It’s finally happening! Metro is bringing bikeshare to the greater Los Angeles area and Santa Monica is slated to be one of the first four cities, along with Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Long Beach, to get stations.
According to Metro’s website, the first bikeshare stations could open in 2016, providing “a fleet of strategically located bicycles that can be rented for individual local trips,” according to Metro.
With the Expo light rail expected to open to Santa Monica early that same year, bikeshare could arrive right on time to offer transit riders a way to get from the train stations to their destinations and back again.
“As Mayor of Santa Monica and a member of the Metro Board, I’m very interested in the ways that Metro, Santa Monica and Los Angeles can make timely decisions to support a regional approach to create a Bikeshare program that will connect people to transit options and other destinations,” said Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor, who has represented Santa Monica and the Southbay on the Metro Board of Directors since 2001.
“I am working with L.A. Mayor Garcetti to create this synergy as we move forward with our Santa Monica Bikeshare program,” she said.
Santa Monica originally had taken the lead in building the region’s first bikeshare network. Santa Monica’s award-winning Bike Action Plan originally called for a bikeshare system to be up and running by 2016, but in 2012, Santa Monica had secured a $2.6 million grant from Metro for a bikeshare program, pushing the timeline up.
At a City Council meeting in September 2013, Council members voted 5-to-1 to move forward with planning a bikeshare system, but the Council added that Santa Monica should make sure to coordinate with its neighbors to assure that whatever system the bayside city ended up with, it would be compatible with systems in other cities along the transit network.
[Update: An earlier version of this article implied that Santa Monica had taken a back seat to Metro in planning bikeshare. According to Santa Monica officials, Metro is a partner in the effort, but Santa Monica remains ahead in its effort to implement bikeshare.]
While Metro is now on board with the bikeshare planning process, Santa Monica Councilmember Kevin McKeown said in the comment section of this article that the bayside city is “far ahead of Metro’s process.”
Unlike Metro, Santa Monica has already solicited bids from bikeshare operators through a formal request for proposal (RFP) process.
In his comment, McKeown, who represents Santa Monica on the Westside Cities Council of Governments (COG), said that the inter-city organization “has ongoing discussions about coordinated [bikeshare] efforts — but with the understanding that Santa Monica, though desirous of an integrated system for obvious reasons, plans to move ahead, mindful of grant deadlines and Expo coordination. We agreed to participate in the crowdsourcing website to foster good relations and coordination, but at the same time we are pursuing our own process.”
As part of its planning phase, Metro is asking people to weigh in on where they think bikeshare stations should be situated.
Through September 15, people are invited to visit Metro’s website to up-vote suggestions they like, make suggestions of their own within the proposed program areas, and leave comments for Metro staff.
From Metro’s website:
Metro has proposed a number of initial launch stations (shown with purple shields). Let us know what you think of these locations by clicking ‘like’ or leaving a comment.
If you know a great spot for a bikeshare station, pin it on the map below (shown as a purple dot). If someone has already suggested that location, you can ‘like’ it or give more information by leaving a comment.
While bikeshare stations will be limited to the four cities during Phase 1, Metro says it is currently studying possible areas for Phase 2.
As of press time, Metro did not respond to questions about how many stations will be installed during Phase 1 or how much the project will cost.