Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Watching the Shift

Many cities around the world have been transformed by bike-sharing programs; any resident of Paris, Barcelona, Lyon, etc. could tell you that. Bike-sharing in some cases has led to a doubling of the number of trips by bike, increased use of private bikes, and improved the bicycle’s public relations from that of a toy to that of a sensible tool for transport. Data is necessary to support the costs and benefits of a bike-sharing program, but what does this look like on the street and in the minds of the city’s inhabitants as the bicycle goes from toy to tool?

With the Washington, D.C. region creating an expanded program, I plan to write about the physical and mental shift in the urban core of the D.C. region that’s going through a paradigm changing moment in time towards what will likely lead to more cycling for everyday purposes. What will the urban core of the D.C. region experience as our bike-sharing program expands from 120 bikes to that of a legitimately sized system? Will the program be well used? Will private cycling increase as it has in other cities with bike-sharing programs? Will the public image of the bicycle improve? What spin-offs, both positive and negative, will occur during this period?

Stay tuned, bike-sharers...

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