help ensure proper distribution between available
bikes and open, available drop-off spots. The stations will be in the
Financial District, Mission Bay, the Presidio, Civic Center and the City
College campus.
Bike sharing customers will sign-up through an online registration system
linked to the website of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
(SFMTA), which manages the City’s Bicycle Program.  Registration will
require a valid credit card to charge an annual user fee, hourly fees, and
to provide security for lost bikes (which will be the responsibility of the
user). A subscription will provide members access to all rental stations
and the use of a bike for a limited period of time per day.
“We are committed to the vision of increasing bicycling in San Francisco
through innovative programs like bike sharing,” said SFMTA Executive
Director/CEO Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr.
According to the 2007 Census update, 2.7 percent of San Franciscans commute
via bicycle compared to an average of 0.5 percent in the United States and
0.9 percent in California.  The SFMTA’s 2007-2008 Bicycle Count found a 25
percent increase in bicycling over the previous year, and a 2008 survey
showed that fully 6 percent of all trips in San Francisco are made by
bicycle.
The start-up costs for the pilot program are estimated to be between
$400,000 and $500,000, while the annual operating costs are projected to be
$450,000.  As provided for in the SFMTA’s Transit Shelter Advertising
Contract with Clear Channel, these costs are for Clear Channel to staff the
pilot program and have responsibility for installation and maintenance.
Today in Paris, Mayor Newsom received a briefing on the history,
organization and success of the “Velib” or bicycle share program in Paris,
and toured the repair, design and showroom facilities along with the
research and development facility. The “Velib” program was introduced by
Mayor Bertrand Delanoe as a way to reduce traffic and environmental
degradation in Paris by having a shared bicycle program encompass the
entire city. Today Paris has over 20,000 bicycles as part of the “Velib”
program and it has proven to be very popular and successful.