Back in July, we referred to a European Cyclists’ Federation Report, that talked about both “push” and “pull” measures to increase cycling. One of the main pull measures is to have a bike share scheme: international experience shows that having a “Boris Bike” scheme does wonders to increase the amount of cycling in a city.
And now another city joins the ranks of the world-wide bike share schemes. This time it is Santa Monica in California, with their “Breeze Bikes” sponsored by local TV streaming company Hulu.
On the morning of November 12, Main Street in front of City Hall was shut down to cars, making way for the 500 brand new bike-share bicycles. Hundreds of community members took part in the massive roll out. As the green ribbon was cut, over 200 cyclists rode down Main Street and on to their destinations around Santa Monica.
“Today is a long-awaited landmark moment for alternative transportation in our city,” said Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown. “Our residents and visitors now have an easily accessible way to get around town without creating traffic or having to deal with parking. Our Breeze bikes can take you on your daily trips and connect you with other modes of transportation in a way that’s convenient, fast, and fun.”
Adding support and their name to the first bike share system in Southern California is Santa Monica-based company Hulu.
“Hulu is proud to bring the city of Santa Monica a greener, cleaner way to get around town,” said Jenny Wall, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Hulu. “Breeze Bike Share, presented by Hulu, is going to benefit locals, visitors and people who work in the city, including our very own Hulu team members.”
Breeze bikes can be found at any of 75 hubs throughout Santa Monica, and five more that will soon be sited in neighbouring Venice. In addition, network maps are conveniently located on all hub signs, which also include the City’s growing network of bike lanes and designated bikeway streets to help the community make the most of their bike share experience.
“Bringing bike share to fruition in our region has been a longstanding goal for myself and the many dedicated folks here today,” said Assembly member Richard Bloom. “Santa Monica has long been on the forefront of sustainable practices and opening this cutting edge bike share system is a testament to that.”
The Breeze Bike Share system has been designed to serve residents, businesses and key destinations citywide with a convenient, active transportation option. Bike share is an important component in the City’s overall strategy to offer the community sustainable alternatives to vehicle trips to reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Our city’s transportation landscape is going to be transformed dramatically,” said Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole. “The launch of Breeze Bike Share, presented by Hulu, is the first piece of the mobility solutions to improve circulation in Santa Monica. Now people have an easy way to connect to our Big Blue Bus, and the Expo light rail coming next spring.”
Breeze Bike Share, owned by the City of Santa Monica and operated by CycleHop, LLC, will provide 500 public bicycles at 75 stations throughout the city and select locations in nearby Venice. Breeze bicycles offer flexibility for one-way bike rides to get around town in a fun, healthy and environmentally-friendly way and achieve the Santa Monica community’s goals to reduce car trips and GHG emissions. Payment options include “pay-as-you-go” at $1/10 minutes, and monthly or annual membership rates that offer huge savings.
What also interests me is that the 2013 population of Santa Monica was just 92,472 – or considerably smaller than towns and cities around East Anglia, such as Chelmsford, Ipswich and Norwich. But I’d better not hold my breath till a bike share scheme of comparable scale starts in any of these locations!
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