March 19, 2013 | Vol. 73 No. 34

New citywide bike sharing program slated to begin in 2014

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, joined by BikePGH, Bakery Square and project stakeholders, announced plans for Pittsburgh’s first-ever bike share system at a news conference last week.

Pittsburgh Bike Share will include 500 bikes available for point-to-point trips to any of the 50 solar-powered stations planned throughout the City of Pittsburgh. The system is intended to enhance mobility within the city, promote tourism and provide a fun and healthy way to visit Pittsburgh’s diverse and exciting neighborhoods. Similar citywide systems have proven to be extremely successful in Washington, DC, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis and elsewhere.

“Pittsburgh Bike Share will promote healthy living and cleaner air, while encouraging residents, visitors and commuters to visit the city’s diverse communities and thriving neighborhood business districts,” said Mayor Ravenstahl. “This new system represents another significant step forward in our efforts to make Pittsburgh a world-class, bike-friendly city.”

Currently, the city boasts 500 bike racks and 75 miles of riverfront trails and bike lanes, and bike commuting has increased by nearly 300 percent over the last decade. Additionally, Pittsburgh is recognized as a bronze-level, bike-friendly community and one of the top 30 most bike-friendly cities by Bicycling Magazine.

“Bike share and bicycle friendly streets are must haves for any city to be relevant and competitive in the 21st century,” said Scott Bricker, executive director of BikePGH. “It’s about creating places that are attractive, vibrant and healthy,and a big component of a livable city is one that’s easy, safe and convenient to get around by bike.”

Annual bike share members are given a special key used to access a bike, while casual users are given a code in which to access a bike from any station, any time. An app called Spotcycle allows anyone to determine if a bike or empty dock is available at any station.

Members will be able to access the system for a cost of: $75 for an annual membership; $25 for a monthly membership; $15 for a three-day pass; and, $7 for a 24-hour pass.

Pittsburgh Bike Share is made possible through a strong private-public partnership between the city, Bakery Square, BikePGH and Alta Planning + Design. Support has been provided from various city departments including the Department of City Planning and the Department of Public Works.

Pittsburgh Bike Share is expected to cost $3 million. To date, the project has received a $1.6 million grant from the PA Department of Transportation and is in the process of securing $400,000 in matching funds from foundations and $1 million from interested corporate sponsors. Pittsburgh Bike Share is expected to be up and running by the summer of 2014.

Residents are encouraged to attend one of the upcoming community meetings to discuss the new bike share system and review suggested locations for the 50 stations that will be located citywide. For more details, visit pghbikeshare.org.

The first community meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on Tues., April 2 at Carnegie-Mellon University, McKenna, Peter and Wright Rooms, 5032 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

The second meeting is scheduled for noon on Wed., April 3 at Point Park University, Lawrence Hall Ballroom, 201 Wood Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

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