Currently viewing the tag: "Bicycle Sharing"

Here’s a quick recap of the salient points from these meetings.

April Meeting (PDF)

  • Miami Beach has a few roadway projects that are of interest to the Bikeways Committee, including Collins Park, 44 St, Bayshore area in Middle Beach, Dade Blvd and 51 St. These are all in various stages of development and for the most part behind behind schedule, if even started, with the exception of Collins Park (near 22 St and Dade Blvd) which has all the permits done. These items take up a sizable chunk of time at every meeting, rarely have any real updates to report, and I’ve yet to truly understand the relevancy of some of them to the overall health of bicycling in Miami Beach.
  • On the bike racks front, the city has hired a consultant to take care of all having to do with this, from identifying target locations to getting all the permits needed.
  • There is also a kerfuffle over some people (a commissioner included) wanting to reduce the width of Alton Rd down to 8 feet to appease some key residents, but this is beyond the scope of the Bikeways Committee at the moment.
  • I also inquired about the connection of the Oceanwalk promenade from 5th Street south to South Pointe Park, and I was told it was on track for construction later this year. This would create a continuous path from the Baywalk all around the SoFi area to South Pointe Park and then north to 23 St (I won’t count the Boardwalk because it discriminates against bicycles, skateboards and rollerskaters - bah).

May Meeting

  • No significant update on the roadway projects.
  • The Bayshore HOA wants to strip out all bike lanes in the neighborhood, as reduce the width of all roads, in order to “slow down traffic” as well as for “beautification.” This goes directly against the Bike Master Plan and is being opposed by various people in the city gov as well as by the Bikeways Committee. Next month there will be a Neighborhood Association meeting where this will come to a head. More info as I get it.
  • The consultants for the bike racks are in the process of being hired but it seems like this may actually be a good thing for the city. These consultants will be able to deal with all the aspects of putting the bike racks out there exclusively and if all goes to plan, in 4-6 months we should see around 100 new bike racks going up around the city, mostly in the South Beach area. Here’s hoping.
  • The bike share program for Miami Beach, handled by DecoBike, is on schedule for an August launch (site says July, but its August). Colby Reese (Owner? Pres?) of DecoBike updated the committee on all the city official wrangling that’s had to be done but which is finally on its final stages. The website is now open so drop by. I’ll write more about DecoBike later on.
  • It has become painfully clear that the Miami Beach Bicycle Master Plan needs to be revised. It is deficient in many ways, fails to address State-owned roads, and simply does not address the true needs of the city in terms of bicycle infrastructure vis-a-vis our specific geographic situation. It also fails to take advantage of all the recent developments in alternative transportation. When compared to the Miami Bicycle Master Plan, released just last year, the MB plan just doesn’t seem like it is  addressing cities separated only by a causeway. This isn’t an easy task, so expect more info about this in months to come.
  • Lastly, it is possible we may get some indoor bicycle parking space at the Lincoln Rd Cinema multi-level parking. I brought this up on the April meeting, how there was a space that was totally unused and could serve perfectly as an indoor bike parking area, and Gabrielle Redfern ran with it. She remembered some information that led to the possibility of this happening. Cross your fingers! I’ll also write specifically about this once I get some info I requested.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 2:00 PM. Be there!

If you haven’t heard, Denver launched their B-Cycle Bicycle Sharing program last week, on Earth Day. They have about 400 bicycles at 40 stations around the city. It would be great to get something like that down this way, right?

Turns out South Florida is not far behind. This morning a selection commitee met to rank companies to implement a bicycle sharing program for Broward County. B-Cycle, a partnership between Trek Bicycles and Humana, got the top ranking. Their proposal is to provide at least 200 bicycles with 18 stations in downtowns, beaches, and transit hubs in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood Beach, and Pompano Beach areas. The system could grow to potentially 575 bicycles with 52 stations in five years. The contract still needs to be negotiated and approved, but this project is exciting for the future of bicycling in this area. B-Cycle hopes to get a system installed within six months of signing a contract, so if we keep our fingers crossed we might have a bicycle sharing program in place by the end of this year. Hit up the gallery for B-Cycle’s renderings of potential bicycle sharing at key locations.

