Over the past five years, we have taken great strides to make San Francisco one of the friendliest cities for bicycling, and on August 29th we reached a significant milestone with the launch of Bay Area Bike Share.
This Bay Area pilot program was made possible by a multi-agency public partnership that made 700 bikes and 70 stations in the cities of San Francisco, Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Jose available to Bay Area residents and visitors. In 2014, this system will grow to 1,000 bikes and 100 stations regionally.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee launches Bay Area Bike Share Credit: MTC, Noah Berger
There is no better time for bike sharing in San Francisco and in the Bay Area at large. We have taken up the call for bike sharing at a point where we can apply the best practices learned from other bike sharing cities nationwide and take advantage of the progress made in bike sharing technology, leveraging state-of-the-art bikes and solar-powered bike stations.
Bike sharing programs have many positive impacts for cities. They deliver all the benefits of bicycling, such as reducing traffic congestion, improving public health and air quality, and generating new jobs. Bike share programs also partner well with transit to get residents and visitors from their transit stop to their final destination.
Moreover, bike sharing is a convenient, affordable and flexible transportation alternative that makes it easier to use a bike in a city by eliminating the need for storage and concerns about bike theft. It also introduces new audiences to the freedom and convenience of using bicycles for short trips.
The Bay Area Bike Share pilot will introduce more people to the joy of bicycling and it will help us continue our shared vision of a people-centered San Francisco. We will continue to make walking, bicycling, and public transportation viable and convenient transportation choices for our residents and visitors.
With San Francisco’s bike network having grown to 217 miles of bikeways and with the installation of more than 7,000 bike parking spaces citywide now available to the public, we are living up to our reputation as one of the most bike friendly cities in the world. In the past six years alone, we’ve seen bicycling increase 71 percent in San Francisco and today, there are an estimated 100,000 trips taken by bike daily.
This has been the year for bike sharing and such systems in New York City, Washington D.C., Boston, and Chicago are working incredibly well. Staying true to the Bay Area’s innovative spirit, we must continue our work to tailor and expand Bay Area Bike Share to meet the needs of our many residents and visitors who are looking for a fun, convenient, affordable and dynamic way of getting around the San Francisco Bay Area region.