In Santa Fe, progress has been slow on a bike- and car-share center first committed to paper nine years ago in the Railyard Master Plan. But momentum is building: Last week, the City Council agreed to a lease on the old State Archives building on Montezuma Avenue, intended to house the “Multi-Modal Center.”
“Given these economic times, it’ll probably be bare-bones,” Councilor Patti Bushee tells SFR.
Bushee estimates the center will cost approximately $200,000 to design and $1 million to build.
The details for a Santa Fe bike-share program are wide-open. Most programs require a membership. Denver B-cycle charges a nominal fee ($5 a day, $30 a month or $65 a year), in exchange for a swipe-card that can be used to borrow bikes from stations around the city. The concept is much like Zipcar, the nationwide private car-share chain, which maintains three cars at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and which Bushee says may also be invited to the Railyard.
With bike-share programs commonplace in Europe and increasingly popular elsewhere, SFR reviewed what works—and doesn’t—in the world of bike sharing.
WASHINGTON, DC: Clear Channel manages the city’s two-year-old SmartBike program, with 100 bikes at 10 locations.
Pros: Low theft rates and good buzz (DC was the first US city to make bike-sharing work) make SmartBike a success.
Cons: The small scale limits its usefulness for most residents and visitors.
Lessons: A modest victory is better than a huge failure—or nothing.
DENVER: Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper was a key backer of the privately managed bike-share program that’ll kick off with 40 stations and 500 bikes.
Pros: The distinctive red B-cycles boast GPS and RFID homing devices to deter hoodlums and track down the bikes in the event they do get stolen.
Cons: Start-up costs were high. Fortunately for taxpayers, the program’s first $1 million in seed money came from the Democratic Party, as a gift for hosting the 2008 Democratic National Convention; sizable contributions followed from institutions including the Gates Family and Anschutz foundations.
Lessons: In addition to a cooperative bureaucracy, a successful program needs powerful, deep-pocketed supporters.
MONTREAL: The first fully government-managed bike-share in North America, Montreal’s BIXI system launched last May with 3,000 bikes and 300 stations.
Pros: BIXI has reportedly broken even on user fees, even without the significant advertising revenue that supports other programs.
Cons: The city’s parking authority took two years to get things rolling, versus six months for Paris’ privately run program, according to Fast Company magazine.
Lessons: If an effective city government is that slow, a Santa Fe bike share will almost certainly need an enthusiastic private partner.
TEHRAN: A city-funded bike-share launched last year in the capital of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Pros: Membership is only $2 a year.
Cons: Women aren’t allowed to ride.
Lessons: A successful program should be open to more than 50 percent of the population.
PARIS: The mother of all bike-shares, Vélib launched in 2007.
Pros: The program’s massive scale encourages widespread participation, with an average of 74,000 trips every day.
Cons: Half of the first batch of 15,000 bicycles was stolen or vandalized within 18 months, according to the BBC. The company in charge—which gets paid with in-kind ad space and a cut of fee income—demanded extra public money.
Lessons: Parisians have sticky fingers. Santa Fe’s juvenile crime rates may be cause for concern—but unique bike design and tracking systems can mitigate theft.
News HomeCover StoriesLocal News7 DaysLetters to the EditorOverheardBlue CornSEXedSchool ReformedThe Yawp BarbaricStreet View40th AnniversaryMother Tongue
Best of Santa Fe 2014Summer Guide 2014Summer Arts Preview 2014Annual ManualRestaurant GuideLocal Directory