Tagged with:
 

The momentum continues. Bike Miami Days proved, yet again, that the car free event is the real deal. With virtually no media coverage or marketing budget, this grassroots movement attracted an estimated 2000 people on Sunday. The streets were filled with bicyclists, pedestrians, skaters and rollerbladers of all ages and backgrounds.

Sources close to Transit Miami have informed us that Waste Services Inc., the lead sponsor of the event, was so impressed that they are considering sponsoring another Bike Miami Days. We must also thank the Miami DDA and the Florida Bicycle Association for their support.  Please let your commissioners know how great this event is.  You can find a link to your commissioner above.

We leave you with some pictures from the event. The Miami Herald also covered the event and you can find pictures here.

PA040140PA040132PA040141

A month ago or so I had the opportunity to visit Dublin an old city that in recent years has reinvented itself as a modern, cosmopolitan metropolis. While I didn’t have the opportunity explore the country by rail (somewhat thankfully considering that a bridge collapsed the week after my visit) I was able to experience Dublin’s new transport system. Some highlights are presented below.

LUAS Red Line

LUAS Red Line

Ireland, like the United States, once boasted a relatively complete rail network. Today, Ireland national rail network is about 1/3 the size it was in its peak in the 1920’s. Like many US cities, Dublin once boasted an extensive tram network, with over 30 routes along 60+ miles of track. The fully electrified system, one of the largest in the world, was dismantled and fully replaced by bus service by 1949. The map below depicts Dublin’s tram system at its peak in 1922.

Dublin Tram Network (c. 1922) - Via Wikipedia

Today, Dublin features five suburban rail lines, the most famous of which has been branded the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit), and operates with near Metro-like frequency (15-20 minutes off peak.) The first light-rail/Tram line of the system dubbed LUAS, opened in June 2004, providing local service from St. Stephen’s Green to Sandyford (10km). In September of 2004 the second LUAS line, the red line, commenced operation linking Connolly Station to central Tallaght, a 15km route. The two lines operate independent of each other and feature minimal intermodal connectivity with the suburban rail. As such, the tram system still garners 90,000 daily riders while DART attracts approximately 80,000 more.

LUAS Green Line at St. Stephen's Green

LUAS Green Line at St. Stephen's Green

It’s important to note that Dublin’s Transport system is privately operated and fully profitable. The city’s former growth, dense and mixed use, is well suited for public transportation. Meanwhile, the city is working to curb sprawl and the destructive growth that has taken place since the dismantling of the tram network. Highlighted below are some of the new municipal planning initiatives that have been undertaken to revive Dublin. You’ll notice that much of the work is oriented towards reclaiming street space by curtailing the vehicular environment.

Traffic Calming Measures

Traffic Calming Measures

Above, notice the traffic calming measures implemented along this street. The use of chicanes lowers vehicular speeds in pedestrian areas. A truncated street serves dual purposes, opening up street space for pedestrians and as a loading zone in the early morning hours. The painted pavement (under the delivery truck) serves as a reminder to motorists of the pedestrian zone.

Dublin's Temple Bar Neighborhood

Dublin's Temple Bar Neighborhood

Above, a perfect example of how traffic flow should be restricted by truncating streets to divert traffic from a popular pedestrian thoroughfare. The end benefits are twofold: Traffic is slowed in pedestrian spaces and public space are established in neighborhoods without vacant land on which to work with.

A typical Main Avenue

A typical Main Avenue

A typical  avenue in Dublin allots tight space to a number of modes. Dublin’s extensive bus network operates largely along a dedicated bus lane system throughout the city center. While the sidewalk space is narrower than what would be ideal, bollards are utilized to protect pedestrians from motorized activity.

