Originally published in the East Bay Times online on April 25, 2016 and in print on April 27, 2016.
OAKLAND — If permitting goes as planned, residents can expect to see bike sharing stations popping up around the East Bay before the end of the year.
Motivate, the company that operates the bike sharing network in partnership with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, announced on Monday that it will add 350 bikes at 21 stations in Oakland, 10 stations in Berkeley, and three stations in Emeryville, mostly concentrated in the cities’ downtown corridors.
The new stations are part of a tenfold expansion of the bike sharing network in the Bay Area, which already includes locations in San Francisco, San Jose, and other South Bay cities, according to a spokesperson for Bay Area Bike Share.
The locations were selected based on input from a professional transportation planning consultant, community workshops, and roughly 1,000 suggestions that people added to an online map, said Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz, a Motivate spokesperson. Ultimately, the company opted for bike share stations that would be highly visible, are close to bicycle facilities or transportation connections, and are located near destinations, such as parks, commercial districts and other attractions, company representatives said.
“We’re planning to connect the key commercial corridors in Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville to provide residents, workers and visitors in these thriving cities with a new and accessible option to travel in and between them,” Bay Area Bike Share General Manager Emily Stapleton said in a statement.
Although residents and community members will have one more chance to weigh in on the proposed locations, Cosulich-Schwartz said the locations are “close to final.”
“These are the sites that we believe best balance demand and feasibility — they incorporate heavily the input we’ve received from the general public, but we’re open to making tweaks if and where necessary,” he said.
Oakland resident Warren Taylor said he was pleased to see the bike share program rolling out.
“I think it’s going to be a great thing,” Taylor said. “It cuts down on pollution, it’s good exercise, and it makes bikes more accessible to more people.”
But Marcus, an Oakland resident who declined to give his last name, was a bit more skeptical. He said the bikes would need to be cost competitive with ride sharing services like Uber or Lyft to change people’s behaviors.
“If you’re the type of person who prefers to bike, you probably own your own bike,” Marcus said. “So, the main thing is the cost difference. (The bike sharing service) would have to be plenty cheap.”
According to the company’s website, users can pay $9 per day or $22 for a three-day pass. People who expect to use the bikes on a regular basis can purchase an $88 annual membership, which includes unlimited trips up to 30 minutes. After that overtime fees apply.
Eventually, Motivate plans to have 1,500 bikes in the East Bay and 7,000 across the Bay Area by 2018. The company first launched Bay Area Bike Share in 2013 and currently has 70 stations in San Francisco, San Jose, and the South Bay.
A map of the bike share locations can be found at http://www.bayareabikeshare.com/assets/pdf/Proposed_East_Bay.pdf. Residents and community members can provide feedback on the plan online at http://www.bayareabikeshare.com/expansion. People can comment in person at the Oakland Public Library’s Main and Asian branches from April 26th to May 9th during normal library hours; and the Temescal branch on May 3 from 4-6 p.m. Berkeley residents can visit the Central or Claremont library branches from April 26 to May 9 during normal library hours, and Emeryville residents can give their input at Emeryville Town Hall from April 26 to May 11 during business hours.
Contact Erin Baldassari at 510-208-6428. Follow her at Twitter.com/e_baldi.