Two years ago, the MTC approved $8.7M in funding for the expansion of the Bay Area Bike Share program to the East Bay. After an extensive outreach program, they unveiled three Emeryville Bike Share locations as the first in a three-phase rollout. The timing of the announcement coincides with last week’s Earth Day Celebration and the forthcoming Bike to Work Day on May 12th.
Bay Area Bike Share initially rolled out in San Francisco in 2013 and has been expanding rapidly due to increasing demand and popularity. Under the system, cyclists can purchase annual passes that allow them an unlimited amount of 30-minute rides. The program currently has 700 bikes in San Francisco and other Peninsula locations going all the way down to San Jose. East Bay locations were chosen through a process that coupled feedback from their station suggestion portal along with extensive public consultation and technical assessment of site suitability. According to Bike Share, this public outreach included:
- 5,000 Station suggestion submissions:
- 70 Stakeholder meetings
- 9 Public Workshops with thousands of local residents engaged
Emeryville will initially receive only three of theses stations that will be heavily concentrated around the Southern end of our city. The map provided indicates stations in front of City Hall (18), A Horton Bike Boulevard location that appears to be in front of the Bayside Park retirement community on 40th (17) and another off Adeline near the Andante Condominiums and adjacent to an AC Transit transfer hub (19).
Of the three selected, only the City Hall location received a considerable amount of support on the interactive map that Bike Share promoted. Neither the Amtrak Station, which seemed like a logical transit connection, or the popular Bay Street Shopping area will receive a station in Phase I. “We will certainly be placing a station at or near the Amtrak station in a future phase” noted Motivate Communications Manager Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz when we reached out for comment. “We’ll begin planning for the next phase this Summer and planning for the third and final phase will happen in Fall/Winter 2016.” Emeryville will receive seven additional stations as part of the next two phases. “For this first phase, we focused on creating a contiguous network of stations between Oakland, Berkeley, and Emeryville, which is why the three Emeryville stations are close to the border with Oakland.”
According to Motivate, Bike Share’s operator, the best bike share station locations are highly visible, close to bicycle facilities, co-located with other transportation connections, and/or close to local destinations like parks, commercial districts, or other major destinations that attract large numbers of residents. Bike Share systems thrive when stations are placed close to one another, typically no more than a five-minute walk.
The Bike Advocacy group Bike East Bay also expressed support for these connections. “I think in Emeryville in particular, Bike Share will provide a great connection to BART and complement the service provided by the Emery Go-Round” added Bike East Bay Advocacy Manager Cynthia Armour. “I agree that stations at Amtrak and Bay Street will likely be very popular and it will be in the system’s interest to include them.”
The intent of Bike Share is not to supplant bike ownership like Car Share, but to help complete what is often referred to as that “first & last mile” of ones commute. By bridging our commute “gap”, Bike Share encourages use of public transit by providing options for getting to and from major transit centers to locations that aren’t efficient to walk to. Instead of schlepping our bikes upstairs, on cramped BART cars or loading them on generally scarce AC Transit bus racks, we can conveniently hop on a Bike already positioned near transit and leave the security and maintenance to someone else. In addition to Bay Area Bike Share, Motivate currently manages bike share systems in major cities including New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston, Seattle and internationally in Toronto and Melbourne, Australia.
The first of the three-phase expansions will add 34 stations and 350 bikes to the East Bay Core of Berkeley, Emeryville and Oakland and be installed by late 2016/early 2017. When complete in Fall 2018, the East Bay Area Bike Share expansion will include 1,500 bikes and a total of 117 stations. Maps of the Emeryville Stations will be on display at City Hall beginning April 28th and available to view during normal business hours.
A complete map of all the announced Phase I East Bay stations can be viewed here.