Monday, April 7, 2008

Rebirth of Bicycling in the U.S.

D.C.'s Bicycle Program Manager, Jim Sebastian
at a new SmartBike DC station

Forty years ago at this very intersection of 14th and U Streets Northwest in Washington, D.C., riots broke out after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. The commercial corridors of both streets burned for three days. This neighborhood finally has been rebuilding itself from the ashes of the riots to recapture the hope and dreams it once had. Today the U Street neighborhood is one of the hottest neighborhoods in D.C. with some of the best restaurants, bars, and entertainment the city has to offer.

At this very same intersection is
America's first bike-sharing station and the rebirth of bicycling in the United States. With this I hope we can rebuild American society from the auto-dominated car culture we've developed since World War II into a progressive and eco-friendly society that is transit-dominated and pedal-powered, not fossil-fuel powered.

The 10
SmartBike DC racks are popping up throughout the city with a soft launch expected in April (maybe Earth Day?) and the full launch in May. The stations are not powered yet, nor are bikes available. This, and the future of bicycling in the U.S., should all change in the next few weeks.

image credit: Jim Sebastian

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

congrats!!!! very soon in Tel Aviv...

Ama said...

I love the idea of a bike share! Any chance of getting some kind of helmet-loaning system in place as well? And let's push for more bike lanes from the city! We'll need them with more traffic, for sure.

First Born Toddler said...

Does anyone know who manufactures the Comfort Bikes being used in Washington, D.C.?

First Born Toddler said...

Who manufactures the comfort bikes being used in the new D.C. bike sharing program?

Lorrie Pearson said...

Congrats on the article in Planning Magazine (May 2008). I hope DC's and Arlington's programs are wildly successful!

Prophet5 said...

The bicycles and stations look exactly like the first generation bicing bicycles in Barcelona. As the Washington program is also run by Clear Channel I assume that the use the same manufacturer.

Paul DeMaio said...

Prophet5, these actually are the same bikes as being used in Barcelona and run by the same company, Clear Channel. As the system is high-tech, they are actually third generation bike-sharing bikes. DC's will be the same. First generation programs are like those as done in Amsterdam in the 1960s and Portland in the 1990s.

Paul