Ready, Set, Roll Out

photos by Charlie London

Blue Bikes title sponsor Blue Cross and Blue Shield Of Louisiana, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Social Bicycles celebrated the start of bike share in New Orleans on December 5, 2017


Social Bicycles
is the program operator for the bike sharing program in New Orleans. Here is what they have to say about the Blue Bikes: “Blue Bikes is the fun new way to get around New Orleans. Whether you’re heading to work, to meet friends for dinner, or just want to explore the city, Blue Bikes offer a convenient, fun, and healthy way to experience the city you love.” More at:
https://bluebikesnola.com/

Gambit had this to say, “The bikes will be available 24 hours a day at kiosks throughout the city. Riders will have to download a smartphone app and start an account to access the bikes. A monthly pass is $15, which covers up to one hour of riding a day. The city also will offer a pass for low-income riders at $1.67 a month ($20 a year). There also is a “pay-as-you-go” rate for $8 per hour of use.

Each three-speed,  blue-colored bike is equipped with GPS and “remote locking capabilities” and front and rear lights and a basket. Riders also can track their miles pedaled, calories burned and amount of carbon they offset by riding rather than driving.”

blue-bikes-rollout-2017dec5-parkway
The Blue Bikes are ready to roll near on Jefferson Davis Parkway near Bayou St. John.
Just down the street from Parkway Bakery on Hagan St.

Places where you can check out the Blue Bikes in and around Faubourg St. John:

  • Carrollton & Lafitte Greenway, 401 N. Carrollton Ave., 20 bikes
  • Jefferson Davis & Lafitte Greenway, 3400 Conti St., New Orleans, 20 bikes
  • Sojourner Truth Center, 598 Galvez St., 25 bikes
  • Lafitte & Roman, 602 N Roman St., 20 bikes
  • Broad & Bienville, 2699 Bienville St., 20 bikes
  • Broad & Banks, 637 Banks St., 14 bikes
  • Broad & Ursulines, 2716 Ursulines Ave., 20 bikes
  • Bayou & Broad, 2564 Bayou Rd., 14 bikes
  • University Medical Center – VA, 2200 Canal St., 14 bikes
  • LSU Health Sciences Center, 499 Bolivar St., 20 bikes
  • Orleans & Miro, 2301 Orleans Ave.,  14 bikes
  • Esplanade & Derbigny, 1624 Esplanade Ave., 14 bikes
  • Galvez & Esplanade, 1362 N Galvez St., 20 bikes
  • Esplanade & Desoto, 2790 Desoto St., 14 bikes
  • Esplanade & Ponce de Leon, 3201 Ponce de Leon St., 14 bikes
  • City Park – Esplanade, 3494 Esplanade Ave., 20 bikes
  • City Park – Casino Building, 56 Dreyfous Dr., 20 bikes

 

Info below courtesy The City of New Orleans at  https://www.nola.gov/bike-share/

New Orleans Bike Share

Bike Share Phase 1 Map Released!

The City of New Orleans, in partnership with Social Bicycles, Inc external link external link (SoBi),  launched bike share on December 5, 2017.   It’s a new and affordable transportation system for residents to move through the city. Bikes and stations are available and will roll-out in waves over 4-6 weeks. Click the image below to download a map of the initial 70 stations. Click here external linkfor an interactive map.   To learn more about how these locations were identified, check out the Station Siting section.

Blue-Bike-SystemMap-102517.jpg

Other Updates:

  • Bike share service has launched with stations and bikes rolling out over 4-6 weeks. The launch schedule has been updated in the Station Siting section.
  • Results from the online poll have been published in the Documents section.

Page Contents:

What is bike share?

Bike share is a fun, healthy, and convenient transit option that is already operating in many major cities across the country and around the globe. Bike share technology offers online and on-the-spot opportunities to reserve and rent a bike that will take you where you need to go.

At the end of a journey, just drop it off at the nearest bike share station. You can pick up another when you need it next. Bike share is growing rapidly worldwide external link external link as a popular and fun transit system. It has been shown to encourage people to drive less, support local business, improve street safety, increase personal health, and enjoy the community more.

The goal is to provide a seamless, sustainable, and affordable mode of transportation. It is designed to serve all residents, improve neighborhood quality of life, and provide year-round, equitable access to worksites and destinations.

Watch an overview video of how bike share works by clicking below:

Why is bike share great for New Orleans?

 

Many people think of biking as a recreational activity or something for kids. In fact, biking is an easy and often faster way to make shorter trips, usually under three miles. Whether it’s for work, school or running errands, bike share means you always have a bike available as an option for those shorter trips.