Cyclists at St. Stephen's Green

Cyclists at St. Stephen's Green

Dublin's New Bicycle Sharing Service

Dublin's New Bicycle Sharing Service

Slated to open this month, I was able to get a “sneak peak” at many of the new bicycle sharing facilities popping up all over the city. The city already has a decent bicycle lane network a requisite compliment for any sharing system.

Dublin's Black Gold

Dublin's Black Gold

Tagged with:
 

Get comfortable with riding in the road - it’s your right!

The Bike Miami Days Team invites you to a free bike ride through MiMo, Little Haiti & the Upper Eastside this Sunday to becoming safer, better, more confident city cyclists. No registration is required and it is completely free.

Officers from the City of Miami Police Department Bicycle Unit, will be on hand to teach you the basics of riding safe in the road so that you can confidently commute and run errands on your bicycle.

The day will start with an “A-B-C Quick Check”(Air, Brakes and Chain). You’ll learn how to fit your bicycle helmet for optimum safety. You will also learn the basic Rules, Rights and Responsibilities of Cyclists and Motorists before heading out for a short ride – just under 2 hours long. The ride will stop for water and bathroom breaks and learning opportunities as you’ll explore Miami’s Historic Upper Eastside neighborhoods. At the end of the ride, you’re invited to join the City of Miami Bicycle Coordinator, Collin Worth, and other volunteers for lunch. Destination to be determined.

Date: Sunday September 27, 2009

Time: 8:30am-11:15am

Where Upper Eastside City of Miami Net Office

6599 Biscayne Blvd View Map

Need More Info?

305-416-1022

cworth@miamigov.com

http://bikemiamiblog.wordpress.com/bikemiamirides/

Miami Beach is already a relatively bicycle-friendly city. It’s dense urban pattern, limited geographic area, mixture of uses, and many well-scaled streets —  prerequisites for urban bicycling — certainly give it a leg up on all other South Florida municipalities.

However, these qualities alone do not a great bicycle city make.

As demonstrated in cities like Portland, Davis and Boulder — the platinum standard in this country — a well-connected, easily identifiable network of bicycle infrastructure must be put in place if any city is to meet latent demands. Otherwise, as a mode of transportation,  bicycling will achieve only a fraction of its potential. It seems this lesson is starting to take hold in Miami Beach, which I believe has the potential to surpass the previously mentioned cities as America’s most bicycle-friendly (I’ll explain how in a future article).

New bicycle racks are being installed on Alton Road.

Within the past few years the city has striped bicycle lanes on portions of 16th Street, Prairie Avenue, the Venetian Causeway, Royal Palm Avenue, and 47th Street.  Attractive and recognizable bicycle racks continue to be installed along the city’s commercial corridors, including Alton Road, Lincoln Road, and Washington Avenue. Additionally, attractive way-finding signs have been installed which help bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists alike navigate their way efficiently around the Beach.

Yet, according to the latest edition of Miami Beach Magazine, a quarterly publication distributed to all MB residents,  a bonanza of additional bicycle improvements are on the way.

Alton Road, South Pointe Drive, Ocean Drive, and West Avenue are all slated for new bicycle lanes. Additionally, a new “bike path” (not sure if they actually mean lane here) will appear on Dade Boulevard, and hundreds of new racks will continue to be installed along the city’s main corridors and eventually within the neighborhoods. And finally, as we reported earlier this month, a 500 bicycle-sharing system may be implemented as soon as this fall. With the glut of tourists who arrive in Miami Beach every week, and only one other American city with such an amenity, this project may be the most transformative.

Many of the above projects are still in the design stage, and the article did not include a timetable for their completion. Given that I am still waiting for the pilot “sharrows” to be painted along Washington Avenue, I will not hold my breath.

Regardless, these long overdue projects will certainly enhance mobility, but most importantly improve accessibility to points and destinations all over Miami Beach. Ultimately, it will also further the city’s reputation as one committed to sustainable transportation.

