Pedestrian and Traffic Safety committee approves Chicago’s bike share plan


This morning at City Hall, the Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Committee approved an ordinance to enter into a contract with Portland, Oregon-based Alta Bicycle Share, Inc. to run the city’s first major bike sharing system with 3,000 bikes at 300 stations, slated to launch in September. Another 1,000 bikes at 100 kiosks will be added next year. The approval paves the way for fulfilling Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s promise to create a large-scale bike share system in his first term, a move that could dramatically increase Chicago’s bicycle mode share. The full council will vote on this April 18th.

At the committee meeting Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) staff presented the plan to a handful of aldermen. CDOT First Deputy Commissioner Pat Harney, outlined Alta’s qualifications for implementing the program, noting that the company runs bike share systems in several other large cities, including London, Melbourne, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C. and Montreal.

Harney also argued that bike sharing will provide a convenient transportation option and health benefits for many Chicagoans. “The Surgeon General Reports that just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day will produce long-term health benefits,” he said. “This means that just a quick ride to the train station or grocery store and back several days a week will lead to improved health for many residents.”

Continue reading Pedestrian and Traffic Safety committee approves Chicago’s bike share plan

Progression of bike sharing RFP: deadline is approaching


Madison, Wisconsin, has a B-Cycle bike sharing system. B-Cycle is likely to submit a proposal. Photo by Jeramey Jannene. 

Updated October 16, 2011, to add more information about the station selection task order and provide it for download. 

Proposals for Chicago’s large scale bike sharing system are due to the City of Chicago on or before October 25 – that’s 12 days away! The request for proposals (RFP) was issued on September 21, 2011. I and 29 others attended the pre-proposal conference a week later at City Hall (121 N LaSalle St) on September 28 to meet with Jacoby Radford, contract negotiator with the Department of Procurement Services (DPS), Scott Kubly, the head of the bike sharing project at the Department of Transportation (CDOT), and Ben Gomberg, Bicycle Program coordinator (CDOT).

It seemed that the purpose of the meeting was to get know who vendors would be working with at the City and who they would be up against in the proposal process. Some new information was provided, and Scott explained the City’s aims in building a bike sharing system. But any answers given by the City to attendees were “not official”. Questions had to be submitted in writing after which the City would respond with an RFP addendum. Continue reading Progression of bike sharing RFP: deadline is approaching

Bike sharing will come to Chicago in 2012


What bike sharing might look like on the streets of Chicago. Photo of Capital BikeShare, in Washington, D.C., by M.V. Jantzen. 

Updated 11:11 AM: I should have mentioned originally that I believe this is a good idea for Chicago, and the RFP presents a solid plan on how the City expects it to be implemented and operated. 22:46: Added more information about potential bidders, Alta Bicycle Share and B-Cycle. 

I just finished reading the request for proposals (RFP) for Chicago’s first (er, second) bike sharing program. For the uninitiated, most bike sharing programs allow members unlimited free trips per day up to 30 minutes with a low fee for each 30 minute period after that. Locks are not provided so users are expected to secure the bikes by docking them at stations rather than locking them to bike racks or sign poles.

Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein and his managing deputy commissioner Scott Kubly together launched a 1,100 bikes and 100+ stations bike sharing system in September 2010. It had its one year birthday on Tuesday, September 20, 2011. Now the pair have come to Chicago to do it again. Continue reading Bike sharing will come to Chicago in 2012