The more you bike instead of drive, the more money you can save on your transportation costs. In fact average spending on vehiclesexternal linkexternal link (including purchase, fuel, maintenance and insurance) cost households about $708 a month! The bike share program will cost $15 a month (and even less for low-income residents). That’s a lot more money for things you need and want.

There are many reasons people resist riding bikes. Owning and maintaining a bicycle is a big one. Even if you have a bike already, many time you find yourself without one and wishing you could make a short one-way ride. Bike share solves these problems. It’s an easy way to try riding to work without committing to owning one. Say you drive downtown to work, imagine where you could go for a quick trip during the day without having to park again! Grab lunch or run an errand. Several researchers external link external link  have found big increases in people new to bike riding as a result of have bike share available in their community.

Transit integration is a vital component to bike share. Many trips on transit can be made easier with bike share by eliminating a long walk or transfer to another bus or streetcar to get to your final destination. In some cities external link external link, transit use has even increased as a result of adding bike share. Best practices external link external link in placing bike share stations strongly recommend identifying locations that are directly visible from busy bus and streetcar stations for easy connection between systems.

Just as bike share can seamlessly connect with transit, it also works with cars. Some people may find they are close enough to give up driving altogether. A 2015 study external link external link of four North American cities show bike share participants drove 25% to 52% less. While many people may find it easy and convenient to just use bike share, many people still need to their car to get around, particularly for long distances. However, once parked, bike share makes for a very convenient way to move around, particularly in parts of the city where parking is difficult or expensive. Bike share can also allow someone to park a little further away and avoid parking meters and tickets.

Not only can biking regularly reduce monthly transportation expenses, but new research external link external link  finds people who ride bikes actually spend more in local stores than people who drive. Travelling by bike means noticing more around you. And even though people sometimes don’t spend as much on each trip (bikes have small baskets) they shop more often, putting more dollars into the local economy. Business immediately next to bike share stations have also seen big boosts external link external link thanks to a steady supply of potential customers.

No need to drive to the gym – biking from A to B keeps you active and moving without requiring separate time for fitness. Active commuting has been shown external link external link many times over to reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

An extensive study external link external link on bike share safety found a much lower risk of collision and injury with bike share than riding a personal bike, even with lower helmet use. According to researchers there are a number of factors behind this, but the primary ones are 1) safer bikes that are slower with bright colors and better lights; and 2) more casual riders who tend to be more cautious and follow the rules of the road

When you can ride a bike for your commute to work or even to run an errand, you feel much more joyful. The hassle and stress of traffic and finding parking is behind you. Biking connects you to your community in a completely different way that makes any trip feel fun.

 

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade Could Get Love in Triangles if Machines Scaled Down

photos courtesy Google Street View

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade

 

Bike Share Update – Transportation Committee 2.22.17

 

Recently, Robert Thompson, a long time Faubourg St. John resident, highlighted the new Bike Share program promoted by the City of New Orleans. You can read more about Robert’s concerns and the proposed plan in the link below:

http://fsjna.org/2017/02/pedal-power-advocate-raises-concerns-commericial-bicycle-rentals-parks/
Robert’s concern, one shared by many neighbors, is the possible placement of long bicycle vending machines in or around neighborhood parks. I began to think about where I would put bicycle vending machines on Esplanade if I wanted to maximize use and profit potential. It certainly would not be in parks.

What about placing smaller units in areas that do not take up any existing vehicle parking or use neighborhood park land? Many of Faubourg St. John’s parks are maintained by Faubourg St. John neighbors.

Commercial bicycle vending machines in commercial areas would get more exposure and therefore use. Since the vendor operator has refused to meet with Robert and other concerned neighbors, it gives more credence to Robert’s concern that the goal may be to place large vending machines in neighborhood parks.

Scaling down the size of the machines to fit on the following City-owned properties could get more support from neighbors:

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade
The triangle of land on the corner of Esplanade and Ponce de Leon is City-owned land.

This triangle of City-owned land would be perfect for a small bicycle vending machine. It’s next to the popular Cafe Degas and just steps from some of Faubourg St. John’s most frequented businesses. However, placing a bicycle vending machine here would take more thought and planning as the area has been landscaped by Cafe Degas and it is unlikely neighbors would want that disturbed. Click on the photo for a closer look at the City-owned land next to Cafe Degas.

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade
The triangle of land on Esplanade at Grand Route St. John is City-owned land.

