Bicycle Sharing is coming to San Francisco this summer!
The SFMTA, in partnership with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, will be launching a San Francisco bike sharing system with 350 bikes and 35 stations starting this summer!
Upcoming Bike Share Open House
The SFMTA will be hosting the first local open house for Bay Area Bike Share on Thursday, May 30 at the North Light Court in San Francisco’s City Hall, from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.. Attendees will have an opportunity to learn about and discuss bicycle sharing, the regional pilot, and planning and implementation details for San Francisco. The public is invited to share ideas for pilot and expansion station locations for the new bike share system.
Please circulate the invitation and RSVP for the event here:
The SFMTA is working with Alta Bike Share, a bike share contractor, to finalize proposed station locations and move forward with the approvals, permitting and any necessary lease agreements. This map shows 35 proposed station locations where the SFMTA and Alta Bike Share are working to approve stations. Stations will be primarily located in the parking lane, but may be placed on the sidewalk or in plazas where space allows.
Experience from other cities in Europe and North America has shown that to maximize success, bike sharing stations should be spaced on average every few blocks throughout the service area. In recognition of the regional focus of this pilot, the SFMTA chose San Francisco’s initial service area by determining the maximum size of the service area with the given number of stations (originally 50) at this density, and then overlaid the results of a citywide bicycle sharing suitability analysis on regional transit nodes. With its abundance of factors conducive to bike sharing and its high concentration of regional transit, the downtown Market street corridor from Van Ness to the Embarcadero and the surrounding neighborhoods immediately jumps out at as the best place to start a limited-scale bike sharing system that we hope will prove successful early on and form the basis of a much larger system.
Some factors considered when determining ideal locations for stations within the service area were topography, job density, transit connections, bike rack requests, proximity to the bikeway network and general support of station neighbors. Station locations are prioritized to complement regional transportation stations such as BART, Caltrain and the Ferry Building. The locations also provide convenient options for residents, commuters and visitors making short trips to and from these facilities, to places of employment and residences, and to social and recreational destinations. These regional transportation stations are “anchor sites”. The remaining sites were placed along the existing bike network and on an as-needed basis to maintain the optimal station density.
Given the crowded, intensely urban area of San Francisco where the system will be deployed, the SFMTA contended with some major constraints when planning the initial pilot station locations. Station siting constraints can be broken into two categories: physical and operational.
The public right-of-way serves many uses and is full of existing objects that require clearances from any new introduction of street furniture such as a bike share station. When stations are placed on the sidewalk, per the City’s Better Streets Plan, a six-foot pedestrian throughway must be maintained and stations cannot block access to parking meters, utility vaults, bike racks, trash cans, transit shelters and other street furniture. When they are placed on the street, stations must not block access to utility covers such as storm grates or manholes.
There are many other operational and traffic-related factors considered for placing stations, such as existence of peak hour tow-away zones in the parking lane, proximity to commercial loading, and various color curb designations. While considering operational constraints, staff reached out to fronting business owners, property managers, and local community groups to better understand their street use needs.
SFMTA staff performed station-specific outreach and planning to develop the list of the 41 initial sites. Over the past year, SFMTA staff met with potential station neighbors to discuss the project, station siting, and potential effects on to their properties or businesses. Staff also met with local neighborhood stakeholders to introduce the program and to receive input on potential station locations.
Next steps for the bike sharing program include station approvals and additional community outreach. For city street and sidewalk stations, the approval process involves a sequence of intra- and interagency review steps and ultimate approval at public SFMTA Engineering Hearings sometime between May and July. Additionally, the SFMTA is organizing a Bike Sharing Open House, tentatively scheduled for May. This event will provide details on the system launch and seek input from members of the public about potential expansion opportunities. The SFMTA is also coordinating work on an online crowdsourcing map that will give the public a chance to comment on locations of the initial set of stations as well as seek opportunities to expand the system within the initial pilot service area and beyond.
Pilot Regional Bike Share System
On February 26, 2013, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued a notice to proceed to Alta Bicycle Share authorizing them to deploy and operate a pilot regional bike-sharing system, in the cities of San Jose, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Redwood City and San Francisco. See the Press Release.
The initial phase will deploy a fleet of approximately 700 bicycles and 70 kiosk stations regionwide with 350 bicycles and 35 stations in San Francisco’s downtown core. The System is anticipated to launch in August 2013 and within 3-6 months after the first set of equipment has been deployed, it is anticipated that additional equipment will be added to grow the system to include a fleet of at least 1,000 bicycles throughout the regional system.
The San Francisco bikes will have GPS that will provide open, anonymous data regarding use of bicycles in San Francisco and the stations will have enhanced solar technology that will provide power to stations affected by building shadows.
The project is funded through a combination of local, regional and federal grants with major funding coming from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Innovative Bay Area Climate Initiatives Grant Program (BACI). Grant money for San Francisco’s local match to the BACI grant came through the San Francisco County Transportation Authority from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Transportation fund for Clean Air (TFCA) County Program Manager program.
For an overview of the bike share project, read more below, and take a look at this factsheet about bike sharing in San Francisco or read this article written by Bike Share Project Manager Heath Maddox and find out more about the regional bike sharing project on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District website.
Bike Sharing 101
What is bike sharing?
Similar to car sharing, bicycle sharing is a term used to describe a membership-based system of short-term bicycle rental. Members can check a bicycle out from a network of automated bicycle stations, ride to their destination, and return the bicycle to a different station. Bicycle sharing is enjoying a global explosion in growth with the development of purpose-built bicycles and stations that employ high tech features like smartcards, solar power, and wireless internet and GPS technologies. For an overview of bike sharing click here.
What are the benefits of bike sharing?
There are many assumed benefits of bike sharing. Bike share trips provide an alternative transportation option for short trips and increase accessibility to transit services. Connecting bike share with transit allows riders to be located further away and still be able to access a transit stop or station. Other potential benefits include the following:
Who is involved with launching the San Francisco bike sharing system?
The BAAQMD is the overall regional project lead, coordinating the planning and implementation efforts of the local partners: the City and County of San Francisco, the Cities of San Jose, Mountain View and Palo Alto in Santa Clara County and the City of Redwood City in San Mateo County. The SFMTA is leading the project in San Francisco, and we are working in cooperation with our City and County partners, including the Planning Department, Department of Public Works, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and the Port of San Francisco. The regional partners selected a contractor in 2012 to install, operate, and manage the system.
When will bike sharing launch in San Francisco?
The regional partners will be launching the bike sharing system in summer 2013!
To request a bike sharing location, please complete the Bicycle Parking and Sharing Request Form.
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