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July 8, 2012

Does bike-sharing cause conflicts?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Roger @ 12:36 pm

A story posted Friday at USA Today suggests that bike-sharing programs in large cities contribute to conflicts among cyclists, motorists and pedestrians.

Officials in some cities with bike-sharing programs say the influx of new bikers — including many tourists and first-time riders unaccustomed to local traffic patterns — can lead to accidents and other problems. For example,  Lt. Nicholas Breul of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., says:

“There is a conflict.The motorists want to be able to drive down the road, the bicyclists want to be safe and the pedestrians want to be able to cross the street. Everyone’s complaining about the behavior of everyone else.”

Cyclists contend there still are drivers who harass them, while motorists complain cyclists don’t always ride in a predictable and safe manner.

USA Today posted the story in anticipation of the launch later this month of Citi Bike, New York City’s ambitious bike-sharing program. Citi Bike eventually will consist of 600 stations and 10,000 bikes in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. It will be sponsored by Citi and MasterCard and operated by NYC Bike Share LLC, with no public money.

Like other bike-sharing program, Citi Bike is intended for short trips. The first 30 minutes (45 minutes for annual members) are free, but there are sizable fees for overtime. For example, someone with a daily pass or weekly pass who keeps a bike out 90 minutes to an hour will face a $25 overtime fee. A daily pass costs $9.95, a weekly pass is $25, and a annual membership costs $95.

The bike-sharing program in Kansas City, Mo., Kansas City B-cycle, launched last week. Jeneé Osterheldt, a writer for The Kansas City Star, checked it out and offered her thoughts about it in a column last week.

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April 21, 2011

St. Louis Downtown Bicycle Station ready to go

Filed under: bicycling,Missouri — Tags: , — Roger @ 12:17 am

If you’re thinking about riding your bike to work in downtown St. Louis, there’s good news for you.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Downtown Bicycle Station opens today. Today’s opening is being termed a “soft opening,” and the grand opening is set for April 28, which is when the Urban Shark bicycle shop will open at the station.

The station will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today. From April 28 on, the station will be open from 4 a.m. to midnight.

The station will have 120 bicycle racks, showers and lockers. Users will need a key card to enter the station. Memberships cost $150 for a year, $20 for a month and $5 for day passes. Sign up before the grand opening and get an extra month free and the $20 application fee will be waived.

You can become a member by clicking here, and get FAQs about the station here.

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December 10, 2010

Downtown St. Louis Bicycle Station needs your help

Filed under: Missouri — Tags: , — Roger @ 2:46 am

On Dec. 1, the Downtown St. Louis Community Improvement District began its effort to get $50,000 through the Pepsi Refresh Project for the new Downtown Bicycle Station in St. Louis.

As of this morning, the project is in 89th place. That doesn’t bode well because only the top 10 vote-getters will get grants.

That means that supporters of the Downtown Bicycle Station need to get moving to have any hope of getting the money for the project. The deadline is Dec. 31.

The district already has obtained grants to create the station at the 411 Building and 10th and Locust streets in St. Louis. The station will have lockers and showers available for commuters, and the building also will house Trailnet’s offices and the Urban Shark bicycle shop, an offshoot of the Big Shark Bicycle Co.

The district is seeking money for the following:

  • Advance an aggressive marketing and awareness campaign about the benefits of bicycling to work.
  • Promote the Downtown Bicycle Station with 25 bicycle giveaway packages and 50 free 1-year Bicycle Station memberships.
  • Develop collateral to market the new Downtown Bicycle Station.
  • Install an informational kiosk for prospective members.
  • Make the Downtown Bicycle Station welcome with a “bright, hip mural” on the exterior alley wall of the facility and post signs to introduce the Downtown Bicycle Station to St. Louis and the world.

You can vote for the project by clicking on the widget below. You also text 104458 to Pepsi (73774) to cast your vote.

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October 11, 2010

Is downtown St. Louis becoming Bike Central?

Filed under: bicycling,Missouri — Tags: , , — Roger @ 1:28 pm

The pieces are falling into place for the 411 Building in downtown St. Louis to become the region’s hub for bicycling.

