By John Gardocki, Greater Ohio Policy Center Intern
Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman recently announced a plan to roll out the first bike share program in the state in the summer of 2013. The metropolitan cities of Chicago, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, and Portland all have successful programs. New York City and Columbus seem to be the next big ones to join in the craze.
Managed by Alta Bicycle Share, the program will include approximately 30 stations with 10 bikes at each station for a total of 300 bicycles- however you can return the bike at any of the 30 stations located at major spots in Downtown and the surrounding communities.
Public involvement will be integral for the locations of the bike share stations. With the addition of the bike share program, Columbus will have an additional transit option in the downtown area for residents and business people. Alta operates Capital Bike share in the Washington, D.C. area, Hubway in the Boston Metro, Melbourne Bike Share (Australia), and Chattanooga’s Bicycle Transit System. Capital Bike Share has seen an increase in all types of memberships since beginning operations in 2010.
There are many pro-bike coalitions across the U.S. that collect statistics to compare with other modes of transportation. It is important to document the statistics of bicycling so people can see whether or not it will be beneficial for them to switch modes of transportation. Bikes Belong is an organization devoted to increasing the amount of bikers on the roads. Bike commuters report lower stress and greater feelings of freedom, relaxation, and excitement than car commuters. Appleton, M., 2011 While Columbus has a relatively stress-free commute compared to other metropolitan cities; it still puts a hamper on people’s behaviors.
Bike share is a cost effective solution for urban center residents and workers to commute sustainably. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics in 2010 stated, “The average American household spends $7,179 per year on owning and driving their cars. Cost savings for riding a bicycle are incredible especially if it is done on a daily basis.”
With the implementation of the bike share Columbus will not only be providing more transit options; but also improving the region’s health by reducing carbon emissions and encouraging exercise. With more people bicycling on the streets, drivers should be more willing to share the road thus making it safer for all types of transportation modes. This exciting development will be watched closely as implementation occurs because Columbus residents have been seeking greater investment into transportation choices.