New York City bike share program coming in Summer 2012

At last, an urban bike share program is coming to New York City, and planners are involving city residents through community workshops, bike demos, and an online map system for suggesting station locations.

Organized by the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) and Alta Bicycle Share, the program will be funded by private sponsorship and user fees. Though a fee schedule has not yet been released, organizers say that membership will cost less than a monthly public transportation Metrocard.

Coming off the success of networks like the Vélib in Paris and Capital Bikeshare in Washington DC, the New York City bike share program also hopes to capitalize on the popularity of alternative transportation methods among the city’s active and socially conscious communities. According to NYC DOT, commuter cycling more than doubled between 2005 and 2009, and it continues to grow each year. To cope with the demand, NYC DOT doubled the mileage of on-street bike lanes between 2007 and 2011. By 2017, they hope to triple it.

The new system will include more than 10,000 bikes at over 600 stations, and is part of a larger effort to make New York a more cycle-friendly city. The program is scheduled to kick off in Summer 2012.

In the meantime, check out this video celebrating the joys of New York City biking from my friends over at Holstee… and start shopping for a helmet.

[via NYC DOT, Flickr image via nycstreets]

Capital Bikeshare stations could be coming to the National Mall

Anyone who has ever visited the National Mall in Washington, D.C. knows just how congested with traffic the area can be at times. In addition to the usual day-to-day commuters, of which there are plenty, there are always a large number of tourists milling about as well. Travelers often make the pilgrimage to visit the Washington and Lincoln Monuments, along with the host of other attractions that make up the Mall, and frequent traffic snarls can be the result. Now, the National Park Service has come up with a novel plan to help alleviate some of that traffic however, proposing the addition of Capital Bikeshare Stations throughout the area.

The Capital Bikeshare program has become a popular one in Washington, where 110 stations, with 1100 bikes, are spread out across the city. The service offers membership rates of just $7 per day, with additional options of 3 days ($15), 30 days ($25), or a full year ($75). The stations are well placed to allow drivers to park their cars for the day and use a bike to commute from point to point as needed. Until now however, the stations haven’t been allowed on land that is managed by the Park Service, so their addition to the Mall would be a benefit to a new audience.

The NPS has proposed adding the stations to five locations throughout the Mall, providing easy access to the bikes at all times. Those locations would include the Smithsonian Metro Station, as well as the Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, and FDR/MLK Monuments. The Park Service proposal says that those locations were selected due to their proximity to popular destinations on the Mall, as well as their access to local bike trails and other forms of transportation like the Metro rail.

As of now, adding the bikeshare stations is not a done deal, and the NPS is seeking input from the public concerning the matter. Personally, I think it would make for a great inclusion to the National Mall, but others may not agree. You can let your opinion be known by leaving a comment here.