Last month, the city announced the building at 10th and Locust streets will be the home of the Downtown Bike Station, a 1,450-square -foot facility offering secure 24-hour access and featuring more than 100 bike racks, showers and locker rooms.

Word recently filtered out that  the Downtown Bicycle Station will be next to a new 3,50-square-foot Urban Shark bike shop that will offer bike equipment, repairs and bike rentals. Urban Shark will be Big Shark Bicycle Co’s second bike shop in the city of St. Louis, the other being in the Delmar Loop.

Today, Trailnet announced that it will be relocating its 20 employees to the 411 Building and will occupy approximately 4,500 square feet of space. Trailnet is a nonprofit agency that promotes walking and bicycling. Trailnet is best known for its well-attended group rides, and its likely acquisition of the St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation will solidify its spot as the dominant bicycling organization in St. Louis.

“We are thrilled about the increased number of cyclists in the area and the role our work has played in making the region more bicycle and pedestrian friendly,” Trailnet Executive Director Ann Mack said in a press release. “The synergies of this partnership will place St. Louis among those cities recognized for a commitment to healthier transportation choices.”

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay appears excited about the Downtown Bicycle Station.

“St. Louis is a bike friendly city,” Slay said in the press rel;ease. ” We’re pretty much flat, which is great for the bike lanes we have been painting on our roads. And we have some big parks, which is good for the bike trails we have been building. The new Downtown Bicycle Station will be a great new amenity, serving both bike commuters and the people who sit next to them.”

The Partnership for Downtown St. Louis is serving as the catalyst for the Downtown Bike Station. Money from the city and U.S. Department of Energy is making the station a reality.

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September 8, 2010

St. Louis to get commuter bike center

Filed under: bicycling,Missouri — Tags: , — Roger @ 11:06 am

St. Louis is about to become a bit more bicycle-friendly.

A new public commuter bike center is set to open this fall in the LoftWorks building at 1011 Locust St. in downtown St. Louis. Bicyclists will be able to park their bikes in the building, as well as grab a shower and store their gear in lockers.

Eventually, creators of the center hope it will include a coffee bar and a bike repair shop.

LoftWorks’ Craig Heller will be coordinating construction, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, using $181,600 from a Department of Energy stimulus-fund community block grant to buy lockers, install interior bike racks and fund two years of operations. The Downtown Community Improvement District and other partners will provide additional money.

Historic tax credits already have been used to restore the building.

“We are building a city that provides an attractive way of life. After World War II, the car was a symbol of freedom. For some people today, it is just the opposite,” St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said in a statement.

Last year, the League of American Bicyclists named St. Louis a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community. The commuter center is an effort to improve that image.

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August 1, 2010

Bike sharing comes to Chicago

Filed under: bicycling — Tags: , — Roger @ 12:56 am

The other night, I was so fascinated by London’s new bike-share program, I overlooked a similar program that also began Friday much closer to home.

Chicago’s bike-share program, operated by  Chicago B-cycle and Bike and Roll Chicago, launched with 100 bicycles at six B-stations around the city, offering a green alternative to cars for short commutes and errands. The bikes will be available through October and will resume in spring 2011. Locations include McCormick Place, Museum Campus, Buckingham Fountain, the Chicago Park District Administrative Offices, Daley Plaza and the John Hancock Center.

“Chicago has a national reputation as one of the best large cities in the United States for bicycling. We’ve been working for many years to lessen traffic by offering alternatives to using the automobile.” Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said in a press release. “ I want to thank Bike Chicago and Trek Bicycles for their hard work in putting together this ‘B-cycle’ project. My goal is to make Chicago the most bicycle-friendly city in the United States.”

B-cycle is based on a shared belief that bicycles should be a vehicle for positive health and environmental change as well as an important part of a community’s transportation ecosystem. Chicago is B-cycle’s second installation; Denver B-cycle was the first.

Bikes cost $10 per hour to rent ($40 for a whole day), without membership. Membership costs $35 a month and includes a free hour for each use. The program will run until October and reopen next April, if successful. The rates  are more expensive in Chicago than in Denver because Chicago does not provide public money for B-cycle.

“If they want it to catch on, they’re going to have to lower the price,” 45-year-old Chicago resident D. McCollum told The Associated Press. “If you don’t have a car and use the bus a lot, you’re used to paying one fee a month for unlimited rides.”

