New York City next in line for bike-sharing

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New York City announced plans Tuesday morning to create a bike-sharing system to take a bite out of traffic congestion in the Big Apple.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration said it will seek bids for a bike-sharing program based on the 2009 feasiblility study “Bike-Share Opportunities in New York City” that called for starting with 10,000 bicycle at 600 locations.

That plan starts with bike share in Manhattan, then spreads to boroughs throughout the city. A launch date of spring 2012 is the target.

Other bike-sharing systems typically allow members free-use of the bicycles for short trips of about a half-hour, avoiding the use of cars for many errands. Memberships are usually $50 to $60 a year for other systems.

Other cities

Although bike-sharing systems are already in use in Denver, Minneapolis and Washington DC/Arlington, the installation of bicycle-sharing in that huge media market would bring more attention to the potential success of such systems.

Other cities with bike-sharing programs in the pipeline include Boston and San Francisco.

The West Coast system is a $7.9 million pilot project that would provide bicycles to users in San Francisco and along the Caltrain commuter corridor in San Jose, Palo Alto, Mountain View and Redwood City. It's slated for launch before the end of 2011.

The Boston program received a $3 million federal grant this past summer that will be added to $2 million raised locally to purchase 500 bicycles that will be placed at some-50 rental kiosks around the city.

Philadelphia also is studying bike-share.

The most recent bike-share system to go online was one shared by Washington DC and Arlington, Virginia called Capital BikeShare. Launched in September, it will eventually use 1,100 bicycles that can be rented at 100 bike stations.

The system is operated by the Montreal-based Bixi, which also built the bicycles. NiceRide Minnesota in Minneapolis also used a Bixi system.

It's major competitor is the B-Cycle system, developed by Humana, Trek Bicycle and Crispin Porter + Bogusky. That system has programs in Denver (Denver B-Cycle), as well as test programs in Chicago, Des Moines and one planned for Kailua in Hawaii.

Elsewhere in North America, Montreal and Mexico City have bike-share systems. Internationally, Paris, London, Barcelona and Taipei also have such programs.

Photo above from Denver's B-Cycle system.

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