Bench Residents Ignored By Bike Plan

Bicycle kiosk, part of the Velib,  bike transit system in Paris, France.

Bicycle kiosk, part of the Velib, bike transit system in Paris, France.

Boise City and Valley Transit plan to spend at least $650,000 in equipment and “stations” to start a 140 bike share program which ignores the vast majority of the city and its citizens.

But hey, when you are talking $4,642 per bike you can’t trust them to those lower income Bench Dwellers. We need a vibrant downtown and since most of downtown is either tax-exempt or has taxes diverted, those southwest residents are needed to pay the bills.

While the City, BSU, and the Health Department have pledged a mere $118,000 for the program, about $325,000 will come from the deeply indebted United States Government’s Highway Administration agency–the same sugar daddy used to move the “Big Mike” locomotive from Julia Davis Park to The Depot.

Not to be confused with the infamous “yellow bikes” or other share programs, this one depends upon 14 “stations” where riders can swipe a credit card to ride for 30 minutes free or pay extra for more time. Bike access can also be purchased through “memberships” for specific time periods up to a year.

According to the STATESMAN report, each station–all in the downtown area–will cost between $20,000 and $30,000.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. David B. Hall
    Dec 27, 2013, 2:10 pm

    What a completely foolish idea. This city is ran by morons.

    I guess I should have campaigned harder for the office of Mayor in the last election as the inattentiveness to the Bench and these stupid feel good projects are going to be the method of ongoing waste and contention proliferated by the current administration.

  2. I am also impressed that the ACHD will be reducing 27th Street to two traffic lanes to permit new bicycle lanes. This will permit easier access for bicycles within the 30 minutes of North-end riding before additional fees are incurred.

    It appears that the more-scenic Whitewater Park Boulevard will be twice the distance, as compared to State Street, for cars and bicycles to cover from Main Street to State Street. Probably inadequate time to cover in the 30 allotted minutes per ride. I wonder if ACHD could place a $30,000 bike rack near the ponds to permit a new bike exchange to keep user fees down. It is only taxpayer’s money.

  3. A ridiculous plan!

    As long as Dave Fotsch gets a taxpayer paycheck (from VRT) this failure will most likely proceed into existence. Just like Kelli Fairless (buses), some people get paid to operate things into the ground.
    Valley Ride Buses does not make a net income.
    Commuteride (ACHD) does not make a net income.
    And Boise bike share will not make a net income.

    No metropolitan bikeshare program currently makes a profit.

    It is not “just the $700,00 in start-ups costs” for Boise. Boise Bikeshare will continue to lose taxdollars every year.

    “Fotsch is hoping for 1,000 members in the first year “? Based on what? His dream?

    Denver with the longest lived Bikeshare program (2010). It was negative $241,000 in year 2012, with 2,734 members in a city population of more than 600,000. Denver’s bikeshare program has over 500 bikes and 50 stations to entice those 2,734 members. Boise wants 35 bikes in 7 stations.

    Omaha NE, with population 400,000+, launched a bikeshare program in 2011. Omaha Bshare has 376 members for the end of 2013; in 2012 they had 90 members. A 286 person increase in one year for a city much bigger than Boise, with 8 bike stations, and much more distributed than Boise’s current plan. 376 members- and Fotsch thinks Boise can do 1,000 in the first year? B>S>!
    Although, maybe there are a 1,000 stupid people in Downtown Boise- better start the program when the Legislature is in session.

    As planned, this will likely cause nonbicycle people to dislike the bicycle community even more.
    Much like working people dislike welfare people; like vegetarians dislike farmer subsidies… and so on.

  4. Bench?
    The initial plan leaves out the ALL of Boise except 4 blocks of Downtown.

    This is being lead by Valley Ride, not Boise or ACHD; although, certainly with agreement from them.

  5. Will they also be renting Lycra shorts, and Tour de France replica jerseys? They are so cool!!!

    EDITOR NOTE–Shoogi, the bicycle folks have no sense of humor when it comes to Lycra. I once went to a shop and asked for a pair of Lycra shorts in size 48 and the scrawny little guy just laughed at me.

