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  #41  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2012, 3:13 PM
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snow is one thing, ice is quite another. i'm a year round bike commuter here in chicago, but when ice season comes around, i won't roll unless i have the safety and security of my my studded winter tires on my winter bike. i had taken some nasty spills on ice in the past before i got wise about studded winter tires.

but the whole winter bike thing in cold winter cities does bring up the problem of what people who become accustomed to using these bike share systems are supposed to for the 4-5 months when they're shut-down. real transportation solutions need to be available all year long, because people's lives go on all year long.
People will deal with it as they always do. Lots of cyclists in Chicago currently only ride during the warmer months and drive or take transit during winter.

I think bikesharing isn't really well-suited for commuting in Chicago unless you live in the central area or you ride into the central area using transit. Very few people will use a bikeshare bike to ride from Wrigleyville to a West Loop job, for example, but they might ride the Brown Line to Merchandise Mart and pick up a bike there for the final leg as an alternative to walking or the confusing tangle of buses.

It's also a great option for trips that don't go to the downtown... if you're riding from DePaul to Wicker Park, for example, it's a pain in the ass to go by transit even though the distance isn't huge.

I'm sure there are similar situations in other cities - bikesharing isn't a primary transportation method for many people, but it's convenient for occasional short trips and it helps make dense neighborhoods more cohesive by filling in the gaps that major transit lines can't serve very well.
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  #42  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2012, 3:29 PM
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bikesharing isn't a primary transportation method for many people, but it's convenient for occasional short trips and it helps make dense neighborhoods more cohesive by filling in the gaps that major transit lines can't serve very well.
that's all fine and good, but if it can't fill those gaps for 42% of the year, then we'll still have holes in our dense neighborhoods that won't be cohesive for almost half the year.

i like these bike sharing systems in concept, but the fact that they shut down for 5 months of the year is incredibly weak.
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  #43  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2012, 3:34 PM
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Many of them don't.
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  #44  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2012, 3:43 PM
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Many of them don't.
right. i'm talking about the systems in cold weather cities, like montreal. chicago's climate is similar to montreal's, so i'm guessing our new system will be closed for a similar length of the time which makes me much less enthusiastic about it. it's like "hey great, we'll have this awesome system with 500 stations and 5,000 bikes, but you can't ride any of them for half the year". WEAK!
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  #45  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2012, 8:43 PM
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^ Did somebody say somewhere that the system will be closed during the winter months?
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  #46  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2012, 8:44 PM
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^ Did somebody say somewhere that the system will be closed during the winter months?
montreal's system is closed for 5 months during winter, and given chicago's similar climate, i'm guessing chicago will follow suit, but i don't know that definitively.
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  #47  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2012, 9:02 PM
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Okay, but I don't know what you can do about it. Riding successfully in snow and ice requires expertise and special equipment.
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  #48  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2012, 9:19 PM
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^ Plus I'm sure the city has a reasonable concern that the bikes could really undergo a lot of wear and tear in the winter months, which perhaps would increase costs.

One solution I can think of is to "winterize" the entire system with more treaded tires with spikes (as discussed in the cycling thread by Steely) just before winter, and then "dewinterizing" as spring arrives. An alternative is to have an extra fleet of "winterized" bikes available during that time of year (think, extra tread and even heated seats!) that people can use for a slightly extra cost.

On another note, think just how awesome it would be if you could use your CTA card as your "bike sharing" card as well. Combine that with Metra, and boy mobility would be just that much enhanced. Chicago really needs to unify its transportation system. I also imagine a scenario where, like "bus tracker" you can use "bike tracker" on your smartphone to determine how many available bikes there are at a given station.
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  #49  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2012, 9:25 PM
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I also imagine a scenario where, like "bus tracker" you can use "bike tracker" on your smartphone to determine how many available bikes there are at a given station.
This already exists in just about every city with a large bikesharing system. Most of them make the data public, so anyone who knows how to write apps can produce one.

Here's a website with real-time availability for dozens of cities, including the major US systems and many of the minor ones. It even shows usage for Chicago's little existing network.
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  #50  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2012, 9:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
right. i'm talking about the systems in cold weather cities, like montreal. chicago's climate is similar to montreal's, so i'm guessing our new system will be closed for a similar length of the time which makes me much less enthusiastic about it. it's like "hey great, we'll have this awesome system with 500 stations and 5,000 bikes, but you can't ride any of them for half the year". WEAK!
The same could be said about outdoor pools, baseball diamonds, beaches, patios etc. Should we not have those because they're unusable for 5 or more months of the year?

Montreal is looking at a limited, year-round service that would be confined to the réseau blanc - the bike lanes that are plowed throughout the winter. As much as I support BIXI (I'm a member) I don't see the point in supplying winter service. It would wreak havoc with sidewalk snow clearance, be hard on the stations and bikes, and not be used enough to make it worthwhile.
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  #51  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2012, 9:01 PM
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I was just riding one of Toronto's BIXI bikes this past weekend. I'm not sure if it's the exception among colder-climate cities, but it's possible that Chicago won't close its system in the winter time.
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  #52  
Old Posted Jan 16, 2012, 5:45 PM
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The same could be said about outdoor pools, baseball diamonds, beaches, patios etc. Should we not have those because they're unusable for 5 or more months of the year?
no i would not advocate getting rid of those things, but my concern is that by only having these bike-share systems availbale to users for half the year, people will come to view them strictly as summertime recreation instruments like outdoor pools, baseball diamonds, beaches, and patios instead of potentially viable and important pieces of the transportation networks in our cities.




