Bike share pilot program unanimously approved by Calgary City Council

Jul 24 2018, 7:42 pm

Calgary just became even more bikeable now that City Council has passed a notice of motion for a bike share pilot project.

In a letter published on the City of Calgary website, Ward 8 Councillor Evan Woolley provided detail on what a bike share system would look like in the city, and how it could potentially be implemented.

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“Steadily over the past four years, more and more Calgarians have been choosing their bike to get to and from work, school, or whatever errand they have to run,” Woolley stated.

“Now, with established bike infrastructure in place, I’ve been hearing from quite a few people about ‘how great it would be to have a bike share program in our city’ and I couldn’t agree more.”

Woolley introduced a notice of motion at Monday’s City Council meeting to kickstart a two-year bike share pilot program, which was passed unanimously by all city councillors.

The pilot program is set to start as early as this September, and will see upwards of 10,000 shared bikes on Calgary’s pathways by 2020.

Council will then reconvene to decide whether they would like to keep the bike share system, eliminate it, or expand it.

The pilot program could potentially be run by LimeBike, a California-based company that operates programs in San Francisco, Berlin, Chicago, and 70 other cities around the world.

One of the things that Woolley stressed the most in his letter is that the program would come at zero cost to Calgarians.

“Potential operators like Lime Bike will be assuming the full cost of implementing and running the pilot over 24 months,” he said in the letter.

“This also represents a huge opportunity for job creation in Calgary and would require leasing significant warehouse space across the city.”

The dockless bikes would differ somewhat from what is seen with Vancouver’s Mobi bike share system, which features docks placed around downtown where riders can start and stop a trip — meaning that if the dock is a few blocks away from your eventual destination, you’ll have to walk the last leg of the journey.

Victoria, BC recently implemented their own dockless bike share program, wherein riders can find the bikes around the city through an app working with GPS locators on the bikes themselves. Riders then simply lock their bike once they’ve made it to their destination (if it is in the home zone, that is) and leave it there until it is used by another rider.

According to Woolley, Calgary’s system may fall somewhere in between, as instead of one all-encompassing home zone, there may instead be designated zones (or “havens”) where bikes can be locked.

“Now, with the proliferation of our bike lanes and cycle tracks, along with steady increases in ridership, I think now is the time to take a step forward and try this out,” Woolley said.

Implementing a bike share system is one of the 50 actions in the Council-approved Cycling Strategy, and City Council has already done some research into the feasibility of implementing such a system.

DH Calgary StaffDH Calgary Staff

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