Our long time two wheeler expert, Steve Hulme (aka Bikeboy) offers up his views on a new government spending spree for Boise bikes.
By Steve Hulme
The CCDC, in cahoots with the Central District Health Dept., are hoping to start upa bike-sharing program in Boise.
On the surface, it sounds laudable… 140 bikes at 10-15 different secure”stations” around town–mostly downtown extending out around BSU, and to the North End. You swipe your membership tag, or bankcard in the case of out-of-towners, and you release a shared bike. You ride and ride, and then turn your bike in at any of the 10-15 stations to release yourself from liability for the bike. Depending on how long you’ve used it, you pay rent.
In big cities, “members” get a half-hour of use for free, and then it’s a few bucks per hour. Members pay a $55-85 annual fee. Visitors would just be charged the per-hour fee for the time they had the bike out.
Fantastic, huh? Promotes health… cements our reputation as being “bike friendly,”gives tourists an easy way to ride the Greenbelt.
But here’s the rub. The startup money is likely to be $650,000. And that kind ofmoney doesn’t grow on trees… but it might as well; they’ve asked the federalTransportation Department to give it to ’em. And of course, it would go onto the backs of the taxpayers. Or doesn’t it count, if it’s our federal taxes?
Here’s another point of interest… they did a study to determine the viability and decide where the bike stations should be located. They looked at 6 cities with existing bike-shares: Montreal, Minneapolis/St.Paul, DC Metro, Boston, Denver, and Miami.
What makes Boise different from them? Well, the comparison cities range in size from 400,000 (Miami) on up, and the metro populations range from 2.5 million(Denver) on up. I question whether Boise has the population base or density to
realistically compare with those places, or support a bike share program, even if we are “a bike-friendly city,” as stated by Karen Sanders of the Downtown Boise Association.
I’m not confident that my grandkids and their grandkids want to pay for a bike-sharing program for us, today.
It’s like nobody “in power” gives a rip about the $15 trillion debt – let’s just spend more!
EDITOR NOTE–Paris was the first place to start the bike vending program and it has caught on worldwide.
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