This triangle of City-owned land at the corner of Esplanade and Grand Route Saint John is currently used as a bus stop. Bicycle vending machines located here would be an “impulse buy” and very convenient for those who may have been considering taking the bus but don’t want to wait for it to arrive. Click on the photo for a closer look at the bus stop shaded by a large oak tree.

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade
This lot at the intersection of LePage and Esplanade is City-owned land.

I suggested earlier that the vendor may want to consider smaller vending machines for areas along Esplanade. Here is a swath of City-owned land that could accommodate a larger bicycle vending machine. Click on the photo for a closer look at the area on Esplanade that could accommodate a larger bicycle vending machine.

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade
This triangle of City-owned land is across the street from a school and next to a coffee shop.

What better place for a bicycle vending machine than next to a coffee shop and across from a school? This area on Esplanade at Desoto is perfectly suited for this purpose.
Click on the photo for a closer look at the area by CC’s Coffee that could be used for a bicycle vending machine.

 

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade
Area at the corner of Broad and Esplanade.

This location is in the middle of an area surrounded by successful businesses frequented by many patrons. A bicycle vending machine located here would have the potential for much use. Click on the photo for a closer look at the area on Esplanade at Broad.

This has been an opinion piece by Charlie London

Update March 5, 2017:
Robert Thompson suggested that the area on Esplanade next to the Rent-a-Center on Broad would be a viable alternative to placing a bicycle vending machine in a park
Click on the photo for a closer look:

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade

UPDATE:
The placement of bike sharing machines will be discussed at the neighborhood association meeting this Tuesday, March 7th.

The meeting will be held in the Black Gold room at the Fair Grounds at 6:30 pm
The Fair Ground is located at 1751 Gentilly Blvd in New Orleans.
The Black Gold room is at the rear of the facility.

***********************************************************************

The City of New Orleans, in conjunction with Social Bicycles Inc. (SoBi), announced it will extend the preview of the City’s bike share program through March 31. 
 
During the extended preview, residents and visitors can sign-up and use one of the 35 bicycles to ride between seven temporary stations setup in Iberville, Downtown and Central City. Two additional bicycle racks will be available to end a ride or find a bike. 
 
“Bike share is the City’s newest and most convenient form of public transportation,” said Councilmember Jared C. Brossett, City Council Transportation and Airport Committee Chairperson. “It’s a network of bicycles and automated kiosks that allows users to arrange public transportation on their schedule. I am pleased that the City is extending the bike share preview to allow more users the opportunity to experience and embrace this service.”
 
During the extended preview period, riders can pay $15 to enjoy a 60 minute trip every day through March 31. The hourly rate is $8 per hour, pro-rated by the minute. Sign up using either the website https://nola.socialbicycles.com/ or by downloading the Social Bicycles app for iPhones and Android phones. There will also be greeters at various stations to help people signup and get started biking.
 
To allow more residents to participate in the preview, two bike stations will be relocated on March 1. Find a bike at anyone of the listed preview stations:
  • Basin Street & Bienville Street (near Magnolia Yoga Studio)
  • 501 Loyola Ave. (Near Hyatt)
  • Lafayette Square at Magazine Street
  • Decatur Street & Bienville Street (Through Feb. 28)
  • Baronne Street & Common Street (Near the Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel)
  • Decatur Street & Barracks Street (near U.S. Mint through Feb. 28)
  • Magazine Street & Erato Street (Beginning March 1)
  • Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard & Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (Beginning March 1)
  • 1000 Tchoupitoulas St. (near Cochon Restaurant)
  • 219 Loyola Ave. (Library Main Branch – existing bike racks)
  • Polymnia Street & St. Charles Avenue (near Avenue Pub – existing bike racks)
 
The full program, launching this fall, will consist of 70 stations with 700 bicycles and a guaranteed minimum future expansion of 90 stations with 900 bicycles. 100 percent of the bike share program will be privately financed through sponsorships, advertisements, and rental fees.
 
The fees for bike rental are:
  • Monthly Pass: $15 for unlimited trips up to 1 hour of riding a day (hourly rate thereafter).You can take as many trips as desired that all together add up to 60 minutes. For example, a 15-minute ride to work in the morning, a 5-minute ride for lunch; a 30 minute ride home with a quick stop to pick up some food totals 50 minutes for the day
  • Low-Income Pass: $1.67 per month ($20 per year) for unlimited trips up to 1 hour of riding a day (hourly rate thereafter)
  • Pay-as-you-go: $8 per hour of riding (pro-rated)
 
New Orleans has been growing rapidly as a bicycling city. The city was recognized as a bicycle friendly community in the Fall of 2014 by the League of American Bicyclists.
Last month, New Orleans was selected by People for Bikes as one of ten cities to participate in their Big Jump Project to reimage bicycle infrastructure.
For more information, please visit
 
