Thursday, August 14, 2008

Smart Start

D.C. newest step toward becoming a green city:
a self-service public bike program!


In an effort to become a greener city, Washington, D.C., is launching a program that will hopefully allow it to join the ranks of Paris, Lyon, Montreal, Cheltenham,* Seville, Barcelona, and Amsterdam as a bike-friendly and green city. Yesterday, the city--in partnership with Clear Channel Communications--officially kicked off Smart Bike DC. Billed as America's first self-service public bike program, it allows subscribers to buy a membership for $39.99/year. Users can take a bike for three hours at a time from a variety of locations in and around the downtown area. Eventually, it is hoped, the program will expand citywide and will encourage people to get out of their cars and get on a bike.

Grab a Smart Bike at the corner of 7th and F Streets NW!
It's quick, easy, reliable, and environmentally cool!


There are currently nine locations throughout downtown and most are within walking distant of a Metro station. Here's to Smart Bike! May it be successful and fun and may it radically change the commuting habits not only of Washingtonians, but also of those who commute to our city from the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 08/08

* Thanks to Marley at Cheltenham Daily Photo who reminded me his city has been participating in a similar program for a while. Check it out here.

16 comments:

Cowbark said...

I hope his catches on - but I worry that without putting in bike lanes people will be hesitant to bike much beyond the mall!

Virginia said...

What a great idea. Your photos are really nice too.

Eric Salsbery said...

I would like to see something like this in Salt Lake City.

Nice shots

marley said...

You missed out Cheltenham in your list of bike friendly places! You may recall I posted on a similar scheme here last month. So far the up take has been nil! I hope Washington D.C's scheme is more successful!

D.C. Confidential said...

Cowbark: I hope so, too! And you're right about bike lanes (or lack thereof). Unless using bikes is safe and traffic friendly, it's not going to catch on.


VJ: Thanks!


Eric: SLC would be the perfect city for a program like this! Wide streets, health-conscious people, outdoorsmen and women. I think it would do well there.


Marley: That's right! I completely forgot. I'm sorry to hear it's not faring well in Cheltenham. Based on your descriptions of your city, it sounds like a great place for a bike rental program. I wonder if this year's dreary weather has contributed to lack of participation? I mean really? Who wants to ride a bike in the rain?

Bobbie said...

I enjoyed your blog as usual but was way behind on my reading with many posts to read. D.C. is such an interesting place and I love your take on it!

D.C. Confidential said...

Bobbie: Thanks! I've missed your comments here. Hope you and your family are well!

Maya said...

That is awesome! Can you pick up the bike in one location and leave it in another?

D.C. Confidential said...

Maya: Yes. My understanding is, you can pick up a bike in one location and return it at another. Kind of like ZipCar, I guess.

Hilda said...

I wish the program success!

Metro Manila can use a similar program. The pollution here is awful! =(

babooshka said...

They had these when we where in Montpellier, France last year. i'll all for any city, town, village that does this.Excellent symetry in tose shots.

Dusty Lens said...

An excellent idea, love your photos! Seems to work in other cities wher they are rented. Minneapolis had a yellow bike program. Donated refurbished bicycles were painted yellow and deistributed around. None are left from vandalism or theft.

Lucy said...

Hey! I wanna ride one of those. Next time I'm back there.

D.C. Confidential said...

Hilda: I think every major city in the world needs a program like this. Get more cars off the street and more people out on bikes and walkways and using the subway and bus systems. Here's hoping the idea catches on in places like Manila!


Babooshka: Hear! Hear! And thank you!


Rob: A program like this would be perfect in a city like Minneapolis! Perhaps the Twin Cities need to try again, only this time they shouldn't use the honor system. Sadly, people aren't as honest as they once were. Perhaps, if it hit them where it hurts--their pocket--they'd be less likely to steal and vandalize.


Lucy: You're on!

The Artful Eye said...

Love, love, love this idea. I wish all great cities would do this and abandon cars. Almost impossible here in CA too many great expanses of land between here and there.

D.C. Confidential said...

Andrea: I wish the same, too. It's amazing how carbound we are in this country. Of course, it doesn't help that we don't invest in green energy or expanded transit infrastructures. We need more subways, busses, intercity trains, and bike paths! Not to mention, renewable and alternative energy forms.

Oops. I think I'm slipping into a rant.... Well, you get what I mean!