Bike Sharing in Urban Jacksonville?

January 14, 2011 18 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

To combat traffic congestion for an affordable cost, Miami Beach is betting big on an overlooked form of transit: bike sharing. Could such a program work in walkable areas of Jacksonville?

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Bike Sharing in Miami Beach

Following the successful examples of Barcelona, Montreal and Paris, Miami Beach is in the process of building one of America's most extensive bicycle-sharing programs.

Set up as a public/private partnership with DecoBike, the city will provide the sidewalk and street space for stations, while DecoBike will foot the bill for 1,000 bicycles and 100 self-service stations. Profits generated by memberships, rentals and advertising will be split between the city and DecoBike.

The fee structure is designed to encourage short trips for transportation. A $15 monthly membership, available online, covers an unlimited number of rentals. The first 30 minutes of any rental -- usually enough to reach a destination -- are free. After that, the fee can reach $6 an hour, depending on total time. Short-term rentals and discounted passes are available for visitors.

The concept is that users would check out a bike to get from home to, say, the bank or the store, where they return it at a DecoBike rack. Then they would check out another bike to head for home or their next destination.

"The idea is to get you from station to station, so that you never have to lock up the bike on your own time,'' Reese said.

In addition to bike sharing, the City of Miami Beach is also in the process of instituting an interconnected network of on-street bike lanes and designated bikeways to improve safety and convenience.  While Jacksonville isn't as dense or congested as Miami Beach, could a smaller sized bike share program be viable in certain areas of Jacksonville?