Tagged with:
 

A few months ago we realized Miami was missing out on the benefits of car sharing and asked, “Dude where’s my Zipcar?” As proponents of this easy car sharing program we were disappointed to see that it wasn’t more widely used in our region, although Miami Beach and the University of Miami recently became proponents of this useful transit tool. Students are a great place to start introducing the benefits of car sharing, as Zipcar is inexpensive and accessible to people on limited budgets. I wonder when our other local universities, self-proclaimed centers of research and academic excellence, will adopt similar programs.

Zipcar, and other similar car sharing programs are seeking to expand their efficiency in urban settings with a new wave of vehicles called the CityCar. A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab has recently experimented with small electric motors located in the wheels of this tiny, nimble and practically silent vehicle. The CityCar has wheels that turn 360 degrees, enabling it to slip neatly into tight urban parking spaces. A Smartcar that is designed to stack like a supermarket cart when not in use, the CityCar is aptly named because its unique maneuvering ability will allow parking in front of subway stations and office buildings, where people could squeeze in as needed for short-term use.

So, dude where’s my CityCar?

 

Bicycles in Denver for the DNC

Bicycles in Denver for the Democratic National Convention

Bike sharing is alive in the U.S.! At the Democratic National Convention in Denver and the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Freewheelin is running a bicycle sharing program. Humana (a health insurance company—can you guess why they support people riding bicycles?) and Bikes Belong have partnered to put these bike sharing programs together. They seem to be catering to the delegates attending the convention with bicycle stations placed near the convention hotels, but the program will go on after the conventions end. See an article at Forbes.com for more info on the program.

So far, it looks like they had good success in Denver. They surpassed their mileage goal of 25,000 miles by logging 26,493 miles with 5,552 rides. That puts them well on track to meet their combined ridership goal of 10,000 riders by the end of the Republican National Convention. It will be interesting to compare the ridership between the two conventions to see if one party is more willing to participate in a bike-sharing program.

The good news for residents of Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul is that Freewheelin is leaving the cities some of their bikes as a pilot bike sharing program after the conventions end. It will be in the cities’ hands now as to what they do with it, but we can only hope for the best.

Now we just need to host a political convention in Miami or Fort Lauderdale to kick start a bike sharing program down here. Dave Barry thinks the bikes would get stolen down here, but it looks to me like Freewheelin has a pretty well-planned sharing program. If we can’t get them to come down here, at least we can learn from their example.

Photo by Flickr user kitseeborg.

As some of you might know, Mike and I serve advisory roles in Miami’s newly created Bicycle Action Committee (BAC).  The BAC is working on drafting a city of Miami Bicycle Master plan and is looking for any input our citizens wish to provide.  You can download this city map, draw on it, and send back your ideas to us (movemiami@gmail.com) for committee review.  You can also leave us comments or email us lists of potential bicycle routes, needed improvements, or any other suggestions.  Here is your chance to shape a masterplan which will guide all bicycle related planning for years to come.  I’m currently working on my version, which I will publish when complete and will finally get around to creating the Bicycle Rental plan I suggested to Alesh a while ago…

To all our regular readers, the message below is a direct response to the recent criticisms presented by local blog Critical Miami:

We are not anti-car zealots, we strongly believe that the key to creating a sustainable community is a multi-modal transportation policy rather than the uni-modalism that currently overwhelms Miami-Dade. It appears that in the eyes of some, Transit Miami has lost its focus, becoming too obsessed with creating a city that is designed and navigable to humans, rather than the voluminous heaps of metal we all wander around in.

A Message from the Publisher

I started Transit Miami for one reason: because I care about my community. The way I see it, Miami has a potential that no other city does, a vibrancy no other community could dream of achieving. Sadly, in my 22 years of living here, I have witnessed nothing more than its potential crumble, eroded away in congestion, corrupt politics, and square mile after square mile of inauspicious development. In my travels abroad, to Paris, London, San Francisco, Vienna, and New York, among other places, I experienced the nature of true global cities and came back longing for the same characteristics that make those cities successful. Regarding thriving, diverse economies, unparalleled educational opportunities, a pulsating cultural scene, etc, it is often difficult to understand how all of the qualities* we want for our city are tied deeply to the urbanism which defines our landscapes.