For additional information on the preview and the full program, please visit http://www.nola.gov/bikeshare

*******************************************************************************
March 7, 2017 statement from Dwight Norton:

In advance of tonight’s neighborhood association meeting, I wanted to provide a written response to some of the information/inquiries that have been raised thus far by those included here and I hope you will share with all other neighbors as well. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss further and address any and all concerns. I have also attached the status update presentation I gave to the City Council transportation committee for reference and will add this and additional materials to the website: http://www.nola.gov/bike-share/

First of all as an introduction, I am the City’s point person and project manager for bike share implementation as one of my jobs in improving transportation more holistically and efficiently for a more resilient and equitable city. Through a very open and public selection process last summer (link), the City awarded a 5-year exclusive use agreement to the best proposal, led by Social Bicycles, Inc. (SoBi) for 700 bicycles and 70 stations in phase 1.

1. Station selection process has only just begun and will be a public process. Many concerns have been voiced about the determination of the station locations. This process has always and continues to be an open one, designed for public participation. The oft referenced feasibility study was conducted in 2014 and merely serves as a reference point for our current efforts. It in no way is deterministic on station locations and furthermore was never intended as such. The maps are labelled as “conceptual” and do in fact have an unfortunately obscure disclaimer “Note: Station locations are roughly assigned to illustrate optimal station spacing…” The process for station location identification, which will be further discussed tonight, is as follows:
· January – April: introductions at neighborhood association meetings (I have completed 14 to date)
· March: potential candidate sites being developed by SoBi/City based on best practices and stated City goals (see #4)
· March 27 – April 11: Public workshops with maps for station siting recommendations/feedback
o Bayou St John/Mid City workshop is tentatively scheduled for April 3 at 630p
· April/May: online voting for station locations
· June: draft map of 70 stations incorporating public input
· August: final map
· October: launch

2. No paving any public parks, particularly small neighborhood ones. There is no budget or intent to pave over any green space for bike share stations. Despite the suggestion, the only possible exception would be in the case where there is a significant destination, connection transit or other protected bike infrastructure, technical problems with on-street alternatives, and strong community support. As an example, the very large neutral ground of Jeff Davis and Canal has a separated bike path, streetcar, active commercial and street flooding at the curb. Parks that will be considered would require other sounding destinations and excess paved area. An example is the large paved area off to the side of the entrance of Armstrong Park, set well back from the sidewalk, and across the street from a streetcar stop. Mr. London’s article recommending paved space adjacent to commercial nodes along Esplanade is exactly in line with best practices and our placement thinking: connect to local destinations: where would you as residents want a station to make it useful. This will be validated/refined at our aforementioned workshops.

3. Station size will be right-sized to meet demand and are more efficient use of public space. While stations have been referenced as “vending machines”, transit stations is a more appropriate analogy – they take up some public space and are gateways for accessing the system, including transaction. Most stations will not have a dedicated kiosk – our agreement with SoBi only includes 10 which will be strategically placed in areas with lots of pedestrian activity. There will be either a small or large panel based on residential or commercial nature of the area with wayfinding information and, in the case of large panels only, limited advertising – analogous to a bus station. Regarding the number of racks at a station, again the 2014 Feasibility Study is a reference and in our opinion inappropriate for recommendations on Esplanade. As noted by Mr. London, stations in neighborhoods are typically much smaller than in downtown core and busier commercial areas. The goal will be to anticipate demand and provide sufficient racks so bikes do not end up parked on poles. This may need to be adjust over time as the neighborhood finds the service increasingly desirable. Nearly all sites will be existing paved surface on street or sidewalks where space allows. Private space may be used only where the location is highly desirable and the land is publically available 24/7 (e.g. plaza outside a downtown high rise).

4. Station convenience is essential to a successful, equitable bike share program. The convenience of bike share, and thus is usefulness, is based directly on stations being evenly distributed. You should not have to walk more than 3 or so blocks to get to station. If so, it become far less convenient and people will not use it. When these basics are respected, not only does it prevent limited usage and thus financial insolvency (e.g. Seattle), it also has demonstrated people start driving less. In fact 25-52% less (study link; also click here and here for more information on best practices). Here again we deviate sharply from the 2014 Feasibility Study. Being a few blocks from a station means the stations will 4 to 7 blocks apart. Also remember it is a stated goal that we use bike share as a means to provide convenient, more reliable and cheaper alternatives to access jobs and other opportunities for improving lives. Cutting down on people’s transportation costs and travel time is shown consistently to be one of the biggest enablers of upward mobility (more time to raise kids, go back to school etc.). This clear evidence is what drives our equity goals as applied to transportation. We want to ensure access to bike share service extends as far as possible without compromising usability/sustainability.

