By Pat Sherman
La Jolla resident Ed Clancy, who serves as the City of San Diego’s program manager for bicycle initiatives, recently gave the La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) a presentation on a new bike-sharing program coming to San Diego and La Jolla in February 2014.
The San Diego City Council approved the city entering into a corporate partnership agreement with DecoBke, which would finance, implement, manage and operate the program for 10 years.
Under the program, bikes are secured at kiosks and can be rented using a credit or debit card. When done riding, users park bikes at any kiosk throughout the city. Similar programs have been implemented in Denver, San Francisco and Washington.
An announcement from City Council President Todd Gloria said bike sharing would be an integral piece of San Diego’s transit tapestry, allowing people to “take the trolley, Coaster, or Bus Rapid Transit from other areas of the county into downtown, and use bike sharing to explore areas or get to meetings and events that aren’t within easy walking distance from transit.”
Clancy told LJVMA, “What we’re working on is connectivity between neighborhoods and communities.”
The city is seeking input on where to locate kiosks, many of which will be on a sidewalk or at the edge of the street at existing curbs painted red, yellow or white. They would be situated so that they are not blocking fire hydrants or handicap-access ramps, nor creating blind spots for drivers.
“We want to support business. It’s environmentally friendly and it’s good for (people’s) health — but we’re not going to do that by compromising parking spots or the integrity of the neighborhoods,” Clancy said.
People may purchase annual or monthly memberships, or rent bikes by the hour at any of the solar-powered kiosks. Riders with memberships would get an hour or half-hour of each day’s ride for free, and be charged an hourly rental of $12-$14 per hour afterwards. Memberships would be about $125 per year.
The program will include as many as 2,200 bicycles and as many as 220 kiosks — 12 to 15 of them in La Jolla, Clancy said.
LJVMA Board President Phil Coller suggested a kiosk be located outside the La Jolla Visitor Information Center at 1162 Prospect St. Clancy said the red curb across the street from the center would be a likely choice for a kiosk.
Coller said that while most visitors are familiar with Prospect Street, the ability to rent bikes would encourage people to “be more adventurous” and visit other portions of the Village.
The bikes would be available in three-speed and shaft-driven models.
People checking out bikes for those under the age of 18 will be responsible to assure they wear a helmet while riding, as required by law. Each bike basket will include a safety checklist.
In the future, the city will establish a website where the public can suggest locations for kiosks, and hold town hall forums where people can view the bicycles and kiosks. In the meantime, comments or suggestions can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org