Biking through Orange County’s canyons, along the beachside trails and in the lanes that parallel our streets, is a reminder that transportation doesn’t necessarily require four wheels.
In Southern California especially, we are blessed with year-round weather that promotes the active lifestyle of cycling. And with more than 1,000 miles of bikeways in our county and an additional 700 miles planned, biking to work has emerged as a viable alternative to driving.
Utilizing bicycles as a commuting option is gaining more appeal around the world with 136 bike-sharing programs reported to be in place in 2011. The U.S. claims a fraction of those, and aside from some university and large employer programs, California has no bike sharing options.
At Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), we are preparing to implement a bike-sharing program, providing the public with the benefits commuting by bike can offer, and ultimately, taking cars off the road, easing traffic and improving the environment.
Successful bike-sharing systems are located in medium- or high-density areas like the ones in place in Washington, D.C.; Boston; Denver and Philadelphia. They create connectivity between transit hubs, business centers, tourist destinations and housing.
Keeping with industry best practices, OCTA is beginning our pilot program in Fullerton, a city of nearly 140,000 and home to California State University, Fullerton and Fullerton College, a pedestrian-friendly downtown with a transit hub and transit-oriented development. It has the bikeways, density and local support needed.
The initial program is envisioned to be comprised of 15 stations and 150 bicycles with annual, monthly, weekly and daily subscriptions available. OCTA is currently in the process of hiring a firm to implement the pilot program, which is anticipated to roll out this summer.
The city of Anaheim, located in Orange County, also is planning to implement a pilot bike-sharing program this year. The system will serve major activity and destination centers that could include the convention center, Angel Stadium of Anaheim and the Disneyland Resort.
As commuters continue to explore this healthy, money-saving alternative, they will look to transit agencies and municipalities to lead the bike-to-work movement and introduce bike-sharing programs in their communities.
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Read our METRO blog, "Bus deaths prompt uneasy questions about responsibility" here.
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