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The Monday Roundup: NYC’s CitiBike and more

Posted by on May 27th, 2013 at 10:29 am

Happy Memorial Day, Portland. As you might have noticed, Jonathan and I will be serving up bike-related reporting for the next two weeks by way of a transcontinental tag-team. Let’s start things off with the national bike news that caught our eyes in the last week.

New York City’s long-awaited CitiBike sharing system launched today, and it’s the talk of the town and the bike world in general. With 14,000 annual memberships presold at about $100 apiece, it’s poised to be the biggest win yet for Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share, which operates the systems. Here are some interesting tidbits from this week’s coverage of CitiBike:

— The New York Times showed how the modern bikeshare system was invented in Paris, improved in London, priced in DC and built on station hardware from Montreal. In another piece, the paper reports that experts seem to agree that bikesharing will be remembered as the key achievement of Michael Bloomberg’s 12 years of transportation reforms. “If this is the playoffs, what’s the finals?” says Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “As far as I’m concerned, we’re there.”

— The bikeshare-hating New York Post apparently assigned three reporters to this interview with a bike rental shop owner who’s worried he won’t be able to rent bikes to tourists for $30 per day if the rack just outside lets tourists pick them up for $10 per day. Also, a group of citizens is protesting NYC’s removal of a public art space to make room for a bikeshare station.

— Bikes are the subject of WNYC’s interview with NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, who once said he’d have ribbon cuttings to “tear out” bike lanes if he ever became mayor. Now, with polls saying that 60 percent of the population likes the lanes, Weiner says that was a joke. He also holds up his own new CitiBike key.

— If bikesharing is a new form of public transit, it’ll have to get used to being regulated like other public-sector enterprises. In These Times looks at whether Alta’s Capital Bikeshare is underpaying workers in Washington, DC.

— Boston Magazine looks at the bike helmet vending machines being introduced at some Alta bikesharing systems.

In other bike news:

— In California, the Gilroy Dispatch profiles Robert Egger, creative director of Specialized Bicycle Components, whose innovative designs are part of a mission to make his company “the Apple of the bicycle industry.”

— In Afghanistan, where riding a bike while female is usually seen as “a marker of promiscuity … on the cultural offenses index somewhere between driving and being spotted with an unrelated man,” a group of bike-loving Afghani women have launched a national women’s cycing team.

— In the Huffington Post, the former chief planner of Vancouver BC thinks cities can adjust to the growing desirability of urban neighborhoods by talking less about “preventing gentrification” and more about creating “shared neighborhoods” — sort of the way we talk about “compete streets.”

— Mainstream coverage of the recent Transportation for America report on the national decline in driving, especially among young people, continues to ripple. “The number of carless households could reach 10 percent this year or soon afterwards,” notes NBC News — and that doesn’t even include the fast-growing popularity of one-car households.

— Streetsblog DC has a Q&A with “one-woman media empire” Elly Blue, the Portland-based writer on bicycles and feminism and former managing editor here at BikePortland.

— The Portland Tribune has great news about Walgreens’ pick-up windows, following up on our report two weeks ago: “From now on Walgreens employees everywhere will be told to serve drive-up customers who are on bikes.”

If you come across an important or fun bike story, send it in or Tweet @BikePortland and we’ll consider featuring it here next Monday.

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Comments
  • Christopher May 27, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Regarding the NBC News article:
    It is interesting to note that all of the “auto decline” articles only focus on the financial aspect of becoming car free. There is no mention of ethical motivation. My wife and I became car free to stop funding the global imperialism executed by our country’s government and corporations. Also, the media is not drawing the connection between the recent 400ppm milestone and the necessity of resisting the car to continue human existence.

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    • longgone May 27, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      While I respect your “first world martyrdom” to live car free in the face of corporate imperialism, your choice to do so is made mute by the 3-4 Chinese family’s that will buy cars this year, because they are finally in a financial place to do so.
      It is a mind numbing conundrum unfortunately, with no real ethical outcome,… IMO.

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      • spare_wheel May 27, 2013 at 2:13 pm

        martyrdom, my arse. i don’t miss motoring at all.

