Rochester is ready for a bike share program. That’s according to a study led by the Genesee Transportation Council.
A bike share allows users to rent bicycles by the day or through subscription services. A user could “check out” a bicycle at one station and return it to another station.
The study found a bike share would be feasible in the city and some inner ring suburbs. The villages of Brockport, Pittsford, Fairport and East Rochester could support a bike share, as well as some parts of Greece, Brighton and Canandaigua.
The planners envision a four-phase implementation in the city, with 25 stations with a total of 250 bikes per phase. In a full build-out, there would be 1,000 bikes in the system. It would cost $8 a day or $85 a year.
Here’s the bad news. Over five years, it would cost $2.5 to $5 million to get a bike share up and running, and another $3.3 million in operating costs. However, the study notes, “This amount is less than two transit buses or one quarter of the cost of constructing a mile of new four lane urban highway.”
Funding could come from government, philanthropic and sponsorship sources. Revenue from riders doesn’t even cover half of the cost.
Here are some things that could make a bike share successful in Rochester, per the study
- High population density in the city
- Lots of young people in the city
- Areas of the city that could use improved access to jobs and services.
- Potential sponsorship opportunities.
- Lots of college students and supportive administrations.
- Downtown revitalization
- Bus stops throughout the city
Here are some things that could sink a bike share in Rochester, per the study:
- Few destinations for visitors downtown
- Lack of a complete network of bicycle infrastructure
- Small, but growing, bicycle culture.
- Some streets are not bicycle-friendly.
Here’s why Rochester should jump on board a bike share, per the study:
- Introduce new riders to the benefits of bicycling.
- Improve physical and mental health and reduce health care costs.
- Promote the city to potential employers, residents, and visitors.
- Retain and attract workers and companies.
- Give visitors a new way to experience city.
- Bike riders spend money at nearby businesses.
- Expand and enhance existing transit services.
- Reduce dependence on automobile transportation.
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Reduce household transportation expenditure.
The bike share study said safety is generally not a valid concern, because the more bike riders that are on the road, the more drivers adapt to them. “Although the safety risks are real and should be considered and mitigated for a system in Rochester, none of these fears have proven to be a large factor once a system is up and running in a city. Bike shares have strong safety record in the communities after introduction.”
At first, I had sticker shock when I saw the price tag. But after reading through the study, the cost becomes a little more reasonable, especially when you consider what we spend on other modes of transportation. (No, your driver user fees and gas taxes do not cover the cost of roads. Also, bike riders are taxpayers, too.) I still think this could be a tough sell.
Links of the Day:
– Senator Schumer uses his morning workouts to schmooze Republicans. (Why are there no women in this story?)
– States are raising their speed limits when they should do the opposite.
– Kraft bowed to pressure from a food blogger with no scientific background who makes bogus claims.
Tweets of the Day:
— Sarah (@smurphyabb) April 21, 2015
— John Kucko (@john_kucko) April 21, 2015