Bike Share

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a bike share like the Cities?
Or like Nashville?

And/or car share like Chicago?

It seems like programs that a community association would be great at administering.

23 Comments

Dawn Marie

about 10 years ago

This is a neat idea.  It wouldn't work for me personally, but it's still neat.  But how do they prevent theft?  Most theives don't care about their identity/credit so being charged for stealing a car isn't going to deter them into thinking "oh gosh this affects my credit, I better get the car back from the chop shop!"  Not mocking the process, I'm genuinely intrigued.

johnjaundice

about 10 years ago

Ah, a nice idea yes. Would it work in Duluth? Eh, probably not.  In case you haven't noticed, this is not a bike friendly city for your average joe.

emilymoesewco

about 10 years ago

In order to rent a car, you have to be a member. They have certain facts about you and the ability to charge you for damages etc. It would not be a good idea to take the car. Your credit card being charged for an entire car would not be such a good thing!

You make your reservation on-line and have to swipe a card at the car in order to get in. Once inside, you log a PIN number into a keypad to get the car started. 

It works really well. I was a member almost from the beginning and still keep my card in case of visits. There were cars placed all around the city. At first, I had to bike about 8 blocks to get to one or take the train, but they expanded very quickly and I had a car about 2 blocks from where I lived. It was also really handy to have a membership if you only had a small car. There were a few SUVs and trucks you could get to pick up that Craigslist couch or trip to Ikea-- Ikea actually has a carshare spot right up at the front! 

I understand that they are increasing the number of electric cars in the fleet. There are carshares around all sorts of places around the US. It seems to be a pretty successful venture. 

No, Duluth isn't so very bike friendly. But I can imagine some in Canal Park that tourists would flock to paying for a truck that made trips bringing the bikes to the top of the hill.... bus up, bike down? 

I've personally wished for bus up, ski down!

GregBenson

about 10 years ago

I think so. I posted this on our blog a few weeks back. http://blog.lolldesigns.com/2012/11/to-bike-or-not-to-be.html

Dorkus

about 10 years ago

Wouldn't it be great to have a professional sports team? An amusement park? Skyscrapers? You know, like the ones they have in cities that have area populations which are 10 times the size of ours?

Not to be mean, but I think it is painfully obvious why these ideas would not work in Duluth.

The bike share is the only thing I could see as being feasible in a city of this size, but the hills would severely limit the areas which you could use them. 

Maybe keeping it to the Lakewalk area would help. Just having a couple of kiosks in downtown/Canal Park with a few terminal kiosks near the start of the Munger trail and the end of the Lakewalk (assuming they extend the Lakewalk that way). Maybe even a UMD/Scholastica-area system as well.

[email protected]

about 10 years ago

Dude, diminish the harsh.  Why wouldn't carshare work here?  Is this community so affluent that everyone can afford a car?  I can think of a lot of young professionals who would find this attractive.

secretseasons

about 10 years ago

I think the reason Duluth can never be like [insert place here] is because so many think it's "painfully obvious" that it can't be like [insert place here]. 

They have hills in San Francisco. 

Herzog

about 10 years ago

Yes, one could probably sustain a rinky dink little bike rental in Canal, along with monkey rentals, for the bloodthirsty throngs who loiter between the months of June-Sept.  But for the rest of the city, the remaining 95 percent, renting bikes to occasional gawkers and gapers is insane. The meth and incense users would only strip them down for parts and then blend a painted used broom handle into the areas they melted down to make their lab. 

 Those who are serious about biking already use one, theirs.   Duluth is bike friendly all the way along the lake, and on the trails leading off into forests few ever venture, that's great, but that's it.  If it wasn't so, Blatnik would have a bike lane.  WTF?

Herzog

about 10 years ago

Further, it might've made sense, along the only bike trail what exists, if half the town where it leads to wasn't DRY. By dry I mean, alcohol such as beer and wine, is not allowed. If there was a destination, like a beer, or a band, randy tourists might want to rent a bike, because there's somewhere to go. People like adventures.  But, the powers that be couldn't understand this basic idea if it swelled up like an ingrown hair on their derriere. 

 Half of your town has no viable restaurant/entertainment income.  One Half.  Point five.  Do you know what that means?  It means the bike path that goes there serves no real purpose to the people you would be renting the bikes to!  Hunkaloona Matata.  Half the town in prohibition, puts the rest of you in a money loosing proposition.

emilymoesewco

about 10 years ago

Hold on. Chill. I am not suggesting a large car share. 

