Above is one of the more interesting motions to come forth in the October round of meetings for the Metro Board of Directors. It involves one of our favorite issues: first mile, last mile — i.e. how to get people to and from transit stations.
The gist of it: The motion, by five members of the board, seeks to have Metro pursue a countywide bike share program that would put bikes at key transit stations throughout Los Angeles County. The motion sailed through the Board's Executive Management Committee on Thursday and will be considered by the full Board next Thursday.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti explained the rationale for the motion on Thursday, saying he believes it would be better to create a countywide program instead of having individual cities pursue their own programs. A county program, the mayor said, is “the best way to create a simple system that crosses city boundaries.”
The city of L.A. had been pursuing a bike share program with BikeNation, but that effort has been stalled.
Damien Newton at L.A. Streetsblog has a good post on the motion, which is hardly surprising: Damien has long been following the bike share issue in our region.
The article includes this quote from Metro Board Member and L.A. Councilman Mike Bonin that I think sums up this effort and the challenge ahead for Metro:
“To be successful, we need to make sure our bike share program is user friendly. We can’t have a maze of competing bureaucratic regulations, standards and fees from city to city. A single membership card and a single membership fee will provide easy access to the system, allowing someone to check out a bike in Venice and return it in Santa Monica, or check it out in West Hollywood and return it in Silverlake.”
I’d like to see a well planned and implemented bike network and infrastructure (routes, separated lanes, road diets) in Los Angeles County before seeing a bikeshare system – it’s hard to get around on bike as is, and not particulary safe in many cases.
James: “first mile, last mile” refers to the gap that often exists between the nearest transit stop and one’s home or destination, not the distance traveled on transit itself. Many people in Southern California live and/or work 1-2 miles from reasonably frequent transit service — too far to walk, but easily doable on a bike. A regional bike share system, if deployed in the right places (Santa Monica and Downtown LA — yes; Glendora and Palos Verdes — no) could make transit more conveniently accessible for these types of commuters.
As a region, we need this because many cities do not have the motivation, interest, knowledge, nor resource to implementing their own bike plans. A county-wide program would give us a bit of hope that at least something would be done… instead of nothing.
Hmm. “First mile, last mile.” Except that when I take Metro to a concert, or to a museum, it’s “First 6-22 miles” before the concert (depending on where I’m coming from), and “last 18 miles” coming home after the concert. But it still beats driving the entire distance, especially if there’s rush hour traffic, and then having to pay through the nose for parking.