Like the London program, the Chicago program seems to have learned its lessons from the Paris program, which has been plagued by theft and vandalism. Credit cards are linked to the names of members and will get charged if a bike disappears. The bikes are also fairly bulky.

Also like the London program, the Chicago program is meant only for short trips. “Let’s say you work at 541 N. Fairbanks and want to do an errand at City Hall,” Bike and Roll founder Josh Squire told the Chicago Tribune. “You take a bike to Daley Plaza, leave it there. Somebody else might take that bike and go to the John Hancock to eat lunch. A resident at the Hancock might take it to the museum.”

The next time I go to Chicago, I probably won’t use Chicago B-cycle, partly because of the cost but mainly because I have several bikes to choose from — including my first Cannondale, a 1985 R300 affectionately known as “Old Blue” now being used by my nephew — at my sister’s house.

Still, I do see the value of a bike-share program for people who have to make short trips regularly in downtown Chicago. It definitely beats the heck out of the costs of parking your car in a downtown garage.

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May 12, 2010

Counting bicycle commuters

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Roger @ 1:24 pm

With Trailnet’s annual St. Louis Bike to Work Day celebration coming up Friday, May 21, now is a good time to take a look at bicycle commuting.

Longtime friend Doug Kaufman pointed out to me a story in USA Today about city planners using high-tech means to count bicyclists and pedestrians.

Some of the new counters, which cost $500 to $8,000, are triggered by the weight of passing trail users, while others rely on heat emitted by their bodies or bounce radar off them, Arlington County, Va., bicycle planner David Patton told USA Today.

Without the devices, agencies either had to rely on labor-intensive bike counts by hand or devices that don’t do a good job of counting bicycles and pedestrians.

Not surprisingly, bicycle-friendly communities like Portland, Ore., are taking advantage of the technology to get a better count of bicycle commuters and use the data to plan new facilities.

The most recent U.S. Census figures indicate the number of adults who bicycled to work in 2008 was 786,098, up 26% from 2006, the newspaper reported.

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April 22, 2010

SIUE begins bike share program

Filed under: Illinois — Tags: , — Roger @ 10:10 pm

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville most appropriated picked Earth Day to launch its new bike share program.

SIUE — which happens to be my alma mater — hopes people will ride bikes on the 3,600-acre campus and the Madison County Transit trail system. that links SIUE and nearby communities such as Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, Maryville and Pontoon Beach.

Thirty American-made Worksman bicycles make up SIUE bike share fleet.

“The mission of the bike share program is to encourage a culture shift in SIUE students, faculty, and staff toward increased reliance on non-carbon modes of transportation,” SIUE officials say. “This program will provide those who do not own bicycles with the opportunity to explore the SIUE campus and see how advantageous a bike can be while rediscovering the fun of bike riding.”

The program is open to SIUE students, faculty and staff. An online application must be approved prior to the first checkout, and it usually takes about a day to process the initial application. All bikes must be returned the same day they are checked out.

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May 17, 2008

CBS News reports on commuter bikes

Filed under: bicycling — Tags: — Roger @ 12:38 pm

At the risk of sounding like a shill for CBS News, Here’s another segment from the “Early Show” about Bike to Work Day. Harry Smith, a bike commuter, talks with Bicycling magazine Editor Steve Madden about the newest commuter bikes and the benefits of bicycle commuting.

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More video from St. Louis Bike to Work Day

Filed under: bicycling — Tags: , , — Roger @ 12:15 pm

Had I spent a little more time searching yesterday on CBS News, I would have found this Web-only video taken Friday during St. Louis’ Bike to Work Day. Fortunately, someone over at the St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation found it, and I pass it on to you.

Nancy Cordes, CBS’s transportation and consumer safety correspondent, interviewed Trailnet Executive Director Ann Mack about the increase in bicycle lanes in St. Louis and the increase interest in bicycling prompted by high gasoline prices.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Trailnet, it is a non-profit organization dedicated to enrich the St. Louis region by promoting bicycle and pedestrian activities and collaborating with the public and private sectors to ensure and enhance a premier trail system.

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