Monday, August 25, 2008

Bike Sharing

Matt Yglesias has an interesting(with video!) post up about a new pilot bike sharing program for DC. Looking around, I found that Boston is looking to implement a much larger program by 2010. Certainly it's an interesting concept, that's been very successful in places like Paris.

Personally, I would prefer something like electric car depots, though it's obviously more expensive and divisive, as I'd rather have the ability to do some serious shopping in a reasonably Green fashion, than have access to a bike, but there certainly times I can imagine using a bike share... enough to pay a yearly fee? Probably not, but it would be worth considering.

At the moment, I'm not aware of any bike sharing proposals for Cambridge... but lets assume for a moment they were planing on covering Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline adequately and not just the Fenway and Downtown area... when could I envision using it? I guess it would be handy for getting to East Cambridge or Inman or Union Squares; areas not easily accessible by T. It would also seem nice to be able to bike over from Harvard to Allston and not need to bother with the bus. It also might be nice to say, take the Red Line to MGH and then grab a bike and tool around on the Esplanade... maybe drop your bike off at Newbury Street, do some shopping, and then grab another for a return trip. Generally it sounds pretty nice for doing touristy things... though I imagine it could also be great for commuters, since you can normally only bring a bike on the T or Commuter Rail on off peak hours.

One thing that would have to happen is to make the area much more bike friendly. I've been seeing more bike lanes going up lately, but I don't think it's nearly enough yet, as I personally think people who bike in Boston traffic are freakin' nuts. However, more bike lanes combined with a pervasive system is certainly an interesting concept.

photo by flickr user zimbia used under a Creative Commons license