City will test bike share program | January 1, 2010 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - January 1, 2010

City will test bike share program

by Kelsey Mesher

Mountain View could be among three transportation hubs to test out a new bike share program this spring, thanks to a $500,000 grant the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority secured earlier this month.

"It's a conceptual project at this point," said Jennie Loft, VTA spokesperson. "There aren't a lot of details."

VTA officials estimated that there will be about 100 bikes available through the program to start. The VTA is conducting a feasibility study before a pilot program can be implemented in 2010. The VTA said in a statement that its initial findings are that more than half of those they surveyed would use a sharing program if it was made available.

The basic idea for the project is to make bicycles accessible to anyone who wants to use them — without the hassle or worry of bike parking or theft. Bicycles would be made available at three VTA transit centers — Mountain View, Palo Alto and San Jose — with pods or bike sharing stations scattered within a three-mile radius of each.

The transit centers were chosen because of their high ridership and frequent overcrowding on trains.

"It's more about the commute versus going to the grocery store," Loft said. "They can just kind of leave one (bike) behind and then catch up at the other side."

Bike sharing is relatively new in the United States. The VTA said it will be looking at models in Paris and Montreal, where bike sharing is more popular, and will continue to work with partners like the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee as it plans for the spring launch.

The $500,000 grant is funded by $1 bridge toll increases made by Regional Measure 2. The "Safe Routes to Transit" grant, as it is called, was awarded by TransForm, a Bay Area nonprofit that "works to create world-class public transportation and walkable communities" according it's Web site. The grant was approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission on Dec. 16.

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