Time to Share (a bike)
Would a bike sharing program be a boon to MKE’s transit infrastructure?
Recently, D.C. and Boston both unveiled new bike sharing systems. Basically, each city is permitting the installation of bike stands around the city. Program members who pay a regular subscription (or by the hour) can check out a bike from the stand, ride it as they please and return it to one of the bike stands located around the city.
These systems aim to solve two of the main problems of bike riding: attracting people who would prefer to ride, but for whatever reason have left their bike at home, and the bike theft. Both could be alleviated by placing bike rental stands in various parts of the city, allowing people the freedom to spontaneously use a bicycle to get around without the additional ownership and security costs inherent in owning a bike.
Will this work for Milwaukee? It seems likely and definitely worth investigation. For example, I have noticed an anecdotal surge in bike traffic in the city over the last two summers. That, paired with the city’s continuing failure to provide efficient transit options (ahem, light rail), suggests that the noticeable increase in bike traffic is related to pent up transit demand. Thus, a bike share program might be a sufficiently cheap stop-gap transit alternative before a broad-range solution can be implemented.