Atlanta Pedaling toward Bike Sharing

Here’s a post from one of Creative Loafing’s blogs about a bike share program proposed for Atlanta:

Atlanta’s first-ever bike share program could take a major step forward on Tuesday. Members of an Atlanta City Council committee will vet a proposal recommending Mayor Kasim Reed start negotiations with a team that will install more than 50 bicycle rental stations around town, deliver a minimum of 500 custom two wheelers, and operate the program.

City Hall officials have recommended a five-year contract with CycleHop LLC, a company that has built and managed Phoenix’s bike share program and recently won contracts in Tampa and Orlando. We’re told that Social Bicycles, which partnered CycleHop with in Tampa, will provide the equipment. The bikes used in the program, which we’re also told comes at no cost to city, will have an integrated GPS system and would not have to be locked up at a kiosk. You can also reserve a bike via the web or an app.

I worked on a project trying to get a bike-share program off the ground at UGA while I was in law school.  A lot of universities, including some in Georgia (like Emory), already operate bike-share programs, and a growing number of cities are investing in these ventures too.  Savannah recently became the first in Georgia, and Chattanooga, Tennessee has had a nice program up and running for about a year and a half now.

I’m generally supportive of these initiatives.  They add a fun element to a city.  I loved seeing a bunch of cyclists pedaling around Chattanooga right after it’s program began, even if at first I didn’t understand why I saw so many people riding the same bikes.  Riding a bike is just fun, and seeing a bunch of riders in a neighborhood looks happy.

Of course, some high-profile bike-share operations are having difficulties, and I doubt whether they constitute a true alternative form of transportation.  I’m certainly not brave enough to ride a bike on most of Atlanta’s streets.

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