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Experts Share Bikeshare Tips #NBS12

Guest blog post by David Vega-Barachowitz

Transportation officials see the Capital Bikeshare facilities first hand at a workshop held in conjunction with the National Bike Summit


Last week, as advocates converged on the Hill following two days at the National Bike Summit, dozens of city transportation officials, transit managers, representatives from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and bike share experts gathered to discuss the present and future of what is set to be this year’s most exciting story: Bike Share.

With Bike Share planners and operators drawn from both existing systems (Washington DC’s Capital Bikeshare, Denver B-cycle, Minneapolis’ NiceRide Minnesota) as well as emerging ones (New York, San Francisco, Portland, Baltimore, Miami), the workshop gave an on-the-ground perspective of the unique challenges, opportunities, and optimism surrounding bike share in 2012.

The first day of the workshop kicked off with statements from Terry Bellamy, the Director of the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Matt Welbes, the Executive Director of the FTA, on the pivotal role that bikesharing can play as a catalyst to achieve sustainability objectives and public transportation needs. Established systems, including Denver B-cycle, Nice Ride Minnesota, and Capital Bikeshare shared lessons learned from their initial trials and successes in 2010-11.

They were followed by representatives from New York City, San Francisco, and Portland, who previewed new and ambitious developments in this field for 2012.  Dr. Susan Shaheen of UC Berkeley gave a global research perspective on the state of practice, while representatives from FHWA and the Toole Design Group provided some interim findings on exciting research to be released in the coming months on best practice in North American bikesharing.

In the afternoon, the discussion shifted towards roundtables on the many themes central to bikesharing, including business models, system operations, funding, and garnering political and community support.  While these discussions generated as many new questions as answers, a clear consensus emerged of bikeshare’s role in transforming the way people move around our cities.

Inside the Capital Bikeshare facilities

On Friday, the group reconvened at the offices of the American Public Transit Association, where the discussion shifted toward the integration of bikes with transit. Presentations by Ralph Beuhler of Virginia Tech, Fred Silver of CalStart, and representatives from LA Metro, Washington DC Metro, and Denver’s Regional Transportation District broadened the conversation to examine how bicycling and transit may be integrated and coordinated at a larger scale.

The morning ended with an in-depth presentation on the New York City Department of Transportation’s community outreach process for its upcoming 10,000 bike bikeshare system, set to launch in Summer 2012. The day ended with a group ride to the Capital Bikeshare warehouse, where cities from all of the country were given an inside look at a successful, 24-hour bike share operation.

The bike share workshop was sponsored by B-Cycle, Alta Bicycle Share, the Public Bike System Company, and CalStart.

Many organizations worked together to make this historic first meeting possible, including:

For more information on the event, we encourage you to visit the new NACTO Bike Share page and wiki and the new FTA webpage on bicycles and transit.


David Vega-Barachowitz is the Sustainable Initiatives Program Manager at the National Association of City Transportation Officials and coordinator for NACTO’s Cities for Cycling project. Mr. Vega-Barachowitz joined NACTO in 2011 to develop and disseminate the Urban Bikeway Design Guide, a national design guide which compiles innovative bikeway and street design in the United States. Prior to joining NACTO, he undertook a Henry Evans Travelling fellowship granted by Columbia University to study urban design, with a focus on bicycle and infrastructure planning and design, in the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, and France. His interest in bicycling as sustainable transportation was inspired by his time studying architecture and urban design in the city of Copenhagen, Denmark. In 2008-2009, Mr. Vega-Barachowitz worked at the New York City Transit Authority, where he worked on a State of Good Repair initiative to improve system-wide asset management and systematic rehabilitation for stations. He is a graduate of Columbia University with a degree in Urban Studies with Architecture.


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