Currently viewing the tag: "Velib"
Speaking of cycling, another major European city has made a huge commitment to improving its bicycle infrastructure. London Mayor Ken Livingstone, famous for implementing congestion pricing, announced yesterday a £500 million ($1 billion US) investment package that aims to make the city a global leader in cycling. The plan includes:
  • Velib-style bike-sharing program with 6,000 bikes for rent at stations approximately 300 meters apart
  • New cycle paths
  • Exclusive cycle zones
  • Much greater bike parking capacity

Streetsblog has an excellent breakdown of the London cycling program.

I wonder how much longer Miami will view these ambitious bike plans as “unproven” or “a waste of time and money”?

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Add Rome to the growing number of international cities implementing bike sharing programs. Details are currently sparse, but the Roman version will kick off with a pilot program, which will include 250 bikes at 22 stations throughout the city’s historic center. If (when) fully implemented, the Roman program will boast approximately 20,000 bikes citywide, similar to Paris’ Velib program. Also like Paris, Rome has hired an advertising giant, Cemusa, to set up the system.

Miami, the writing is on the wall. I still challenge the City of Miami Beach to at least pursue a pilot bike sharing program for a few months, even if it’s just confined to South Beach. I am so confident the program would prove to be wildly successful, even without a high level of bicycle infrastructure (bike lanes, bike parking, traffic calming, etc) installed yet. This is the time of year to introduce such a program as well, given the phenomenal weather and massive influx of tourists (see: traffic).

Photo: Walter Parenteau’s Flickr

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US Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters needs to take a retreat to Paris. Peters, who was quoted back in August saying that bicycling “is not really transportation”, would be faced with a rude awakening. Cyclists using Paris’s highly successful Velib bike-sharing program, which was only introduced this summer, have already logged more than 7.5 million miles.

From NYT columnist Eric Rayman:

The French have embraced communal bike ownership, according to my informal survey of my fellow Vélibiens, as have other Europeans. A culture of Vélibistes is emerging. The camaraderie — a French word that seems to have been invented in anticipation of this new cult — among the riders is entrancing. Riders advise one another on where to find the nearest Vélib docking station, where to park if one is full, and how to find the best routes around the city. When they speak of Vélibs, Parisians smile, even those like a waiter who admitted not having ridden one.

Bertrand Delanoë, the mayor of Paris, has just declared his intention to run for re-election, and the French newspapers, which are known to mix their opinions with their news to a degree that The New York Post would envy, have already pronounced him unbeatable.

Mayors Diaz/Alvarez/Dermer, and any other official in Miami-Dade, take note.

Paris has clearly shown that people are more than willing to use alternative forms of transportation such as bicycles when given the opportunity. Bike-sharing would reduce congestion, calm traffic, and ease parking pressure, which should all be high priorities for any Mayor or elected official. And, it’s great because bikes allow us to be so much more intimate with our cities while still moving at moderate speeds. Imagine how nice it would be for tourists to visit Miami and not feel obliged to rent a car.

Photo courtesy of www.20minutes.fr

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We’ve spent considerable time talking about the merits of bike-sharing programs, offering particularly high praise for Paris’s Velib. However, it may seem like a fantasy as most of these programs are only available overseas. Fortunately, here is a great video that shows bike-sharing in Paris is very real. It explains how it works, from security to maintenance and everything in between.

I definitely recommend checking it out, so you have a better understanding of the system and can clearly describe it at planning/bike workshops.

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