Well, after a few delays, it looks like Chicago will finally roll out its bike share program some time in spring 2013, and we are hosting a meeting to suggest station locations. Will you join us?
First, let’s review some basics: Bike share is not the same thing as a bike rental company for tourists! No, it’s a transportation system for residents of the city, in which you take a bike from one station, ride it to your destination a mile or two away, and return it at another dock. Although you’ll get some exercise and fun during the process, the main purpose of the system is to provide people a way to get where they want to go, by giving them another choice in transportation.
Minneapolis already has a bike share system called "Nice Ride". (Photo by Flickr user afagen via CC.)
Other facts you should know:
- There will be 3,000 bikes placed at 300 stations in the first year.
- An annual membership will be $75 for a year, or $7 for a 24-hour pass. After you purchase a membership, the first 30 minutes of each use is free.
- You can keep a bike out longer than 30 minutes, but then you’ll be charged additional rates. The pricing is set so that it encourages short trips. Specifically, it encourages trips of 5 miles or less, because that’s approximately how far you can get on bike in 30 minutes in an urban area.
- The initial boundary for the program will be Montrose on the north, 41st Street on the south, the lake to the east and Damen to the west. All of Lincoln Park and neighboring areas are within the rollout boundary!
- Each station will have about 20 docks, with an ideal 10 bikes available for use, and 10 docks empty to receive returned bikes.
- Stations will be placed about 1/4 mile apart, so that within the bike share area, you won’t have to walk more than 1/8 of a mile (a 3 minute walk) to get to a bike share station, nor more than 1/8 of a mile to get to your destination after re-docking your bike.
- The bikes are designed to be comfortable for most users, with an upright riding position, easily adjustable seat, 3 speeds, fenders, and built-in lights that shine whenever you pedal (and remain lit for 90 seconds even when you don’t).
Right now, the Chicago Department of Transportation’s bike program is seeking input from citizens on where stations should be. Anyone can (and should!) input suggestions for individual locations on the city’s bike share website linked here.
There have been about 55 Lincoln Park locations suggested on the Chicago Bike Share website as of November 4, 2012. Is there one close to where you want to go?
Please join in by e-mailing me and BWLP Co-Chair Michael Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us you’re coming, and we’ll send you the final location details!
Questions? E-mail me or comment below.
We're on Twitter @BikeWalkLP