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I was just riding one of Toronto's BIXI bikes this past weekend. I'm not sure if it's the exception among colder-climate cities, but it's possible that Chicago won't close its system in the winter time.
that's encouraging.
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  #53  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 10:17 AM
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Bike-Share Coming to SF and Silicon Valley This July
February 2, 2012
by Aaron Bialick
http://sf.streetsblog.org/

San Francisco and four cities in Silicon Valley will launch the region’s first bike-share system this July, implementing a new transportation option that cities around the world have embraced to expand access to bicycling.

The system will include 500 bicycles at approximately 50 stations in downtown San Francisco, plus another 500 bikes and 50 stations located near Caltrain stations in Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and San Jose. The scope is more ambitious than San Francisco’s previous proposal for bike-share, but smaller in scale than the world’s most successful systems.

“A large-scale citywide bike-share will make it easier for locals and visitors alike to see San Francisco by bike, and help our city reach the goal of 20 percent of trips by bike by 2020,” said San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Deputy Director Kit Hodge.

While the SFBC is looking forward to the pilot launch this summer, Hodge said it “also believe[s] that the pilot should be quickly expanded into a robust, big-enough-to-succeed phenomenon that have proven successful in Paris, China and London.”

SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said San Francisco stations will be “centered in SF’s employment- and transit-rich Downtown/SOMA corridor between the Financial District, Market Street and the Transbay and Caltrain terminals with connections at Market Street BART stations and the Ferry Terminal.”
...
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  #54  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 1:16 PM
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Cirrus,

Is CABI expanding in central DC? Expanding by 25 stations was discussed on GGW last spring, but I'm not sure where things stand at this time (though I do recall reading there will be 5 stations going in at the National Mall).

(Incidentally, I think there should be a station on 18th somewhere between S & Swann.)
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  #55  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 5:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
montreal's system is closed for 5 months during winter, and given chicago's similar climate, i'm guessing chicago will follow suit, but i don't know that definitively.
Without looking it up I am sure Montreal gets much more snow than Chicago on average.



EDIT I should look it up.



Wikipedia states Montreal averages 90 inches of snow per year vs ~38 inches for Chicago. The amount of snow they still had on the ground up there amazed me last time I was there in March a few years ago.



Quote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal

Winter in Montreal usually brings very cold, snowy, windy, and, at times, icy weather, with an verage high temperature of −6 °C (21 °F) and low of −15 °C (5 °F) in January. However, some winter days rise above freezing, even allowing for rain at times. During a normal year, there should be 18 nights below −20 °C (−4 °F), and about one day where the daily maximum is below −20 °C (−4 °F). Temperatures under −30 °C (−22 °F) only happen every 5 years or so, but wind chills can reach −40 °C (−40 °F)

Usually, snow cover lasts from the first or second week of December until the last week of March. [53]


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  #56  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 6:24 PM
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Originally Posted by fflint View Post
Bike-Share Coming to SF and Silicon Valley This July
February 2, 2012
by Aaron Bialick
http://sf.streetsblog.org/
I'm so glad to see that they are taking a regional approach and having bike stations at CalTrain stations along the Peninsula. I would think that will suddenly make the train a much more viable alternative to many who work on the Peninsula, but drive because it's too long a walk from the station to the office. Plus, there's no need for two separate memberships if you need a bike at both ends of the trip. I hope it expands quickly.
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Last edited by peanut gallery; Feb 4, 2012 at 1:20 AM. Reason: typo
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  #57  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 10:17 PM
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I'm so glad to see that they are taking a regional approach and having bike stations at CalTrain stations along the Peninsula. I would think that will suddenly make the train a much more viable alternative to many who work on the Peninsula, but drive because it's too long a walk from the station to the office. Plus, there's no need for two separate memberships if you need a big at both ends of the trip. I hope it expands quickly.
Totally. Bike share works best in tandem with good public transportation. I read somewhere that 7% of Caltrain riders take their bikes on board, so there's already a proven demand for bike-transit commutes along the line. Since bumping has been an issue--no more bikes on board this train!--bikesharing stations will really help in solving the "last mile" problem for Caltrain riders in the suburbs who would bike to and from the stations but currently don't want to face the uncertainty of being bumped.

As for SF, I'd like to see more bikes and a bigger geographic area, but this is a good start. SF has been lagging behind other cities on this (and many other bike-related issues) for far too long.
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  #58  
Old Posted Feb 4, 2012, 1:22 AM
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Great point about the limited space on CalTrain. This could really help with that problem. Perhaps the America's Cup can help expedite expansion, at least along the northern waterfront.
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  #59  
Old Posted Feb 4, 2012, 3:17 AM
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Is CABI expanding in central DC?
Yes, quite rapidly. But lately they've been enlarging existing stations rather than adding new small stations. It's a little less ideal, but saves a lot of money.

There are continuous expansions coming this year, all over the region. By the end of this coming summer we should be up to around 260 stations, including a lot more in MD and VA.
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  #60  
Old Posted Feb 4, 2012, 3:46 AM
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Nashville has had a small, but growing bike sharing program for about a year now I believe. It's only seven stations strong at the moment, but it's rapidly building in popularity. http://nashvillebikeshare.org/
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