Bike share program: City to research grant options and a potential pilot program

Surveys of nearby programs provided positive feedback about bringing bikes to Redlands.

Bike share program: City to research grant options and a potential pilot program
City Council considers bike share program. (Photo: by sal73it from Getty Images)

REDLANDS, Calif. — A new bike share program may be in Redlands’ future following positive feedback from a survey conducted by city staff to see how similar programs performed in neighboring cities. 

Why it matters: Bike share programs are growing in popularity around the globe and are often implemented in the hopes that they will positively impact the environment and the health of the community and provide a convenient mode of transportation to help reduce traffic congestion.

Details: In August of 2023, council members Jenna Guzman-Lowery and Denise Davis put a ride-sharing system on the council priority list to be researched further over the next few months. An update was provided during the Feb. 9 city council meeting, where city staff shared the results of their research and highlighted the success of programs in nearby cities. The survey obtained feedback on the implementation of bike share programs in Rialto, Riverside, Oakland and West Hollywood. 

Overall, the feedback was positive, with most program users reporting that it provided an affordable and convenient mode of travel.

“Anytime we get people out of cars, either walking or riding, is good for the city, but again, we need to find out what the cost is going to be in comparison, so I think I would be in favor of just pushing for options,” said Mayor Pro Tempore Paul Barich.

Bike share programs can vary significantly in both operation and ownership. For example, options can include electric and non-electric bikes or even electric scooters. There are also choices to be made, such as if bikes should live in docked stations at select locations or if they can be parked anywhere after use. Feedback from several cities suggested that it is more efficient to require bikes to be parked in designated areas at the end of rides to help with charging and reliability. 

Some concerns were raised about theft and vandalism, however, these challenges are not unique to any specific bike-share model.

What they’re saying: ”As a resident, I support the idea, I think it's great,” said a public commenter who works for Drop Mobility, the organization that operates the Rialto bike program. “I think that Redlands has some significant advantages compared to other areas when you are looking at implementing a bike share program. You have wider streets, you have lower speed limits, you already have an established bicycling culture, you have the opportunity for the Orange Blossom Trail to really connect the region and become not just a place for recreation but also transit, and you also have the safe and popular downtown business district, so I think that those things that you already have in place lend themselves well to a program like this.”

Moving forward: All programs in the survey were either fully funded or heavily supported by grant funding. This information has prompted the council to direct staff to explore grant funding options and request a proposal to see what a pilot program could look like.

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