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Bike sharing program coming to San Diego

SAN DIEGO -- The City Council took a giant step toward finally bringing bike sharing to San Diego on Tuesday.

By a vote of 7-0, the City Council approved a corporate partnership agreement with DecoBike for the financing, implementation, management and operation of a self-service bike sharing system for a 10-year term.

“I appreciate that this agreement represents a capital investment to the City valued at $7.2 million, I’m more excited about this latest way of delivering a new transportation option to San Diegans,” Council President Todd Gloria said.

Bike sharing has been implemented effectively in many major cities, including Washington, D.C. Bikes are secured at stations and available for public rental. Users can then park them at any station when their rides are complete.

Gloria noted that in addition to increasing the number of bikes in San Diego, bike sharing could increase transit ridership by providing a new option linking transit riders to their destinations.

“Imagine, people will be able take the trolley, Coaster or Bus Rapid Transit from other areas of the County into Downtown, and use bike sharing to explore areas or get to meetings and events that aren’t within easy walking distance from transit,” Gloria said.

This effort, which began last year under the leadership of then-Mayor Jerry Sanders, will generate great benefit to the community and will be implemented citywide, likely between January and March 2014.

Number of bikesNumber of stationsNumber of bike docks
1,800 – 2,200180 – 2203,240 – 3,960

Now that the City has a bike sharing partner, DecoBike will begin the process of gathering community input and designing the network. This process will include the selection of bike share station sites. Council President Gloria's office says that means of providing input will be publicized as additional information is available.

Reaction from the San Diego County Bicyle Coalition

San Diego County Bicycle Coalition (SDCBC), an organization that advocates for and protects the rights of all people who ride bicycles, celebrates Tuesday’s San Diego City Council’s unanimous vote approving the city’s first-ever bicycle sharing program.

“This is a turning point for all of San Diego, and our entire transportation system,” said Andy Hanshaw, executive director at SDCBC. “We couldn’t be happier about City Council recognizing San Diego’s strong bicycling culture and giving Decobike the green light to grow our community.”

Decobike, a company dedicated to developing bicycle-sharing programs to move cities and improve the quality of life for communities with sustainable transportation, won the approved bike share contract. With award-winning programs logging millions of miles pedaled in three Florida cities and Long Beach, N.Y., Deco expects to see the same success in San Diego.

San Diegans can look forward to seeing bikeshare stations throughout the city beginning 2014. The bicycles come equipped with adjustable seats, large baskets and LED lighting and live at solar-powered stations. With community input, locations and user-prices will be decided in the upcoming months.

Bike share enthusiasts hope that with a new public transportation system in place, the region could see reduced miles driven and subsequently, reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

“The advantages of a bikeshare program are too vast to ignore—we’re giving commuters more options to benefit the environment and their own personal health,” Hanshaw said. “Plus, it’s just plain fun.”

Once installed, San Diego will join a growing list of bicycle-sharing cities, including Montréal, Canada; Melbourne, Australia; Mexico City, Mexico; and Washington, D.C., Chicago and Boston. SDCBC zealously regards the DECO bikeshare launch as a win for the bicycling movement and big stride in the right direction for the city.