When bike sharing comes to downtown Los Angeles July 7, making the system equitable for disadvantaged communities will be a priority with the help of a new $75,000 grant from the national Better Bike Share Partnership.
The coalition award, combined with a $25,000 matching grant from Metro, will fund a $100,000 bike share education and encouragement program administered by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) and Multicultural Communities for Mobility (MCM), two L.A.-based community partners. These organizations will develop and test strategies to make Metro and the city of L.A.’s bike share system more accessible and comfortable for underserved communities in and around downtown L.A. and to develop metrics for implementing and measuring equity over the long term.
“As we roll out bike sharing for the first time in Downtown Los Angeles, we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that the system is affordable and accessible to everyone,” said Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair. “Bike sharing is a natural extension of transit, so it is critical that we create a program that is economical and equitable that meets the needs of our customers, many of whom depend on transit, walking and biking to get where they need to go.”
Scheduled to launch in two weeks, the Metro Bike Share Pilot program will include up to 1,000 bicycles and 65 stations in downtown L.A. from Chinatown to L.A. Trade Tech. Planned locations include Union Station, City Hall, Grand Park, the L.A. Convention Center, South Park, Chinatown, the Arts District, the Fashion District, Little Tokyo and more.
Metro has worked closely with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) to select locations that best meet the mobility needs of downtown residents.
“Bike sharing is a big part of L.A.’s transportation future — it’s affordable, sustainable, and gives people a healthy and exciting way to experience the city,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “But bike share programs won’t reach their potential unless we make them more widely accessible. These grant dollars are going to help us make sure that it is available in every community, regardless of geography or income.”
Metro and the city of Los Angeles are working on multiple Metro Board-approved equity initiatives to make Metro Bike Share accessible to everyone. Among other plans, Metro will be waiving the $40 annual flex fee for participants of Metro’s Rider Relief program, enabling low-income transit riders to register for the system and pay only $1.75 per use. That structure also allows bike share to mirror the price of a single trip on the Metro bus and train system.
“The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is excited about our Better Bike Share Partnership grant opportunity to work with Metro, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and Multicultural Communities for Mobility to make sure all people, especially low-income people and people of color, are included and have access to bike share’s benefits,” said Tamika Butler, Executive Director of the LACBC. “Together we can create a more equitable bike share program that puts the user first and thinks about serving riders of all genders, races, gender identities, incomes, ages, and abilities.”
“Through the Better Bike Share Partnership grant, MCM and LACBC will lead culturally informed research of the bike share system facilitated by a team of community leaders and young professionals to engage a priority audience of low-income individuals and people of color,” said Maria Sipin, Advisory Board Co-chair for Multicultural Communities for Mobility. “This team will seek feedback from and inform our audience about bike share with the goal of learning about its use of the system, their concerns, barriers, and interests related to biking.”
People who live, work and play in downtown L.A. are encouraged to sign up for a Metro bike share pass in advance of the launch at www.metro.net/bikeshare. The system will be accessible exclusively to pass holders from July 7 until August 1, 2016, when it will open for all users, including walk-up customers.