Friday, April 20, 2012

Bike Share: An Emerging Transit Option

Contributed By Whitney E. Gray

Transit is an ever-evolving industry as transportation agencies, human-service organizations and for-profit companies meet the mobility needs of people both with and without disabilities. Americans are living longer, working longer and often getting around without a car and the increasing number of transportation options is helping to make this possible.

Bike share programs are one of the more recent transportation options in development and in use across the country. In March 2012 planners, operators and other professionals from cities with bike share programs or interested in developing bike share programs gathered for a 2-day workshop, Bike Share in the United States: Lessons Learned and Emerging Best Practices for Integrating Public Transportation and Planning in Washington, D.C. Planners and staff from Washington, D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare, Denver, Colo.’s B-cycle and Minneapolis, Minn.’s Nice Ride Minnesota shared best practices; representatives from cities - such as Portland, Ore.; San Francisco, Calif. and New York City, N.Y. - shared their plans to develop bike share programs.

With an expected trial launch in two months, New York City’s bike share program was developed after an extensive public involvement process. Kate Fillin-Yeh from the New York City Department of Transportation described the efforts to meet with each neighborhood in the bike share program’s area and listen to residents’ suggestions, concerns and other input regarding the program and stop locations. In addition to a poster used in discussions about the program, a copy of the map that was brought to each neighborhood meeting was shared by Fillin-Yeh. Residents could suggest new stops by using sticky-notes on this map or raise questions about currently planned stops. The map included a legend for who had suggested each stop location (e.g., Public via Web Portal, Community Board/Elected Official, Business Improvement District/Landowner/Other). Fillin-Yeh stressed the importance of these neighborhood meetings in creating a successful program that residents would support.

Some attendees shared that people with disabilities had become involved in their bike share planning processes. For instance, an Americans with Disabilities Act advocate in Denver, Colo. worked to help get adult tricycles as part of the bike share system. In Los Angeles County, Calif., which is developing a bike share program, an ADA coordinator attended their recent first meeting. Another participant suggested that electric bikes could be helpful for people who have knee problems, such as older adults.

As transit options expand, so do opportunities for people with disabilities to get involved with the planning process and other input opportunities. For more information on inclusive meetings, check out ESPA’s Including People with Disabilities in Coordinated Plans and Including People with Disabilities: Meeting and Etiquette Guide as well as the upcoming publication Effective Transportation Advisory Committees: Creating a Group that Reflects All Community Voices
NYC DOT Legend for Bikeshare Map
NYC DOT Map of Proposed Bikeshare Locations

1 comment: