Last week, Paris tried to limit the number of cars on it's streets by banning even or odd numbered license plates on alternating days AND making tranit, electric car share (autolib) and bikeshare free. All of this was done to try and deal with pollution that was described as critical.
It comes after an air pollution alert for the region was raised on March 7 by Airparif, an independent association that measures air quality around France. Its pollution index for Paris stood at 75 on Monday – where 0 marks "very low" air pollution and 100 marks "very high."
The impact on limiting cars and making bike share wasn't as dramatic as one might expect, but then the city was probably pushed to it's limits.
The move was welcomed by Parisiens, with the use of both Autolib' and Velib' soaring. By the end of last week, Velib' reported a 130 percent hike in usage, while Autolib's was 37 percent higher.
Wonkblog's Emily Badger makes it sound like a failure, but I'm not sure that is right. It was called off because the weather changed, and it appears that it did reduce driving. Really, the point is that having a system of banning alternate plates every day doesn't work because clever drivers just buy two cheap cars, but for short term emergency use like this it should. Who would buy a car to use 2 or 3 days a year?
Still, a congestion tax that goes up on bad pollution days is probably better.
Regional transportation planners at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments are launching a study to determine how to make 25 “underutilized” Metro stations more accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists, work that overlaps with Metro’s research into exploiting excess capacity during the reverse commute: morning rush hour trains heading into D.C. are usually packed; trains heading out of the city into the suburbs are often empty by comparison. The reason is that many suburban stations, particularly in Prince George’s County, lack office development and employment centers within a mile’s walk or bike ride, and the areas surrounding some of these stations lack sidewalks and bike lanes, too.
The 25 stations were also picked because the vicinities are “anticipating employment growth in the near-term future and/or have significant transit-dependent populations living in close proximity,” according to the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB).
Another way to exploit excess capacity is to allow bikes on reverse commute trains.
Metro is not going to reverse its ban against bringing bicycles aboard rush hour trains, but Kannan said the underused stations would benefit from bike share docks.
Oh. Never mind.
Both Metro and the TPB want their respective studies to provide a foundation for collaborative work with the jurisdictions where the 25 stations are located. Neither organization is in the real estate development or sidewalk/bike lane construction business. They cannot decide unilaterally where to locate the necessary office space near the stations and whether to build adequate walking/biking infrastructure for commuters once they get off their trains.
When the novelty wears off, she expects New Yorkers will sour on the blue bikes. “I have a strong feeling that about a year from now many politicians are going to be spending a lot of time distancing themselves from the bike-share program," she said. "Wait until January.”
Alta, the company that operates Capital Bikeshare for the local transportation departments that own it, announced today that they signed a deal with 8D Technologies, the original provider for Bixi to launch and operate the next generation of bike share in 2014.
The next genereation of the 8D system, named BSSv4 builds upon the current BSSv3 platform that CaBi uses now.
The new system has a sleed design, merges the electronics boards and screens, and has an improved docking mechanism linking the bikes to the stations. Other BSSv4 enhancements include.
Key distribution from the kiosk
Account management and bike reservations through a new mobile application
Enhanced power management solutions
Improved docking/undocking mechanism
So it seems Alta wasted no time adjusting to the Bixi bankruptcy.
On Monday, as news spread that Bixi had laid off its interim CEO and 11 other employees, 8D and Alta Bicycle Share of Portland, Ore., another company with ties to Bixi, announced they were forming an alliance to sell bike-sharing systems to cities around the world.
Under the deal announced Monday, 8D will provide software, electronics and docking stations, while Alta will operate the systems. They have not decided which bikes to use, 8D CEO Isabelle Bettez said in an interview.
She said 8D will consider making an offer to buy Bixi’s operations.
Jimmy Fallon was a great choice to host Saturday Night Live’s Christmas episode, mostly because he loves to sing and was obviously going to do a whole lot of it. In his monologue, the late-night star explained that he was supposed to perform with three of his idols — David Bowie, Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney — but they were all stuck in traffic and couldn’t make it. Knowing that the show must go on, however, Fallon busted out some of his famous musical impersonations to sing their parts.
But then, a twist: as Fallon began to impersonate Paul McCartney, the legend himself appeared on stage. (He beat the traffic by hopping on a Citi Bike.)
There are just so many factual errors in this cbs new york story about bikesharing that it is a bit comical. Mostly sad, but a bit comical.
In 2008, Washington, DC was the first major city to develop the bike share program and had 10 stations with 120 bicycles. Within the first two years, about 1,600 people joined what was called SmartBike D.C.and in 2012, Alexandria, VA joined the bike share program and established eight stations. Then, in 2013, Montgomery County joined as well. In 2010, it was renamed Capital Bikeshare.
Which should read:
In 2008, Washington, DC was the first major American city to develop the bike share program and had 10 stations with 120 bicycles. Within the first two years, about 1,600 people joined what was called SmartBike D.C.In 2010 a different bikeshare program, Capital Bikeshare, was started in Washington, DC and Arlington. Later SmartBike was removed. In 2012, Alexandria, VA joined the bike share program and established eight stations. Then, in 2013, Montgomery County joined as well.
"I don't understand why they would put those bikes there. 'Cause a lot of people [are] not gonna ride those bikes," Lavora Peoples says. Peoples lives in a lower-income section of Washington, D.C., called Anacostia. There are several bike-sharing stations here, but resident Diego Belton says not a lot people are using them. In part, Belton says, that's because a lot of residents don't have some of the basic things you need in order to rent the bikes.
"Downtown D.C., that's more where the people have, like, credit cards. You know, you need a credit card or some type of payment plan like that to even use these bikes," Belton says. "Young people around here like in Southeast, they don't got no credit cards.
Because a Chicago bike rental company was sued after they violated their own unwritten policy of giving riders helmets and safe riding instructions to a cyclist who was subsequently injured in a dooring, some Chicago lawyers think that Divvy is a legal reciped for disaster. [The rental company settled, which is too bad because I'd love to see a lawyer try and prove that a helmet would have helped the cyclist in the dooring].
Jeff Kroll, a partner at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard who negotiated the settlement for Cohen, sees similarities between the case he brought against Lakeshore Bike and Divvy’s policies. “I don’t think they’re dissimilar in the sense that you’ve got companies in the business of making money, but they’re not taking the extra steps to make sure people are safe,” Kroll says. “I think this is going to be Pandora’s box. With more pedestrians being hurt, more dooring accidents, the question will become, what responsibility does Divvy have?”
I think these two cases are very different, and that the bike rental company should not have settled, but I'm not sure what they think Divvy could do short of having someone stand by kiosks and make sure cyclists wear helmets.
“Harm is totally foreseeable,” says Christine Hurt, professor at the University of Illinois College of Law. “A kiosk in downtown Chicago that doesn’t provide bike helmets? I think that’d be a pretty good fight.”
Says someone who has no idea what the efficacy of helmets is or how rare it is that bikeshare users are injured or that city cycling is actually safer than suburban cycling.
And I suspect the average Divvy rider is not "clueless".