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Bike Sharing Coming to Downtown Los Angeles in 2013

Damon Nagami

Posted December 28, 2012 in Living Sustainably

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20111009-1056-Ciclavia.jpg

When my wife and I were in Paris a few years ago, we were blown away by the city’s super-convenient Velib bike share system. With a swipe of a credit card, tourists and locals can rent a bike from one of hundreds of self-serve kiosks all around Paris to run errands or see the sights. Naturally, one of my first thoughts was that it would be so great to have a system like this in L.A.

Well, guess what? It looks like bike sharing is on its way to the City of Angels. A company called Bike Nation has pledged $16 million towards L.A.’s first bike share network, which will be coming to downtown Los Angeles in April. The system will allow users to rent and ride bikes for timeframes of less than 24 hours, so people can run errands or get to work or just ride around for fun. A membership will be required, which is projected to cost $75 for the year. Once the membership is purchased, trips less than 30 minutes are free and trips up to 60 minutes are only $1.50. (More information on rates and fees can be found here.)

You might remember my video blog about the Spring Street green bike lane, which allows downtown cyclists a safer, more visible lane to use. With the green bike lanes and the extension of the 7th Street bike lane, downtown seems to be progressing as one of the most bike-friendly neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

Bike Nation plans to test several downtown locations, including Union Station, City Hall, Olvera Street and the Caltrans building before expanding to other parts of the city. If you live, work or commute downtown, you can suggest a new bike share station here.

The prospect of a bike share network in Los Angeles is thrilling to me. Launching this system downtown is a logical and sensible choice, and seems a perfect fit to build on the growing momentum of this downtown L.A. renaissance that everyone’s talking about. I can't wait to try out this bike share system, and I'm sure I'm not the only one in L.A. who feels this way.

Photo: October 2011 CicLAvia (credit NRDC)

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Comments

doug mooreDec 31 2012 12:08 PM

Hope they get enough business to make sustainable for the long run. Seems to me that a smart way to set this up is to have drivers park outside the downtown area - near a bike rental place if possible - then cycle into downtown, keeping fewer cars from adding to the congestion.

gretchen mJan 2 2013 02:37 PM

Great idea....but I don't believe the european bike share systems have a annual fee...I don't know how many people will fork out the $75 annual fee when you can buy your own bike at target for that much. Seems like it should be more of a sperr of the moment decision to rent one. Also, for fun....people in LA are used to renting bikes on the beach for around $7 an hour. But i guess if you PLAN on using it more than 10 times a year than u save money...unless of course you buy your $75 bike at target....

Tom GlendeningJan 4 2013 08:53 PM

we are having an online conversation on the future of bikeshare on 01/09/13. please participate.

http://inventropolis.com/bikeshare-disrupted

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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