5. Designing the system for residents knowing tourists will use it. In major tourist cities the world over, bike share does not compromise benefits to residents. Like any good transit system, if it is designed for residents, tourists will use as well. If it is design for tourists only they will use it. The City will ensure the system is designed for residents through two means: 1) station location process and 2) the pricing plans. For station locations, the previous section discusses how residents will inform that process. On the later, a higher cost $8 per hour plan subsidizes the significantly lower cost $15 per month plan (3 months equals one parking ticket!). There is also a $1.67 per month (or $20 per year) low income plan. In addition, the low income program will allow any residents to participate with or without credit card so that we can ensure the 12.5% unbanked (and 25.5% underbanked) members of our community have every opportunity to participate. And from a purely economic perspective, at $8 per hour, longer bike trips for touring or recreation will still make more sense on a rented or personal bike. In addition, the monthly passes are limited to 60 minutes of pedal time, which is a lot if you just think about it as transportation, but not very much if you plan on sightseeing. Bike share a one-way transportation system meant to get you from station A to station B and the pricing reflects that.

6. For-profit vendor model has historic precedent and is a win-win for residents. There have been several references and concerns that the model the City has chosen represents a commercialization of the city. First and foremost bike share is a transit system. Yes, it will be provided by a private entity, but it’s important to remember the service is still public and works very differently than rental. It is also worth remembering our beloved streetcars were all originally built and operated by private companies and only municipalized once labor costs and automobile adoption made service unable to break even. By using a 100% privately financed model, the vendor assumes financial risk for its performance – this is a great thing. This means all of the incentive for great customer service, excellent maintenance and marketing to attract users all falls on the vendor. Given the city’s limited resources for a major capital investment and ongoing costs, this structure is a great example of true public-private partnership for public benefit.

Thank you and look forward to discussing tonight and beyond,
Dwight

Dwight Norton
Urban Mobility Coordinator
City of New Orleans | Office of Resilience & Sustainability
1300 Perdido Street | New Orleans, LA 701116
Office: 504.658.7677

**********************************************************

Bike Share Update – Transportation Committee 2.22.17

 

Pedal Power Advocate Raises Concerns about Commericial Bicycle Rentals in Neighborhood Parks

Pedal Power Advocate Raises Concerns about Commericial Bicycle Rentals by Parks

by Robert Thompson

Bicycles are great, we need to encourage their use and I applaud movement toward expanded use.

However, the Bike Share program may not be the on-target program best suited to do this.
Social Bicycles INC is a business that will be placing 70 bicycle docking stations around New Orleans.

Tourists will go up Esplanade to our beautiful City Park. Bring them on, BUT, do not destroy our Esplanade ridge parks and residential quality in the process. Two large bike docking stations (29 docks) and three medium sized (19 docks) show on a map in the city’s study for our stretch of Esplanade alone.

Where can you put five 70 foot long structures?
Fortier Park? The small space at N Gayoso? DeSoto or Capdevielle Parks at Crete? And two more locations?

These stations designs call for a large advertising panel for the big hub and a small advertising panel for the smaller hub. Full study at http://norpc.org/assets/pdf-documents/studies-and-plans/New%20Orleans%20Bike%20Share%20Feas%20Study_FINAL%20DEC%202014.pdf

The study recommends at one point putting these on park lands. That would be our few precious “pocket parks” on Esplanade. I doubt they’d put them in front of a residence in the parking lane, but maybe.

I feel this requires us to be alerted to the development. There may be spaces that can be recommended where there is no loss of green space, fire department access, even parking. But, if experiences in NYC are repeated here, residents will have the option to react only after this company installs its stations.

Below is a depiction of a 25 dock facility which is doubled-up in order to reduce length. My guess is ours can’t be doubled due to the narrowness of the Esplanade corridor so, they could be as long as 70 feet.

My record of support for cycling includes supporting the bike lanes and creating one of the first “guerilla” bike racks introduced to this neighborhood despite well considered opposition from friends and neighbors. These bike rental stations are really not serving the general public. They are business ventures and are poor trade offs for the loss of green space if they appear in or around our parks.