After all, we find it alarming that on average Miamians spend 30% of their income on Transportation needs, don’t you? There is a better way to live.
-Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal

Clarity on the Issues

While we appreciate Critical Miami’s kudos and acknowledge their own fine work over the last few years, we definitely feel that it is their site that is out of touch with reality in this case. Perhaps Critical Miami is baffled because they are not likely educated on best practices in contemporary urban planning. Frankly, we find it contradictory that a site that calls for “holding the line” so adamantly would be so misunderstanding when it comes to better land-use policy.

To be clear, Transit Miami never stated that worsening driving conditions was the best way to improve transit. In fact, we stated the opposite, “Additional parking will increase congestion…” The developer, not Transit Miami, originally proposed the position of hampering a vehicle’s ability to access the EWT development. We supported his decision and original plans to reduce parking capacity at EWT due to the direct links his structure would have with the adjacent Metromover structure (just as we supported reductions in parking at the Coconut Grove Metrorail Transit-Oriented Development) and never once suggested making driving more difficult, only parking.

Critical Miami mentions several times that “making driving more difficult” is political suicide and is essentially foolish. What about traffic-calming? Wouldn’t Critical Miami agree that traffic calming makes streets safer and livable for everyone, perhaps at the expense of a little speed for the motorist? If you support traffic calming in any capacity, it makes your statements about making driving appear paradoxical.

The interesting part is, we aren’t even advocating for anything drastic. For example, we promote the Miami Streetcar project, which calls for constructing a streetcar line through one of the densest and fastest-growing urban corridors in the state. This is not very drastic at all, especially in a city with a woefully underdeveloped mass transit system and sizable low-income population. We promote decreases in minimum parking standards. This is not so radical either since it reduces the overall development cost, making housing more affordable. There is a sizable body of scholarly literature available that correlates the underlying message of our letter: increasing parking capacity increases driving demand like dangling a carrot for cars.

Sustainability, Miami’s Growing Problem

Miami-Dade County, as it currently stands, is one of the most unsustainable metros in America. You can analyze this from a variety of angles, but you will always end up reaching the same conclusion: our actions will have devastating economical, environmental, and social costs if we do not change. If you want to look at it from a mobility/accessibility/congestion standpoint, Miami is incredibly unsustainable under a current unimodal paradigm and without change, it will become a less and less viable place to live and conduct business. Traffic congestion and VMTs (vehicle miles traveled) are expected to increase significantly between now and 2025. Contrary to what Critical Miami and most Americans believe, it simply is not economically or spatially feasible to build your way out of congestion (i.e. build more highways/widen roads.)

This means two things: in order to be more sustainable from a transportation perspective we must improve and expand our transit capacity and we must improve our accessibility. The transit component is straight forward enough. However, continuing the auto-centric status quo gives the illusion that we do not have to change our transportation habits and there will always be some fix or policy to make things better for driving. This could not be further from the truth and is flat out irresponsible. This is why we are against excessive minimum parking requirements, because it is like mandating more beer for an alcoholic.

Regarding the second component, accessibility, this means changing our zoning to allow mixed land uses and creating higher densities. This will enable people to travel shorter distances for their employment, retail, commercial, recreational, and residential purposes (if they so chose.)

Note: the goal of changing our land use policy is to enable people to have a choice when it comes to personal mobility, where walking or driving can be considered equal alternatives. This is a fundamental component of transportation equity.

This increases the viability of walking and cycling, which incidentally is the cheapest way to get around. However, if you continue down the auto-centric policy paradigm, you are not facilitating the type of conditions that make walking, cycling, transit, and higher density a formidable option.

