By: Aydee Zielke
Many great cities across the U.S. and around the world are incorporating bikeshare programs into their portfolio of alternative transportation options for dense urban cores. Bikeshares operate as a network of bicycles for rent by the day or hour with many pick-up/drop-off docking stations located throughout a town or city, often within a few miles of each other. The number and locations of docking stations aim to make biking around town a convenient, efficient, and competitive alternative to other forms of transportation—most notably, the single-occupant vehicle.
So, how does bikeshare work? Bikeshare programs typically offer the options of monthly, weekly, or daily pass/membership—making bikeshare an attractive transportation alternative for both residents and visitors alike. User fees help to pay for program staff and the maintenance of bicycles and stations, which is awesome because Bikeshare users don’t have to bear the cost of purchasing a bike or worrying about theft. With a typical commute of about 30-60 minutes, bikeshare users have the convenience of picking-up a bike at a docking station near point A and dropping-off at a station near point B, with the ability to make several stops in between. In cities where renting or own a car may be cost prohibitive or undesirable because of congestion or the unfamiliarity of local roads, bikeshare offers a fun, healthy, and perhaps, a spontaneous alternative to getting around town.
There’s growing buzz around Honolulu as a bikeshare programis quickly gaining political and financial momentum for summer 2015 unveiling. The City and County of Honolulu lawmakers recently showed their support for Bikeshare in our town with the passing of Resolution 14-35 on March 14, 2014. The Star Advertiser reported that the Honolulu bikeshare program will most likely be administered by a non-profit with a diverse pool of funding including private, county, and state support. The extensive bikeshare program envisioned for Honolulu includes an impressive network of 180 bicycle docking stations to house a total of 1,700 bikes. The stations will extend from Chinatown to Waikiki—two of the most dense and traffic plagued areas in Honolulu.
Will bicycle infrastructure in Honolulu catch-up when bikeshare gains on the road movement? Will the commuting culture in town dramatically change with the new program? Many people have commented that they don’t feel safe riding bicycles around town because of the lack of safe bike paths, lanes, and routes. The opinion is mixed: Some say that once the demand for bicycle infrastructure becomes strong, the demand will be met while others caution that a comprehensive network of infrastructure is needed for biking and the bikeshare program to takeoff.
Here at HHF Planners, it’s safe to say our office takes a keen interest in encouraging bicycling on our island streets. In addition to several of our staffers who commute to the office via bike or enjoy a challenging scenic ride after work or on the weekends, we spent several years working with the City and County of Honolulu on the O’ahu Bike Plan. We had a lot of fun with the process, which included meetings with the community and coordination with the City and community members on a comprehensive bicycle infrastructure network. In short, we can’t wait for the plan to get rolled-out across O‘ahu.
Only time will tell how bikeshare will evolve. We look forward to seeing more people on bikes next summer, maybe even you… Would you give it a try?
For more on our affection for transportation planning and alternative transportation options, check out our past blogs;