And I think bike share would work-- good lord is Duluth so much more crime ridden than Chicago? 

All the buses go downtown. They all converge in one place. Put a cluster of bikes there so that people who were moving about the lower level could travel a bit without waiting for another bus to go another direction. When I think about bike share, I don't think about touristy bike paths, I think about people who need to move a few blocks to get their errands done. 

But wow. Why would this suggestion make people angry? Why do you have such a low opinion of this population?

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

A little fact check on Herzog's comment:

Half of Duluth is not dry. One neighborhood can't sell booze. It amounts to maybe 15 percent of Duluth being dry.

But yeah, it's a silly prohibition. On the other hand, cycling under the influence is best avoided.

[email protected]

about 10 years ago

I have decided that Herzog is engaged in absurdist performance art on this thread.

Shane

about 10 years ago

Duluth cannot support such ventures, because they are not economically feasible, given the population and geography of the city.

[email protected]

about 10 years ago

How many users are required to keep a non-profit car sharing program afloat?

[email protected]

about 10 years ago

Phrased differently:  my wife and I use Enterprise whenever work requires us both to have a car.  Would it be easier to use the nonprofit company?  Would it be cheaper to use the nonprofit?  And are we the only ones?

hbh1

about 10 years ago

No, actually, we are a one-car family. And having a car share during those rare times when we need a second vehicle would be awesome.

emilymoesewco

about 10 years ago

Car share costs less than Enterprise when you're not renting overnight. If you only need the car far a few hours, it is far less expensive. 

I'm not certain that a city of this size could support car share, but it seems to me that a community foundation might spend a little time finding out. I-Go started as part of a community foundation, and for the first few years was actually administered by another car share in Portland. There are ways to start small.

Dorkus

about 10 years ago

Secretseasons, there is a difference between being pessimistic and realistic.

But you missed the main point. Yes, San Francisco has hills. It also has 7.15 million people in the metro area.

emilymoesewco

about 10 years ago

Let's separate the two ideas. Car share: probably too expensive for Duluth, but something to file into the idea folder. 

Bike Share. Why would this be too expensive for a city of this size? I'm pretty sure it would be possible for the capital expenses to be paid by grant. The number of memberships would sort of decide how many bikes there would be, wouldn't it? San Fran would need far more bikes than Duluth, but that just means that the program wouldn't be as big. I could envision essentially three places to have them. Downtown near bus depot, Canal Park and up near the colleges somewhere. Put maybe 4 bikes in each place and it's 12 bikes.

wskyline

about 10 years ago

I was looking at the Nashville bike share program, and it looks like what would be expensive is the kiosks that the bikes are stored in/where you pay. It seems like for 3 kiosks with only 4 bikes each the cost might not even out. I think during the summer both downtown and canal could support more than 4 bikes, but in the winter...? Bikes are hard to ride in the winter and leaving them out would likely damage them. So if this could somehow be a 3 season bike share, I could see it working. It would all depend on the initial start up cost, and what the volume of usage would have to be to keep it sustained, both of which, I'm guessing, aren't easy questions to answer.

emilymoesewco

about 10 years ago

I feel like someone did some sort of pedestrian count study last spring. It would be interesting to know the results. 

But yes, 3 season would be the way to go. Do they keep the bikes accessible in Minneapolis over the winter? How do they handle that there?

andrew

about 10 years ago

Minneapolis takes the rental bikes and kiosks off the streets and are unavailable during the winter.

The trouble with bike rental like they have in Mpls is that the bicycles tend to get left at kiosks that are at the bottom of hills.  These bicycles then must be loaded on a trailer and delivered to other kiosks to keep them evenly distributed.  Duluth is much hillier than Mpls.

From what I've seen in Mpls the people who ride rental bikes are usually inexperienced and not very safety conscious.  Combined with how unfriendly Duluth is to cyclists, I would anticipate some casualties.

emilymoesewco

about 10 years ago

More bikes, more bike friendly. 

Yeah, I think probably people would enjoy renting to go doooowwwwwnnnnn. But I also think that the rate of rental in and around Canal Park could possibly offset the costs of hauling the bikes back uuuuppppp.

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