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Will bike-sharing work on the Peninsula?

Original post made on Sep 16, 2013

Getting around on the crowded streets of downtown Redwood City could be easier and less stressful with the recent launch of Bay Area Bike Share. The pilot program, set to run over the next year or two, will test the popularity and practicality of some 700 green and blue rental bikes installed along the Peninsula.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, September 16, 2013, 7:54 AM

Comments (8)

Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 16, 2013 at 10:29 am

Really disappointing that Menlo Park is not participating in this program. This would be a great way for MP residents to visit Redwood City or Palo Alto.

Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 16, 2013 at 10:32 am

This is also a great way to bring more customers to Menlo Park's shopping districts. Many local people no longer go downtown because parking is so terrible.

Posted by Be Real
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Sep 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Can you imagine the fight over where to place the bikes? If you think Stanford project is complicated...Good Grief.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Undoubtedly Save Menlo would object on the grounds that this would increase traffic.

Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm

No Helmets are offered, I don't know if that is a good or bad thing.

Posted by Scott McMahon
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm

I worry that this limited roll out of the bikeshare program is too small to be a real test of the concept, and it will fail due to lack of use. It's one of those things that don't get practical until it reaches a certain coverage level.

My wife and I visited Washington DC recently and used the bikeshare bikes there. It was a terrific way to get around the city. But bikestations are pretty much everywhere there.

For those who haven't experienced bikeshare, you need to know that it's absolutely not a bike rental system. It's more like a public transit system that uses bikes. When you take a bike from the bike station, you need to ride it directly to another bike station and drop it off. If you try to make any stops or significant detours along the way, you will rack up time charges that grow more punitive as your time with the bike increases. If there is no bike station near your destination, you really don't want to use bikeshare. Unfortunately, the current deployment on the peninsula has very few bikestations. They are almost all very close to Caltrain; mostly within walking distance of the train station and of each other. To me, it doesn't make much sense to use them. The only exceptions that I see are the bike stations at Stanford. Those look like practical locations that will work for students and people who work there.

I'm especially disappointed in the coverage in San Francisco. I would go there and use the bikeshare, but coverage is so limited. Basically, it only works for the Financial District, China Town, and a section of the Embarcadero, (but not all the way to Fisherman's Wharf.) Bikeshare won't get you to Golden Gate Park, the Mission District, SoMa, the Zoo, Northbeach, Ocean Beach, etc, etc.

I hope the system gets more coverage soon. Until it expands, I worry that it won't get enough use to justify it's cost.

Posted by Be Real
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Sep 16, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Wasn't the getting about town the purpose of muni busses? Or are we too sophisticated for public transit?

Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 16, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Public transit works well for many people. Caltrain, for example, is extremely crowded during rush hour. However, bike share has a lot of advantages for shorter local transportation. Bikes are available 24 hours a day and you don't have to wait an hour for the next scheduled bus or train. Bike share can complement public transportation, eg stationing bikes at train stations so they can take you the last few miles to destinations with no public transit service and are too far to walk.

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