Rubber Hits Road with Bike Share Project

Event: Reception Program for 2008 Bike Share Demonstration Project
Location: The City Bakery, 07.14.08
Keynote: Janette Sadik-Kahn — Commissioner, NYC Department of Transportation
Organizers: Forum for Urban Design; Storefront for Art and Architecture; The City Bakery

Four bike share stations attempted to connect existing transportation networks during this year’s NY Bike Share Demonstration Project.

Courtesy nybikeshare.org

While the scope of the New York Bike Share Demonstration Project may seem small in relation to programs established in some European cities — Paris currently has over 20,000 cycles in rotation — this short test run was intended to be one step in convincing NYC to invest in a more comprehensive program on a citywide scale. This year’s four-day program expanded its pilot effort conducted last summer, offering more cycles and more stations in Lower Manhattan to exchange cycles.

The concept of bike sharing provides short-term bicycle rentals, offered either free or at minimal cost, and is intended to complement existing transportation networks. Designed to bridge gaps in subway and bus lines with point-to-point rentals, renters are not required to return cycles to the same stations. This year’s demonstration proved that commonly perceived shortcomings, like the need for significant labor to redistribute cycles at the end of each day, could be overcome by strategically locating stations. Forum for Urban Design Deputy Director Loreal Monroe reported that the group “never experienced a redistribution problem” this year.

At the program’s wrap-up reception, NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan spoke alongside the demonstration project organizers about the importance of bringing increased cycle access to the roads. “Biking can be a transformative element in NYC’s transportation design,” said Sadik-Kahn. A week earlier, the DOT released a Request for Expressions of Interests for experienced groups interested in implementing a program for the city. A more comprehensive bike-sharing program may be in NYC’s future.