San Francisco's Bike Sharing Program Slow to Get Rolling

Environmental review processes and logistical issues are delaying the creation of a bike sharing program in San Francisco, announced in February by Mayor Gavin Newsom. Set to start with 50 bikes, some have criticized the program for aiming too low.

April 30, 2009, 2:00 PM PDT

By Nate Berg


"Immediately following the news release - sent after Newsom, on a sister-city trip to Paris, saw that city's successful bike-sharing network - the San Francisco Bicycle Commission and other bicycling advocacy groups decried the small scale of the initial launch. The Parisian Velib system, advocates noted, began with thousands of bicycles.

'We want to expand bike sharing as much as possible as quickly as possible given the legal constraints that we're under,' said Judson True of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. 'That (size of program) is what the different private entities involved felt that they could manage initially.'

Officials say that getting the program off the ground involves several logistical issues. The program would be funded by advertising - Clear Channel has expressed interest - and membership fees, meaning that private interests must be taken into account, as well as the actual demand for shared bicycles. Additionally, officials have limited space to build bicycle storage stations.

The city is also constrained by a 2006 court injunction that prohibits any further bicycle development on city property until an environmental review has been completed."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 in The Contra Costa Times

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