This has been an opinion piece by Robert Thompson

Robert Thompson attended the Transportation Meeting at City Council on February 22, 2017 and was granted a one minute opportunity to express his concerns over placement of the bike sharing facilities. The gentleman from the City promoting bike sharing said there would be opportunities in the future for public input. Robert said, “Full implementation of 70 stations is slated for end of the year. The discussion about bike vending stations cutting into the established business of the 10 or 12 ventures currently renting bikes to tourists may be off base to our neighborhood concerns about placement, vandalism and graffiti.”

****************************************************************************************

Bike Share Update – Transportation Committee 2.22.17

 

photos courtesy Google Street View

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade

Recently, Robert Thompson, a long time Faubourg St. John resident, highlighted the new Bike Share program promoted by the City of New Orleans. You can read more about Robert’s concerns and the proposed plan in the link below:

http://fsjna.org/2017/02/pedal-power-advocate-raises-concerns-commericial-bicycle-rentals-parks/

Robert’s concern, one shared by many neighbors, is the possible placement of long bicycle vending machines in or around neighborhood parks. I began to think about where I would put bicycle vending machines on Esplanade if I wanted to maximize use and profit potential. It certainly would not be in parks.

What about placing smaller units in areas that do not take up any existing vehicle parking or use neighborhood park land? Many of Faubourg St. John’s parks are maintained by Faubourg St. John neighbors.

Commercial bicycle vending machines in commercial areas would get more exposure and therefore use. Since the vendor operator has refused to meet with Robert and other concerned neighbors, it gives more credence to Robert’s concern that the goal may be to place large vending machines in neighborhood parks.

Scaling down the size of the machines to fit on the following City-owned properties could get more support from neighbors:

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade
The triangle of land on the corner of Esplanade and Ponce de Leon is City-owned land.

This triangle of City-owned land would be perfect for a small bicycle vending machine. It’s next to the popular Cafe Degas and just steps from some of Faubourg St. John’s most frequented businesses. However, placing a bicycle vending machine here would take more thought and planning as the area has been landscaped by Cafe Degas and it is unlikely neighbors would want that disturbed. Click on the photo for a closer look at the City-owned land next to Cafe Degas.

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade
The triangle of land on Esplanade at Grand Route St. John is City-owned land.

This triangle of City-owned land at the corner of Esplanade and Grand Route Saint John is currently used as a bus stop. Bicycle vending machines located here would be an “impulse buy” and very convenient for those who may have been considering taking the bus but don’t want to wait for it to arrive. Click on the photo for a closer look at the bus stop shaded by a large oak tree.

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade
This lot at the intersection of LePage and Esplanade is City-owned land.

I suggested earlier that the vendor may want to consider smaller vending machines for areas along Esplanade. Here is a swath of City-owned land that could accommodate a larger bicycle vending machine. Click on the photo for a closer look at the area on Esplanade that could accommodate a larger bicycle vending machine.

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade
This triangle of City-owned land is across the street from a school and next to a coffee shop.

What better place for a bicycle vending machine than next to a coffee shop and across from a school? This area on Esplanade at Desoto is perfectly suited for this purpose.
Click on the photo for a closer look at the area by CC’s Coffee that could be used for a bicycle vending machine.

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade
Area at the corner of Broad and Esplanade.

This location is in the middle of an area surrounded by successful businesses frequented by many patrons. A bicycle vending machine located here would have the potential for much use. Click on the photo for a closer look at the area on Esplanade at Broad.

This has been an opinion piece by Charlie London

Update March 5, 2017:
Robert Thompson suggested that the area on Esplanade next to the Rent-a-Center on Broad would be a viable alternative to placing a bicycle vending machine in a park
Click on the photo for a closer look:

Bicycle Vending on Esplanade

UPDATE:
The placement of bike sharing machines will be discussed at the neighborhood association meeting this Tuesday, March 7th.

The meeting will be held in the Black Gold room at the Fair Grounds at 6:30 pm
The Fair Ground is located at 1751 Gentilly Blvd in New Orleans.
The Black Gold room is at the rear of the facility.

***********************************************************************

The City of New Orleans, in conjunction with Social Bicycles Inc. (SoBi), announced it will extend the preview of the City’s bike share program through March 31. 
 
During the extended preview, residents and visitors can sign-up and use one of the 35 bicycles to ride between seven temporary stations setup in Iberville, Downtown and Central City. Two additional bicycle racks will be available to end a ride or find a bike. 
 
“Bike share is the City’s newest and most convenient form of public transportation,” said Councilmember Jared C. Brossett, City Council Transportation and Airport Committee Chairperson. “It’s a network of bicycles and automated kiosks that allows users to arrange public transportation on their schedule. I am pleased that the City is extending the bike share preview to allow more users the opportunity to experience and embrace this service.”
 