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        • longgone May 27, 2013 at 2:29 pm

          Touchy much?
          Good for you, you don’t drive! Awesome!
          I haven’t used an auto for daily transport in over three decades, so what.
          I love my bicycles more than just about anything.
          Are they going to save the world? No.
          As much as I wish they would, they will not.

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  • Michael M. May 27, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Hopefully Alta will get its house in order before trying to launch bikeshare in here in its hometown.

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  • David Bragdon May 27, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Spontaneously festive air in lower Manhattan this afternoon as we ventured out on bike share – people (including people in cars, aka “motorists”) waved and yelled, “Hey, bike share!” and asked how to join. We docked out and docked in at four different stations and were approached repeatedly by people asking, “Cool, how do I get one of those?” This system is going to be extremely popular.

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  • Anne Hawley May 27, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    I hadn’t heard about the Afghan women’s cycling team, and your link here prompted me to go read more and share the information with my online bike communities. Wonderful stuff! Thanks.

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  • Anne Hawley May 27, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Walgreen’s fast and thorough correction is quite impressive.

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  • Jim Lee May 27, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Yo, Michael! Welcome aboard!

    Of course, any bike-share system must cater to the lowest common denominator. In other words, God-awful bikes to actually ride!

    Gresham’s law of cycling: bike-sharing might actually succeed.

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  • longgone May 27, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    My perception of NPR’s piece on NYC bike share today, is that they once again covered it by featuring the “negative push back” angle.
    For all the lip service that neo-cons pay to NPR’s “liberal agenda”, it seems to me at least, that ANY cycling news that represents possible progressive change ,is reported with kid gloves.
    Is it just me?

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    • younggods May 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      It’s not just you… I used to enjoy listening to npr, but they are like this more and more and not just on the topic of bikes.

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      • are May 27, 2013 at 4:47 pm

        i stopped listening to NPR when anne garrels referred to iraqi resistance to the american invasion as an “insurgency”

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  • David Bragdon May 27, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    The “push back” gets far more coverage than it merits based on scientific measures of public sentiment. Expansion of the NYC bike network is strongly supported by independent polling and membership in bike share is selling very quickly. Among 8 million residents it is easy to find voices who will oppose anything, especially if certain publications are intentionally amplifying those voices. Anyone remember the gloom-and-doom forecasts and whining about Gresham-Portland light rail before it opened and how quickly those were forgotten when the line actually opened in Sept 1986 and was popular? Similar deal.

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  • Todd Boulanger May 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Hmmm….local shop concerned about NYC Alta Bikeshare cutting into rentals…we can understand it though not sure this will happen over the long term, as so far bike share has not killed the daily bike rental business at the DC Bikestation, as I am told by our operator.

    Folks in NYC will find that when they want a bike for a full day bike share may not be the best option due to price and parking and features. Bikeshare bikes are great for the purpose they were designed for First/ Last Mile trips and being no fuss.

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  • Jim Lee May 27, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    With MB going, David, does PDX figure in your future?

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  • Andrew K May 27, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Woo hoo! The Gilroy Dispatch. Hahaha, that is my home town.

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  • anon1q2w3e4r5t May 28, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    “If this is the playoffs, what’s the finals?” says Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

    The finals will be the dismantling of CitiBike, it was doomed from before you even started on the project. Do you remember the note I hand delivered to you years back after your speech at Occidental College? In that note I was referring to bike sharing, so that gives you an idea of how long I’ve been planning for its demise.

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    • longgone May 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm

      Why don’t you share that inspired tidbit of foresight you scribbled on a napkin with us, because we doubt that Janette Sadik-Kahn will see this cryptic tiny rant on BP.org., and respond.

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      • anon1q2w3e4r5t May 29, 2013 at 9:50 am

        (double post, missed the reply button)

        Actually, it was printed out.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • longgone May 29, 2013 at 10:10 am

          Still waiting…

          Recommended Thumb up 2

  • anon1q2w3e4r5t May 29, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Actually, it was printed out.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

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