Emanuel Calls For Large-Scale Bike-Sharing Program

UPDATED 03/15/12 – 10:19 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants the city to hire an Oregon-based company to run the city’s first large-scale bike sharing program, which he proposed at the City Council meeting Wednesday.

The city wants to offer people an affordable option for extra transportation, for instance, during the last leg of their trips downtown by bike.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, the city already has a limited, privately-run bike-sharing program, but the mayor wants to team with Oregon-based Alta Bicycle Share Inc. to launch a massive effort in Chicago.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

The mayor is seeking to have 3,000 available at 300 bike sharing stations in the city.

For an annual fee of $60 to $85, people could have unlimited rides of up to 30 minutes at a time, or pay a small hourly rate beyond that.

Emanuel also wants a component to train young people to fix bikes.

“What I’m also excited about because, A, I had something to do with it and I made the suggestion; but it’s also going to be different than others. We’re actually going to have an apprentice program for kids to learn how to fix bikes.

“Kids in disadvantaged communities will get the chance of learning a trade and a skill that will be, actually, make them employable. I’ve studied what London did, I’ve studied what D.C. has done. No other city, at least of those two, have what we’re doing,” Emanuel said.

The mayor would like the program to begin by this summer.

Alta was selected unanimously over two other candidates, by a committee composed of representatives of the Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago Department of Procurement Services, and the Chicago Department of Transportation.

The solar-powered bicycle docking stations would be placed about a quarter mile apart in congested areas of the city. The stations will be modular and mobile, and thus can be expanded or moved if necessary, the Mayor’s office said.

The program will be funded initially by federal grants intended for programs to reduce traffic congestion and improve the quality of the air.

Chicago smaller-scale’s “B-Cycle” bike sharing program launched in July 2010, under retired Mayor Richard M. Daley. That program offers rental bicycles at a number of tourist locations.

  • This is SO stupid!

    There IS a transportation system that’s already in place. It’s called the C.T.A. Why does he keep shoving all these “ideas” down everybody’s throats without giving anybody the chance to say ………………………I-don’t-know……um…….NO? Don’t waste our tax dollars on another STUPID program that’s doomed to fail. Fix the real problems that we already have and stop wasting our money trying to make a family of 3 rent 3 bicycles instead of taking ONE cab or bus!

    • German Leprechaun

      It’s part of the huge fraud called the GREEN AGENDA! We must SAVE THE PLANET!!

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/03/14/emanuel-drastically-scales-back-speed-camera-plan/ Emanuel Drastically Scales Back Speed Camera Plan « CBS Chicago

    […] Mayor Emanuel introduced a plan for a large-scale bicycle sharing program on Chicago. Under the plan, Portland, Ore.-based Alta Bicycle Share Inc. would put out 3,000 bicycles and […]

  • German Leprechaun

    Can’t wait for Queen Rahm and her brood to strap on their little bicycle helmets for the requisite photo op!!

  • Idontcareaboutyourcar

    I can’t believe these comments. People with such ideas use computers? Why don’t you go back to pencil and paper instead? You are obviously not for anything that doesn’t involve your fat car. Go to a drive threw and get yourself some donuts won’t you?!
    I thank Rahm for the new bike program… thanks for giving me the option to not be like these cavemen

    • Jeff

      Name calling does not help the cause. Posts like your’s are the problem not the solution.

  • BobS

    I do believe there is at least one Bicycle manufacturer right here in Illinois, why not give them the business?

  • tom sharp

    This is much ado about nothing. if it’s run correctly (HA HA HA) it shouldn’t cost much. In any case, it won’t help much–just look at the weather here, the program won’t work at least 4 months a year unless your a masochist. Can’t wait until that family of three finds a thunderstorm greeting them when they leave the movie. In short, there won’t be tens of thousands flocking to the bike exchange!

  • This is STILL stupid

    Looks like “Idontcareaboutyourcar” will be the only one on those taxpayer-funded bikes along with the Mayor. For the record, I paid for my own bike with MY OWN money,(not yours) and I have a CTA transit card in my pocket. I don’t use the “drive thru” window but I do use a PEN with my paper. So I get to check the spelling on my comments before posting them. The light in my cave is pretty good……….

  • Max

    This idea is brilliant!!! I’m all for it. When I travelled to Paris, Barcelona, and Madrid this past year, the best feature of those cities was the easy access to bike transportation. There was less traffic on the streets and people lived a healthier lifestyle. Also this could bring down the downtown parking costs ….less cars means less business for these parking lots that are just ripping people off. If you have less cars in the lots then they will push prices down to generate more business. Its a win win for the people of Chicago.

    • Pat

      Bike sharing in Europe is a money loser for the companies running, Our city is broke. We don’t need a money losing business when people can ride their own bike. And most tourist will not rent bike for transportation, but for recreation. And we have bike rental companies to accommodate them

  • jeff schneider

    Our system will be much like the one in Montreal (a city with much longer and colder winters, BTW). There, it’s very successful. The bikes are tough and tough to steal. The internet makes it possible to check on your iPhone for nearby stations, and see if it has bikes available or spaces available to leave a bike. Until you actually use one of these systems, it’s easy to dismiss it. Once you try it, you see how clever and convenient it really is.

    • Joey

      I immediately thought of Montreal. I have had two bikes stolen, so I don’t use my bike as much as I used to. I use it more for pleasure now.

      The other thing about Montreal is the notion that the bike deserves an equal place on the streets. I applaud Mayor Emanuel’s efforts to improve the situation for bike riders in Chicago, as well.

      I am not sure how cost effective it will be. I do think it will be good for the city, however.

  • Miguel Rivera

    What a waste of federal tax dollars. At least $17 trillion and counting. I am thinking similar to someone that is badly broke. Buying a large plasma tv.

    • Jeff Schneider

      The big waste is spending more money to move big, expensive, gas hungry cars around. Car infrastructure is the most expensive transportation expenditure the taxpayers make. Bike infrastructure is the cheapest. If you want to save tax dollars, get people to consider getting from A to B without dragging along two tons of metal.

      • Pat

        This will not change peoples habit. We already have a bike sharing program and the CTA. You think suburbanites are going cycle from the suburbs, Bike Sharing is a money loser for the operators. Without government subsidies the would fail. Our city is broke, we cannot afford to subsidize a losing business. Oh and the current private operator lost money last year

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