Today I picked up a copy of one of my favorite local publications, Style Weekly. I was excited to see that a bike-sharing system is about to come to Richmond. This will be a new transportation option for many Richmonders and visitors. The city is hoping that this will all launch in the fall.
This is right on time because I recently was visiting Orlando, Florida this past weekend and at my hotel off Lake Nona Boulevard, bike rentals were available. Apparently where we were resting at was right on the Lake Nona Boulevard bike route. Check out Bike Orlando. You have seen in my previous post, Benefits of Bicycling, Being Blown By the Wind, Breakaway RVA: A Uniquely Richmond Experience, and Mall Walkers & Bikers: Easy Does it that I am cyclist who has grown to love being on a bike. This really excited me seeing that there was an option for me to rent and ride a bike while miles away from my home and well, away from my bike! I took pictures and shared it with my BreakawayRVA team and instagram followers. I literally said, “I wish Richmond had this!”
Low and behold I get back home and see this is about to happen but at a different scale. Bike-sharing systems and bicycle rentals are popular around the world so I am suprised that a metropolitan city such as Richmond did not already have this. Unbeknownst to me bike-sharing is not the same as bicycle rentals. Despite complimenting each other they are different in some ways. I found a comparison chart while researching the difference between the two. Check out the article, “The Differences Between Rental and Bike-Share, According to Bike and Roll” by John Greenfield.
The major difference I see is that Bike-sharing is meant for station-station, short term rides while Bike rentals are intended for longer term rides. Style Weekly stated in their article that, “the idea is that you can pick up a bike at one station, ride it to another, and leave it there.” When this launches there will be 22 station in the most populous areas in Richmond. Courtesy of Style Weekly, below is an at a glance of what this will look like. This also shows the price to ride and stats about the general service area and stations.
Apparently this will cost the city $1.34 million. In the article it shared that the city is gaining help from a grant that will be provided by the Federal Highway Administration’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program. In the article comments thread I noticed that many people have responded negatively to this new project because of the cost. I however see it quite differently. Richmond is becoming more populated each year and this has caused parking and traffic to be challenging. Being that the stations are in the most populous areas that alone will make this a success. This will allow people who want to run a quick errand, but do not want to lose a parking space have another option, etc. This will also make it easier for visitors aka tourist to not have to rely on rentals and increase our traffic and take up parking spaces.
Planning for city systems the way they might look in 10 years is not failing, it is necessary, incremental change. I vote for “the B!”