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Air Quality

Meet Bay Area Bike Share

2:27 PM PDT on May 31, 2013

The color and design are currently the "front-runner" options, but the SFMTA says they can still change.

Update 4:53 p.m.: The SFMTA just launched a bike-share station crowdsourcing map (using, we should note, a tool from OpenPlans, Streetsblog's parent organization). The agency wants "people’s comments on where they would like to see Bay Area Bike Share stations as well as what they think of the initial 35 station locations," said spokesperson Ben Jose.

It's probably safe to get excited now.

San Franciscans got their first glimpse [PDF] at how the bikes and the price scheme for the new Bay Area Bike Share system are shaping up at an open house held by the SFMTA yesterday.

The seafoam celeste color and logo on the wheel "skirt guard" shown above are not final -- they're just the "front runner" designs that have come out of deliberations between the various agencies and stakeholder groups involved, said Heath Maddox, the SFMTA's bike-share program manager.

Bay Area BikeShare's prices are expected to be within the normal range of other bike-share systems around the country. Click to enlarge.

"This is a color that hasn't been used in any other bike-share system, so the manufacturer has to test it on half a dozen different frames to ensure the quality and consistency," said Maddox.

Bay Area Bike Share, set to launch in August, will be managed by Alta, which also launched Citi Bike -- the nation's largest system -- in New York City on Monday. The 6,000-bike Citi Bike system is already being used for more than 10,000 trips per day, and nearly 24,000 members have signed up. Bay Area Bike Share will use the same sturdy bike models as Citi Bike, except they'll have more gears (seven as opposed to three).

With SF's launch including only 350 bikes at 35 downtown stations (and another 350 in four cities down to San Jose), advocates have called for SF to move quickly to expand its system, since bike-share systems that are too small to serve a useful range risk under-use and failure. By next spring, Maddox said Bay Area Bike Share is expected to expand to the full 1,000 bikes originally promised for the pilot (which would include a total of 500 in downtown SF).

"We hear loud and clear that people want this to go big, and we want it to go big, too," said Maddox. "We're turning over every stone for sums of money to help it hit the ground running."

Karen Schkolnick, grant program manager for the Bay Area Quality Management District -- the agency coordinating the regional program -- said that the agency will soon launch a "request for proposals" for private sponsors to help fund an expansion. She also said the BAAQMD has been fielding interest from officials in other counties, like Marin, who are interested in bringing the bike-share to their cities. "We're busy, busy every day," she said.

Image: SFMTA

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