During the extended preview period, riders can pay $15 to enjoy a 60 minute trip every day through March 31. The hourly rate is $8 per hour, pro-rated by the minute. Sign up using either the website https://nola.socialbicycles.com/ or by downloading the Social Bicycles app for iPhones and Android phones. There will also be greeters at various stations to help people signup and get started biking.
 
To allow more residents to participate in the preview, two bike stations will be relocated on March 1. Find a bike at anyone of the listed preview stations:
  • Basin Street & Bienville Street (near Magnolia Yoga Studio)
  • 501 Loyola Ave. (Near Hyatt)
  • Lafayette Square at Magazine Street
  • Decatur Street & Bienville Street (Through Feb. 28)
  • Baronne Street & Common Street (Near the Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel)
  • Decatur Street & Barracks Street (near U.S. Mint through Feb. 28)
  • Magazine Street & Erato Street (Beginning March 1)
  • Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard & Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (Beginning March 1)
  • 1000 Tchoupitoulas St. (near Cochon Restaurant)
  • 219 Loyola Ave. (Library Main Branch – existing bike racks)
  • Polymnia Street & St. Charles Avenue (near Avenue Pub – existing bike racks)
 
The full program, launching this fall, will consist of 70 stations with 700 bicycles and a guaranteed minimum future expansion of 90 stations with 900 bicycles. 100 percent of the bike share program will be privately financed through sponsorships, advertisements, and rental fees.
 
The fees for bike rental are:
  • Monthly Pass: $15 for unlimited trips up to 1 hour of riding a day (hourly rate thereafter).You can take as many trips as desired that all together add up to 60 minutes. For example, a 15-minute ride to work in the morning, a 5-minute ride for lunch; a 30 minute ride home with a quick stop to pick up some food totals 50 minutes for the day
  • Low-Income Pass: $1.67 per month ($20 per year) for unlimited trips up to 1 hour of riding a day (hourly rate thereafter)
  • Pay-as-you-go: $8 per hour of riding (pro-rated)
 
New Orleans has been growing rapidly as a bicycling city. The city was recognized as a bicycle friendly community in the Fall of 2014 by the League of American Bicyclists.
Last month, New Orleans was selected by People for Bikes as one of ten cities to participate in their Big Jump Project to reimage bicycle infrastructure.
For more information, please visit
 
For additional information on the preview and the full program, please visit http://www.nola.gov/bikeshare

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March 7, 2017 statement from Dwight Norton:

In advance of tonight’s neighborhood association meeting, I wanted to provide a written response to some of the information/inquiries that have been raised thus far by those included here and I hope you will share with all other neighbors as well. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss further and address any and all concerns. I have also attached the status update presentation I gave to the City Council transportation committee for reference and will add this and additional materials to the website: http://www.nola.gov/bike-share/

First of all as an introduction, I am the City’s point person and project manager for bike share implementation as one of my jobs in improving transportation more holistically and efficiently for a more resilient and equitable city. Through a very open and public selection process last summer (link), the City awarded a 5-year exclusive use agreement to the best proposal, led by Social Bicycles, Inc. (SoBi) for 700 bicycles and 70 stations in phase 1.

1. Station selection process has only just begun and will be a public process. Many concerns have been voiced about the determination of the station locations. This process has always and continues to be an open one, designed for public participation. The oft referenced feasibility study was conducted in 2014 and merely serves as a reference point for our current efforts. It in no way is deterministic on station locations and furthermore was never intended as such. The maps are labelled as “conceptual” and do in fact have an unfortunately obscure disclaimer “Note: Station locations are roughly assigned to illustrate optimal station spacing…” The process for station location identification, which will be further discussed tonight, is as follows:
· January – April: introductions at neighborhood association meetings (I have completed 14 to date)
· March: potential candidate sites being developed by SoBi/City based on best practices and stated City goals (see #4)
· March 27 – April 11: Public workshops with maps for station siting recommendations/feedback
o Bayou St John/Mid City workshop is tentatively scheduled for April 3 at 630p
· April/May: online voting for station locations
· June: draft map of 70 stations incorporating public input
· August: final map
· October: launch

2. No paving any public parks, particularly small neighborhood ones. There is no budget or intent to pave over any green space for bike share stations. Despite the suggestion, the only possible exception would be in the case where there is a significant destination, connection transit or other protected bike infrastructure, technical problems with on-street alternatives, and strong community support. As an example, the very large neutral ground of Jeff Davis and Canal has a separated bike path, streetcar, active commercial and street flooding at the curb. Parks that will be considered would require other sounding destinations and excess paved area. An example is the large paved area off to the side of the entrance of Armstrong Park, set well back from the sidewalk, and across the street from a streetcar stop. Mr. London’s article recommending paved space adjacent to commercial nodes along Esplanade is exactly in line with best practices and our placement thinking: connect to local destinations: where would you as residents want a station to make it useful. This will be validated/refined at our aforementioned workshops.

