Equitable Hopes as Bike Share Launches in L.A.

This Thursday marks the long-awaited arrival of bike share to Downtown Los Angeles - 1,000 bikes will be deployed at over 65 stations. Over the past decade, bike share systems have become prevalent in U.S. and international cities. Los Angeles is, if anything, a bit late to the game. But the success of our bike share system hangs on two critical questions.

There remains a lack of bike infrastructure Downtown – there are still only a few dedicated bike lanes and only two short-spanning separated bike lanes. It puts bike share in a chicken-or-egg scenario. Will potential users of bike share feel comfortable to use the system without a wealth of existing bike lanes?

Operated by Metro, LA's will be one of the only bike share systems in the U.S. managed by a public agency. This adds pressure for bike share to serve the whole population; it's not a for-profit venture. As it stands, there are no stations in Skid Row (east of Main, west of Alameda, south of 3rd St, north of 7th St), neglecting a critical transit-dependent population of Downtown. Metro has beenreaching out to low-income communities and is offering reduced price plans to those who qualify. But will people across all socioeconomic, racial, and gender lines share in using this public transit service?

Bike share holds lots of promise. It has the potential to reduce car dependence, promote health through exercise, and increase mobility. We hope it creates opportunities to deliver results. 

 (image via  LA Times )

(image via LA Times)