  6. modern columbo
    Dec 27, 2013, 6:40 pm

    This program is completely ridiculous. As a cyclist I NEVER ride downtown. Downtown Boise is not cycling friendly and will lead to most use being on the sidewalk. Chicago has the same model as that proposed by Boise. They have nearly 10 times the population and their system has 1400 bicycles. They had barely over 1000 members pay the annual fee. They will be 23 million in taxpayers pockets this year. Boise does not need this. Those who are willing to ride a bike here already have bikes. We don’t have parking issues where you save a bunch of money on parking fees. The locations and time constraints won’t work. What if the kiosk is full with only 10 racks? Do you have to find someplace else to avoid additional cost? what about helmets? what if you get a flat? The cost per bike is astonishing. The startup cost is 7000 dollars per bike and the annual cost per bike will be over 2000. They will charge anybody not turning in a bike 1200 dollars. You can buy a new 3 or 5 speed commuter bike for between 700 and 900 dollars. The 10 year cost being around 4 million dollars. For all this we could just buy 500 nice new commuter bikes each year and throw them around the city to be used and the cost would be less and I guarantee more than 140 of them would be regularly used around town. Please find a way to stop this madness.

  7. TeamDave has dreams of catching O’bamis’ attention and getting an appointment to some token, but well paid, post. Criteria for such appointments under the O’bamis administration are primarily to do with wasting money on hopeless social projects or green projects.

  8. Grumpy ole guy
    Dec 27, 2013, 7:58 pm

    I like the concept of a bike share program; but, as always, the Devil is in the details. I also wonder about the limits of the program as proposed program. Why the down-town only orientation. Why not include the mall, BSU, the Branch Libraries and similar public venues such as the old pen., Shakespeare, etc. If the plan is for the PUBLIC, make it for the public, otherwise it is for the commercial interests and that should be admitted and supported by them.

  9. $4,642.00 per bike is cheap by government standards. This is just the beginning as they will no doubt have to hire several people to oversee this program and probably a few more to repair and keep the bikes in road worthy condition.

    I wonder if the bikes come with “lojack” features when the street people once again make off with these bikes.

  10. What a waste of taxpayer dollars! Who approved this mess?! Just another scheme to give someone’s friends a job. How much is this Fotsch guy getting paid???? Any way to find out?

  11. Bike shares have been wildly successful (measured by utilization) in some cities… not so much in others. Since taxpayer dollars are apparently going to finance it, it’s nice to know that we (taxpayers) are once again in the black, and flush with surplus funds… right? (Yeah, right!)

    My ONLY objections to this experiment (and it is indeed an experiment):
    1) The government subsidy it will take to get it off the ground, and for ongoing operation. The proponents should line up some benevolent and deep-pockets sponsors (like NYC got CitiBank and Mastercard). Their bike share (CitiBike) is one of the world’s biggest… taxpayer outlay is $0.
    2) The very limited geographic scope. I’m with you – why will it only serve the core of town?

    [A side note: I’m starting to really regret that David B. Hall isn’t our mayor! Shame on us for not electing him! nudge-nudge, wink-wink]

  12. If bike share can be integrated with boise state, the hotels and many downtown businesses. I think it will be a nice option to have. I understand that is costs tax payers money (that we don’t have), but I am willing to see how it plays out.

  13. Bikeboy, when you say “wildly successful” what is your metric for that? Users? Cost? % of population using it? or just the liberal belief that a bikeshare program is successful?

    If they were truly successful, every town over x population would have one.

    Keep in mind Denver was the first one done (2010) in this model– So it’s like saying you have a “successful” 3 year toddler.

    We can also add the first Washington DC attempt at bikeshare as a failure.

    Is our bus system successful?
    It runs on schedule!
    It must be a success!

  14. Easterner:

    Wildly successful? I tried to clarify by adding “utilization.” To further clarify… percentage of time the bikes are being ridden, as opposed to sitting in the racks.

    If the ValleyRide buses were running on time and jam-packed and getting citizens where they need to go and when they need to be there, I’d describe it as successful, even though it would still be operating “in the red.”

  15. Mr.Bieter is still trying to get a lasting legacy, so if we called them “Bieters Bikes” would he quit trying for non functional bus programs?

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