Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bike-Sharing Is a Big Deal the New Pittsburgh Initiative Is Part of a Larger Transition to a New Energy Economy, Explains Janet Larsen of the World Policy Institute

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bike-Sharing Is a Big Deal the New Pittsburgh Initiative Is Part of a Larger Transition to a New Energy Economy, Explains Janet Larsen of the World Policy Institute

Article excerpt

As summer temperatures arrive in much of the United States, people are dusting off their bicycles, pumping up the tires and hitting the trails. But in a growing number of communities, this ritual is being replaced with the swipe of a keycard or the use of a combination code to unlock a shared bicycle. What the riders may not realize is that they are participating in something much larger, a major shift in our transportation and energy systems.

When Pittsburgh opened its bike-share program last Sunday, the number of operational systems in the United States reached 58, with a combined fleet of close to 32,000 bicycles. Other U.S. cities that have launched programs this spring include Philadelphia; Dayton, Ohio; Fargo, N.D.; and Topeka, Kan.

The largest in the United States is in New York City, where 6,000 bicycles can be picked up and returned at hundreds of stations throughout lower Manhattan. It took the No. 1 spot from bike- sharing pioneer Washington, D.C. Since Washington's program opened in 2010, new bike lanes have popped up throughout the capital city, and the number of workers commuting by bicycle has doubled.

It is difficult to find an American city now that is not at least exploring bikes as a public transportation option. Within the next couple of years, the number of shared bikes on U.S. streets will likely double as large programs are added in places like Honolulu and Los Angeles and as existing programs expand.

The San Francisco Bay area, for instance, is looking to enlarge its bike-sharing program tenfold from 700 to 7,000 bicycles. And New York plans to expand throughout the city to 12,000 bikes. Taking the basic bike-sharing model a step further, Birmingham, Ala., plans to offer some electrically assisted bikes when it opens its program this fall, helping riders to conquer hills more comfortably.

Bike-sharing is attractive to young people who are not as enamored with cars as their parents were. Local economies benefit when more people move around on two wheels, remaining part of the urban landscape instead of just passing through it in a sealed-up car. Colleges and universities, often hard-pressed to provide parking, also are starting to embrace bike-sharing. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.