3. Station size will be right-sized to meet demand and are more efficient use of public space. While stations have been referenced as “vending machines”, transit stations is a more appropriate analogy – they take up some public space and are gateways for accessing the system, including transaction. Most stations will not have a dedicated kiosk – our agreement with SoBi only includes 10 which will be strategically placed in areas with lots of pedestrian activity. There will be either a small or large panel based on residential or commercial nature of the area with wayfinding information and, in the case of large panels only, limited advertising – analogous to a bus station. Regarding the number of racks at a station, again the 2014 Feasibility Study is a reference and in our opinion inappropriate for recommendations on Esplanade. As noted by Mr. London, stations in neighborhoods are typically much smaller than in downtown core and busier commercial areas. The goal will be to anticipate demand and provide sufficient racks so bikes do not end up parked on poles. This may need to be adjust over time as the neighborhood finds the service increasingly desirable. Nearly all sites will be existing paved surface on street or sidewalks where space allows. Private space may be used only where the location is highly desirable and the land is publically available 24/7 (e.g. plaza outside a downtown high rise).

4. Station convenience is essential to a successful, equitable bike share program. The convenience of bike share, and thus is usefulness, is based directly on stations being evenly distributed. You should not have to walk more than 3 or so blocks to get to station. If so, it become far less convenient and people will not use it. When these basics are respected, not only does it prevent limited usage and thus financial insolvency (e.g. Seattle), it also has demonstrated people start driving less. In fact 25-52% less (study link; also click here and here for more information on best practices). Here again we deviate sharply from the 2014 Feasibility Study. Being a few blocks from a station means the stations will 4 to 7 blocks apart. Also remember it is a stated goal that we use bike share as a means to provide convenient, more reliable and cheaper alternatives to access jobs and other opportunities for improving lives. Cutting down on people’s transportation costs and travel time is shown consistently to be one of the biggest enablers of upward mobility (more time to raise kids, go back to school etc.). This clear evidence is what drives our equity goals as applied to transportation. We want to ensure access to bike share service extends as far as possible without compromising usability/sustainability.

5. Designing the system for residents knowing tourists will use it. In major tourist cities the world over, bike share does not compromise benefits to residents. Like any good transit system, if it is designed for residents, tourists will use as well. If it is design for tourists only they will use it. The City will ensure the system is designed for residents through two means: 1) station location process and 2) the pricing plans. For station locations, the previous section discusses how residents will inform that process. On the later, a higher cost $8 per hour plan subsidizes the significantly lower cost $15 per month plan (3 months equals one parking ticket!). There is also a $1.67 per month (or $20 per year) low income plan. In addition, the low income program will allow any residents to participate with or without credit card so that we can ensure the 12.5% unbanked (and 25.5% underbanked) members of our community have every opportunity to participate. And from a purely economic perspective, at $8 per hour, longer bike trips for touring or recreation will still make more sense on a rented or personal bike. In addition, the monthly passes are limited to 60 minutes of pedal time, which is a lot if you just think about it as transportation, but not very much if you plan on sightseeing. Bike share a one-way transportation system meant to get you from station A to station B and the pricing reflects that.

6. For-profit vendor model has historic precedent and is a win-win for residents. There have been several references and concerns that the model the City has chosen represents a commercialization of the city. First and foremost bike share is a transit system. Yes, it will be provided by a private entity, but it’s important to remember the service is still public and works very differently than rental. It is also worth remembering our beloved streetcars were all originally built and operated by private companies and only municipalized once labor costs and automobile adoption made service unable to break even. By using a 100% privately financed model, the vendor assumes financial risk for its performance – this is a great thing. This means all of the incentive for great customer service, excellent maintenance and marketing to attract users all falls on the vendor. Given the city’s limited resources for a major capital investment and ongoing costs, this structure is a great example of true public-private partnership for public benefit.

Thank you and look forward to discussing tonight and beyond,
Dwight

Dwight Norton
Urban Mobility Coordinator
City of New Orleans | Office of Resilience & Sustainability
1300 Perdido Street | New Orleans, LA 701116
Office: 504.658.7677

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Bike Share Update – Transportation Committee 2.22.17