Los Angeles Announces Ambitious Bike Share Program

Nate Berg reports on the surprising news delivered on Sunday by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, timed to coincide with the latest iteration of CicLAvia, the city's marquee event for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Announced at the kick-off off of CicLAvia, the local version of the global phenomenon started in Bogota in which cities close their streets to vehicles, and in which an estimated 100,000 Angelenos participated this year, LA's bike share program will feature 4,000-bikes and 400-stations in a system that will be rolled out over two years, likely beginning in late 2012, reports Berg.

"Unlike systems in many other cities, L.A.'s bike sharing system will be implemented, operated and funded by a private company. It'll be the largest privately funded bike sharing system in the country, according to Navin Narang, founder of Bike Nation, the L.A.-based company that will be running the system." Bike Nation is a new player in the bike sharing business, which has been dominated by companies such as the Portland based Alta Bicycle Share and JCDecaux.

"For the city, having a private entity take the lead is a blessing, and a sign of hard budgetary times; the city has been thinking about starting a bike share program for years, but hasn't had the money. The $16 million project will be funded completely by Bike Nation, which is committing to at least 10 years of operation," notes Berg.

When completed, the system will be the second largest in the country, behind New York's 10,000-bike/600-station system launching this summer.

Full Story: Bike Sharing Is Coming to Los Angeles

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