The Los Angeles City Council signed off Friday on an agreement to bring a bike-sharing program to the downtown area.
The program, a partnership between the city and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is anticipated to begin in 2016 with 1,090 bikes. Officials plan to test it out for two years, with the hope of eventually expanding to such areas as Hollywood, Mid-City, North Hollywood and Venice.
The city will be soliciting public input in the coming months on where in downtown Los Angeles to put the more than 65 planned bike-sharing stations, council aides said.
Under the newly approved agreement, Metro will have naming rights for the bike-share system, and the city will have the advertising rights at the stations.
The city, which agreed to cover 65 percent of the nearly $5.3 million needed for maintaining and operating the program, is hoping to offset costs through user fee revenue and selling advertising space on the bike stations.
Grants and funding transferred from other projects will cover the initial $5.8 million cost of buying equipment and paying other capital costs.
Metro recently awarded contracts to Bicycle Transit Systems Inc. and its partner, BCycle, to implement the program.
With the pilot program, Los Angeles is set to join other cities like Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Paris that allow bike-sharing.
“This bike-sharing program is a long time coming for downtown Los Angeles and the city of Los Angeles,” said Councilman Jose Huizar, referring to an unsuccessful attempt to get a program going in 2012. He said the program will benefit downtown residents, as well as workers and tourists.
Metro’s board chair, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, said the “partnership will do wonders to extend the reach of Metro’s bus and rail system and give Angelenos brand-new, efficient and sustainable transportation options.”
—City News Service