Why the Number of Bicycles on Pasadena Streets is Likely to Soar

New Metro Bike Share launch could mean an additional 400 cyclists on city streets every day

Published : Friday, June 2, 2017 | 5:05 AM

Metro will open 31 bikesharing kiosks across Pasadena in July. For complete map, see: https://bikeshare.metro.net/stations/

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority bike sharing program will launch officially in Pasadena on Friday, July 14. If statistics on bikesharing use collected by Metro hold true for Pasadena, city streets could see an additional 400 cyclists on city streets every day.

Image: Metro

The rollout this summer of 400 bicycles is expected to see 31 kiosks from the Arroyo Seco on the west to Allen Avenue on the east, and from Hammond Street on the north down to Fillmore Street on the south.

This just the latest in a string of Metro Bike Sharing programs rolling out across the region this year. But combined, the region’s bike share expansions will result in approximately 1,400 bicycles at up to 125 stations across LA County.

In Pasadena, it is estimated that there will be a minimum of at least one trip per bicycle per day as Metro riders detrain and grab the easily-accessible bikes to take to the streets — and some of those riders might be either inexperienced at riding city streets, or just a little rusty.

But Metro, along with a host of City leaders and bike advocates, is feeling positive over the new wheels.

“The Metro Bike Share program offers a unique, shared economy means of transportation that is both economical and good for the environment by providing bikes as new mobility options that get people out of their cars for short trips around our beautiful city,” said Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek.

“Even more Angelenos can rent these bicycles for short trips as well as to make first mile, last mile connections to Metro’s robust bus and rail system,” added John Fasana, Metro Board Chair and Mayor Pro-Tem of the city of Duarte.

In Pasadena, Metro and its contractor, Bicycle Transit Systems, Inc., will install 31 stations throughout the city. Key destinations accessible via bike sharing will include Old Pasadena, Paseo Colorado, the Playhouse District, South Lake Avenue, Levitt Pavilion (Memorial Park) and Pasadena City College. Another key Pasadena destination will be the Rose Bowl. Riders traveling to and from stadium events will be able to take advantage of a bike sharing station there.

“Pasadena is a very bike-friendly city,” said Pasadena Police Department Lt. Mark Goodman, who added, “Our streets are bike-ready, and we encourage the use of bicycles. We encourage cyclists to take to the roads, to obey the rules of the road, and wear a helmet.” Goodman also noted that bicyclists could be cited for vehicle violations, but added that it is “not commonplace, because most bicyclists, for the most part, observe the rules of the road here.”

Goodman said he didn’t see a problem with the sudden increase in the number of bicycles and bicycle trips in the city, and joked, “As long as it’s not 400 bicycles going down the same road at the same time. That might present a problem.”

“I think it’s a great development,” said Haley Stepp, local cycling advocate, and member of Complete Streets Coalition Pasadena, who added, cautiously, “I think the primary people who are going to be using the bikeshare program are going to be not so much experienced cyclists. Users will most likely be people who don’t ride a bike normally.”

Stepp is naturally optimistic about the program, saying, “We really need to get more people on bikes and that’s a good way to do it. A lot of people can’t afford a bike, and so having a program like that will allow people to try bikes and will really give people more options for transportation.”

Stepp continued, “If you don’t have a car it’s just a pain to get anywhere. Having something like the bikeshare system will potentially really help to close the gap between the train systems, the bus systems and help people who don’t have a car get from one place to another.”

Stepp also noted that his employer, Pasadena Cyclery, offers Sunday morning weekly rides for beginners to learn how to ride safely through City streets, how to use hand signals and more.

If anything, Stepp’s concerns have less to do with safety and more with access to transportation. Said Stepp, “My concerns are if it’s going to be affordable to all levels of people and if the locations are going to be in places where people of a variety of income levels and demographics can access them. Obviously we need more bike infrastructure and we need to put in more bike lanes. We need to have reduced speed limits on some of the streets–we need to do all of these things. At the same time, if the cyclists show up then that will create the feedback loop.”

But safe cycling advocate and organizer for Ride in Silence, Thomas Cassidy, is very aware of the safety challenges for both new and experienced riders, saying, “The only challenge is how do the bikes and the cars and the people coexist? Safety is going to be paramount.”

Wes Reutimann, Executive Director of Bike SGV noted, however, that “Bikeshare actually has a really stellar safety record.”

As Reutimann explained, “The bikes tend to be very heavy and very durable and they all have built in LED lights on them so they’re more visible than your average bike out there. They also tend not to be ridden at as high of speeds because they are kind of a heavier duty build. Those things lend themselves to more cautious riding and more visible riding practices.” Reutimann also noted that his group, Bike Sgv, also holds free bicycle and training workshops.

Information about the classes is available at http://www.bikesgv.org/bike-classes.html.

Once the program launches, each bike station would have a kiosk to accommodate any of the three available rental options by credit or debit card. A monthly pass is projected to cost riders $20 a month. An unlimited number of trips of 30 minutes or less would be covered by the monthly pass, and additional 30 minute increments would cost $1.75 each, under the current proposal.

Flex passes would run $40 per year and all trips would cost $1.75 for every 30 minute increment. Walk-ups would have no monthly charge or yearly fee. Riders would pay a flat $3.50 for 30 minute increments.

“The whole idea is to integrate the existing Metro card and its users with the bike share program for a seamless transfer,” said L.A. Metro Principal Transportation Planner Jenny Cristales-Cevallos.

 

 

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