Bike commuting is a boon for urban environments – and soon, the bustling City of Pittsburgh, Penn., is about to have a lot more of it. The city’s Mayor Luke Ravenstahl recently announced plans to launch a 500-bike, 50-station bike sharing program in 2014. The initiative will build on the success of similar bike sharing programs in Washington, D.C., Boston, and Denver, and Mayor Ravenstahl hopes the new alternative transportation system will enhance mobility within the city, promote tourism, and provide a fun and healthy way to visit the city’s diverse and exciting neighborhoods.
When thinking about public transportation access, we typically envision buses or trains. Both are better for people and the environment because they cut down on carbon emissions per person, per trip. But bike shares can also promote hyper-local lifestyles while producing absolutely no emissions at all. Did we mention Pittsburgh’s bike share stations will be solar-powered?
“Imagine a downtown worker, who only has 30 minutes for lunch. Previously, she was only able to go to restaurants within 2 blocks for a bite to eat. With the addition of bike share, basically all of downtown and even the Strip are now within reach in the same amount of time,” write organizers at BikePGH.org.
“Bike share bikes should be likened to public transportation, and are intended to fill the gap between locations that are too far to walk in a short period of time, yet too close to take the bus or drive,” explains BikePGH. “They offer a significant enhancement to existing public transit, by making it faster and easier for people to get to a bus stop, and increases the distance one can cover in the same amount of time for further reaching transit locations.”
If you live in Pittsburgh and are interested in the bike sharing program, the City wants your help. Community meetings are planned for April 2nd and 3rd in Oakland and Downtown. To learn more about the meetings or view a map of the proposed station locations, visit pghbikeshare.org.