Bike share program announces expansion sites in SF

Click the image above to check out the new bikeshare locations.

Bikes, everywhere.

That’s what San Franciscans can expect to see as Bay Area Bike Share rolls out its latest expansion, which is pegged by supporters as The City’s newest transportation system.

Now that system is taking shape, as Bay Area Bike Share announced the location of 72 new bike stations in San Francisco on Wednesday.

The new bike share locations – easily recognizable by their iconic sky blue color – will now more densely dot across South of Market, and newly expand to the Mission, the Castro and surrounding neighborhoods.

Expansion doesn’t stop there. Nearly 1,000 new bikes will accompany those new locations, too.

Supervisor Jane Kim said she was “absolutely” happy to see the new bikes in her district, which includes the South of Market neighborhood.

“I’m a fan of bike share, period,” she said. “They’re key to making bike modes expand throughout The City.”

Some of the locations are closer to key transit stops – like the Caltrain station at Fourth and King streets, or 16th Street and 24th Street BART stations in the Mission.

Click the image above to check out the new bikeshare locations.
Click the image above to check out the new bikeshare locations.

Mission Bay, on the other hand, seems to be a blank patch, with no planned bike share expansion there.

Emily Stapleton, general manager at Bay Area Bike Share, said Mission Bay is a “strong” candidate for phase 2 of the program’s expansion.

Though the expansions don’t venture far from the original stations, that’s by design, said San Francisco Bicycle Coalition spokesman Chris Cassidy.

“Density is so important for adoption,” Cassidy said, because a cluster of bikeshares closeby allow riders to bike to multiple locations more easily. The whole notion of Bay Area Bike Share is that you can rent a bike, ride it somewhere, then deposit it at a nearby station when you arrive.

“An inferior process,” he said, “would be to take the same number of stations and spread them throughout The City.”

Motivate, which runs Bay Area Bike Share, said it expects these newly revealed bike share sites to arrive by the end of the year, pending permit approval.

Kim said bike sharing requires a credit card, which may shut out some communities.

Cassidy noted the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition recently received a $100,000 Impact Challenge grant from Google, empowering it to help plan bike share locations in low-income communities.

The coalition hopes that as Bay Area Bike Share moves to its next expansion phases, some of the 4,500 sharable bikes will land where they’re needed most.

“We have the opportunity to help bike share stations land in underserved communities, to make sure bike share works for all San Franciscans,“ Cassidy said. But, he said he anticipates “different opinions on how to do that.”

“That’s not something we’re eager to compromise on,” he said.

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