Transit Miami’s Global Comparisons

Regarding the division between the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County, of course it is the county that operates the local transit agency. This is likely the root of many of the problems we will face in this region over the coming decades; our inability to work together due to the multiple bureaucratic layers we have created because of perceived political injustices. This fragmented landscape of local municipalities will only serve a divisive role when it comes to regional planning initiatives.

Ryan never said or even implied that Miami was going to have a transit system like Montreal’s – he simply implied that Montreal had a quality transit system and that Miami should strive to improve theirs in order to achieve a higher transit standard and all the external benefits that go along with it. That is tough to misconstrue. In addition, he never mentioned or even remotely implied that Miami needed to “grow a mountain” to have a grand urban park. That is very clear for anyone reading that section, and it seems to me that either you grossly misread it or cherry picked that part and took it out of context to support your own point.

Transit Miami often uses global comparisons to drive home points visually to our readers on the effects of better public transit and land-use policy in other cities.

Bicycle as a means of Transportation, not just a Vacation

We don’t recall any sort of official “challenge,” however Critical Miami is unequivocally wrong about their assertion that such a program cannot work anywhere in Miami. Just because Critical Miami is a bike enthusiast doesn’t mean you understand how bicycling systems operate or can function in an urban setting. South Beach offers the perfect place for a pilot program, at a minimum. Transit Miami is in the process of working closely with our local agencies to see such a plan come to fruition, we invite Critical Miami to attend any of the local Bicycle Action Committees to air their sentiments.

Regarding Critical Miami’s comments about it taking generations to enact the type of changes we advocate, this has been proven otherwise. Enrique Penalosa, the former Mayor of Bogota, Colombia, created a thriving bicycle network in his city and within just five years captured 5% of the daily transportation needs. It just so happens that Mr. Penalosa was recently in Miami, meeting with Miami officials to discuss their plans to create a bicycle network in this city, a meeting that this blogger was privileged enough to attend. Looking beyond bicycles, formerly auto-centric cities like Perth, Australia, with guidance from visionaries like Peter Newman, have transformed into legitimate multi-modal communities in just 20 years or so, which is well within the time frame of the county’s current Long Term Plan and the City of Miami’s Comprehensive Neighborhood Development Plan.

The fact of the matter is that changes occur when the funding (and mentality) is there in support. Sure, cities evolve and mature and most changes do not occur overnight, but the mentality Critical Miami presents falls in line with the mentality that has accomplished nothing in Miami over the past several decades.

-This article represents the views of the entire Transit Miami Staff…

I had the opportunity recently to sit down an speak with Miami Beach Chief of Staff AC Weinstein, who on Mayor Bowers’ behalf, was kind enough to answer some critical questions for us on the future of Miami Beach. I’ll post the questions/Answers below and follow up with some commentary tomorrow:

TM: The greater Miami area is awash with development, cranes, and construction, a sign of prosperous economic times, without permitting overdevelopment in Miami Beach, what will you do to continue to ensure the economic vitality of one of our strongest engines?

AC: All the development in Miami Beach does not ensure economic vitality; rather the economic vitality will continue to be the proper balance of reasonable development and respect for our residential neighborhoods. Overdevelopment does not ensure economic vitality of Miami Beach.

Referendum questions in height variance above 3 feet must go to the voters.

TM: Recent studies conducted by various planning experts suggests that Miami Beach will be ready (from a congestion standpoint) for an effective public transportation system around 2011. What is your position on improving public transportation on Miami Beach, particularly concerning the Baylink proposal? If you are against the proposal, please share your concerns, reservations, and alternative plans you suggest.

AC: MPO committee member informed the subcommittee will not see baylink in our lifetime. The Mayor has always leaned against the baylink system, because residents want to remove overhead wires. The shuttle buses are more compatible with our historic city and are more reliable than streetcars. The city recently completed a Washington Avenue Streetscape and would not want to tear up the roadway to install tracks.

