Supervisor will introduce a resolution calling for MTA to use planned pilot program to launch broader program,

Starting this year, San Francisco will participate in a bike-sharing pilot program that will service a small portion of the downtown core of the city. At today's Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Scott Wiener will introduce a resolution calling for the Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA) to build off this pilot to implement a city-wide, full-scale bike-sharing system by 2014.

"All over the world, cities are recognizing the tremendous value of city-wide bike-share programs in reducing traffic, improving public transit and stimulating the local economy," said Supervisor Wiener. "Here in San Francisco, we should be doing everything we can to establish and start reaping the benefits from a full-scale bike share program."

San Francisco's pilot program will include an initial 35 stations and 350 bikes located within the downtown core of the city. In comparison, New York City's initial roll-out will include 600 stations and 10,000 bikes, Chicago will include 400 stations and 4,000 bikes, and Portland will include 400 stations and 4,000 bikes. Both Washington D.C. and Boston have been successful transitioning bike share programs that began in urban core to a broader city-wide effort. 

"We are excited to move forward with the first phase of our bike sharing program this summer and get more people on bikes in San Francisco," said Ed Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. "This initial phase is the first step in using bike sharing to expand bicycle use throughout the city and the region by making it easier to access and more fun."

Bike sharing has been successful in Europe and Asia when implemented on a full city-wide scale. The Velib system in Paris, which consists of over 20,000 bikes and 1,800 stations, reduced traffic in the city by 5% in its first year. A March 2010 study found that in Hangzhou, where there are over 60,000 bikes in the program, 78% of car owners used bike share for trips previously taken by car. 

Bike share programs are also economic boosters that create jobs and encouraging spending at local businesses.  In Montreal, the city's Bixi system is linked to 400 jobs. A study of the Minnesota bike share program found that on average, each bike share trip generates $7 for the local economy. A survey of the Washington, D.C. metro region found that 44% of respondents used bike share to make at least one trip in a month that they would not have made had bike share not been available, almost all of which were for shopping, eating and entertainment. 

"A full-scale bike share system will open up the joys of bicycling to everyone in San Francisco, while also increasing access to local businesses, relieving crowding on transit, and sealing our reputation as a leading city of innovation," said Leah Shahum, Executive Director, SF Bicycle Coalition. 

Bike-sharing programs give residents access to publicly usable bicycles at stations spaced through urban areas. These programs are often the product of public-private sponsorships, like in London where Barclays has sponsored the bike-share program. New York City and Los Angeles will both be launching city-wide bike sharing systems with no public funding by engaging private sponsors.

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