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)