TM: The environment has become a hot topic both locally and across America. This issue is obviously a concern to Miami Beach due to the possibility of rising seas, extensive beach erosion, and loss of vital fish habitat. What plans do you have to push Miami Beach in a more ecologically friendly direction? (I am specifically referencing LEED certification, reduced vehicle demand, and water conservation.)

AC: The Mayors office has created a green committee to specifically research this issue and looks forward to the recommendations of this committee.

TM: Given the fact that approximately 50% of Miami Beach residents do not rely on a vehicle as a primary means of transportation, what improvements can you foresee evolving to make the city more hospitable to pedestrians and cyclists?

AC: The Mayor has established a Bikeway committee to address this question and with commission approval new bike lanes and greenways will be moving forward. Greenway could be possible along Indian Creek, however, we need ROW from property owners.

TM: How do you feel about a Bicycle sharing program similar to the Velib recently installed in Paris

AC: It is an interesting program that I think would work well with our city. New construction will be required to include bicycle racks.

Local:

  • Pedestrians don’t belong on 1-95…
  • Yet another person dies trying to bypass a Tri-Rail railroad crossing…
  • Buy local produce! It’s a key part of creating a sustainable society, a great way to keep money in the local economy, and an effective measure to reduce pollution (less overseas and transcontinental shipments…)
  • Get ready for strict water restrictions next year and pretty much every year after that. Anyone else think that perhaps the County should mandate the installation of water saving devices (such as technology which reuses sink greywater for toilet use) for all new construction?

Elsewhere:

  • The return of Urban Parks. Finally!
  • After they created the largest bike sharing network (note the absence of the popular word scheme, its a network, not a ploy) in the world and reintroduced streetcars to their urban landscape; Parisians are now getting ready to embrace electric car sharing service
  • Collapse of the housing market signals the end of suburban sprawl? James Howard Kunstler thinks so
  • Bike Boxes, what a novel concept to show drivers they aren’t the only ones on the road. Dual bike lanes and Bike Boxes in NYC are even more progressive…

Paris:Barcelona:San Francisco:Oslo:Kyoto:
Vienna:

Tagged with:
 
Paris has finally unveiled its highly anticipated bicycle sharing program, sending a global message that it’s serious about reducing emissions and embracing sustainable urban transportation. Over 10,000 bikes are now available for rent at over 750 stations, with plans to double the fleet to 20,000 by years end.
Dubbed “Velib” (a play on words - Velo = bike & liberte = freedom), the system works like this:

A local or tourist who is interested in renting a bike goes to a high-tech docking station, swipes a credit or debit card at a meter (translated into eight languages), and a bike is yours for a nominal fee. A one-day pass costs only 1 Euro ($1.38), a weekly pass 5 Euros ($6.90), and a yearly pass only 29 Euros ($40.00). There are no surcharges, taxes, or other fees, so long as the bike is returned within 30 minutes. Over 30 minutes, you would be charged an incremental “late fee”, which is designed to facilitate high turnover and ensure that bikes will be available for rent at each station. If you want to take out another bike after 30 minutes, go right ahead - for convenience, bikes can be returned to any of the docking stations, which are located an average of only 300 yards apart.

“This is about revolutionizing urban culture…for a long time cars were associated with freedom of movement and flexibility. What we want to show people is that in many ways bicycles fulfill this role much more today.”

~ Pierre Aidenbaum, Mayor of Paris’s Third District

According to the New York Times, early indications point toward success for Velib. Even before a single docking station was open, some 13,000 people had already purchased yearly subscriptions online.

Paris is definitely moving in the right direction. Bicycle-sharing on this scale is absolutely one of the most important urban planning developments to come along in sometime. There’s no reason why Miami can’t follow Paris’ lead.

In fact, I challenge the City of Miami Beach, which I believe to be the most appropriate place for bike-sharing in South Florida, to strongly consider implementing its own version of Velib. It has the density and compactness that will allow this sort of program to thrive. It would be great for tourists, who no longer would feel obliged to rent cars. It would be great for locals, whom besides benefiting directly from the service, would benefit tremendously from fewer cars and VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled) in their communities. It’s even more logical when you consider that Miami Beach lacks (unfathomably) quality transit.

Once the program manifests success on the beach, it could set a precedent for cycling/transportation policy elsewhere in Greater Miami. I mean, after all, Miami should be a national (and global) leader in cycling, given its phenomenal assets - climate and ecology.

The little improvements are nice, but it’s time to step up and create cycling initiatives that will revolutionize urban transportation in Miami and South Florida.

Photos courtesy of Le Fil’s & austinevan’s flickr accounts

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez has concluded his nationwide search for a venerable replacement for Roosevelt Bradley by selecting none other than interim director Harpal Kapoor. Harpal Kapoor, who first began working for MDT in 1985, was appointed by Bradly in 2006 as the deputy director of operations.

Although I wished that Alvarez had tapped an outside source to lead the agency, I sincerely hope that Kapoor can begin steer (pun intended) the agency in the right direction. MDT is in dire need of some proper guidance to end the squandering of PTP money which has occurred for the past five years. I have composed a short list of issues we would like to see MDT take up over the next few beginning months of Kapoor’s Tenure (not including the obvious expansion of transit options):
  • Expansion and Improvement of TOD- Transit Oriented Development is critical in such an auto-centric city such as Miami. By placing a greater developmental emphasis on our existing transit line and actively expanding the amenities within easy walking distance of existing stations, our area transit will become more accessible to a greater portion of our population. It is imperative that MDT works together with surrounding developments to ensure safe, easy pedestrian access as well as higher density multi-use projects.
  • System wide Farecards- MDT has to modernize our transit system- Quick. Token machines are outdated and the cash system is primitive. Users must be able to quickly and easily purchase flexible farecards at convenient locations using credit cards. Farecards should be integrated with the surrounding tri-county area transit systems and should facilitate the use of transit for locals, not just visitors.
  • GPS Integration- MDT is currently working to install a system along metrorail which would provide users with upcoming train statuses and times. We need to move this technology along to every station platform, major bus transfer station, and most heavily used bus stops. Nearly every London Municipal stand alerts passengers of the wait time for the next bus, why can’t we? Plus, the new system would allow users to track transit using mobile or hand held devices.
  • Car/Bicycle Sharing Program- This should certainly be higher on the list. We can’t expect citizens to fully abandon car use, that’s unreasonable and absurd. Therefore a reliable and reasonable car sharing program such as Flexcar should be sought to partner with MDT to provide service to the greater Miami area. Flexcar could park cars at every Metrorail station or major transfer facility providing more flexibility for Miami residents. The car program would allow residents who can solely rely on public transit for daily needs to do so, but will provide them with flexibility of regular car use (without the burden of ownership, of course.) A bike rental/sharing program could similarly be instituted along every station, allowing resident and tourist rental of bicycles from electronic stands. The idea here being that MDT needs to expand from a system of buses and trains, it should encompass all forms of local transit. Bike rental facilities could one day be found along the river walk, Museum Park, or Midtown, giving residents greater choices of mobility…
  • Better Transit Facilities/Amenities- Take a ride along the NYC, Boston, or any other major cities subway system and each station will feature a newsstand, coffee shop, or lunch stand. MDT’s stations are barren and hostile by comparison. NYC is currently working on a citywide plan to update and standardize all newsstands and public toilets. MDT needs to work to bring such amenities to our local users. Some cities even feature buses and trains which display news, weather, and transit updates to users on televisions…
Kapoor has suddenly adopted the enormous responsibility of managing the 14th largest transit system in the country. We hope that the enthusiasm and energy he has displayed thus far to Burgess continues and continues to propel our blighted transit agency in new directions. Transit Miami looks forward to working with Mr. Kapoor to provide him with an outside point of view and to continue to spread the voice of transit in Miami-Dade County…

This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.