Bike Share Rolling Into Town

Markeshia Ricks PhotoSoon you might be able to pull out your smartphone or a prepaid access card, unlock a bike in your neighborhood, ride it across town, lock it to bike rack, and walk away.

That’s because the city is months away from launching a bike share program. It’s seeking your advice on where to set it up.

But not bike share as you might know it in other parts of the country — where the program is often aimed at mostly sightseeing tourists. New Haven’s brand of bike share aims to operate as another cog in the city’s transit system for people who live and work here.

The city has chosen a vendor to run a bike share program for the city, a team from the companies E3Think and P3GM. City transit chief Doug Hausladen said a contract with the team, which must be approved by the Board of Alders, is “substantially complete.” Officials expect to submit it this week and hope to have it approved within a few months.

The program is expected to start with 300 bikes at 30 stations — 100 of which will be available at the first 10 stations, three months after the contract is signed, according to the E3Think and P3GM response to the city’s request for proposal. The idea, Hausladen said, is for it to grow to other parts of the region.

Hausladen said in addition to approval from the Board of Alders, he needs feedback from the public on where people would like the bikes located. The city’s already getting input from the housing authority, the parks department and the school district. But it’s also looking for feedback from neighbors. You can weigh in by clicking here and posting on SeeClickFix. Find out more about bike share here.

Paul Bass PhotoMichael Pinto, the city’s new deputy transportation, traffic and parking director, pitched downtown and Wooster Square neighbors at their monthly management meeting Tuesday night on coming up with suggestions for station locations. So far his office has received 70 suggestions for the 30 locations, he reported.

“Think about public spaces, bus spaces” with lots of people, Pinto said. “We want people to know about [the program] and get excited about it” before it launches.

Management team chair Peter Webster asked Pinto if the city is worried about theft of the bikes. Pinto responded that the city is benefiting from learning from other cities’ experiences. As a result it plans to equip all bikes with GPS and have the ability to disable them remotely. Portland, Oregon was able to track a stolen bike that was reported traveling 60 miles per hour on I-5—because it was traveling in the truck of a thief. “They had the Seattle police department waiting when the truck got off the exit” and the bike was recovered, he said.

Pinto said the city will hold public meetings in coming weeks to get more input. One might take place at Career High, which he called “one of the least bike-accessible places in the city.”

Asked whether smaller cities more on the scale of New Haven have had success with the program, Pinto pointed to Hoboken, N.J. as an example.
In designing New Haven’s bike share, “we benefit from lessons in other cities,” like Portland, Oregon, Pinto said. 

“Urban Planners”

E3ThinkIn fact, Hoboken is a model for New Haven’s program. The E3Think-P3GM team has worked on that city’s bike share, where it worked with housing the authority and the unbanked to address issues of equity, Hausladen said. In addition to those strengths, the team’s bid contained a proposal that ensured that the city’s cost to implement the program would be zero.

The team, which bills itself not as bike share vendors but as urban planners, will be responsible for developing public-private partnerships that aim to result in sponsorships and advertising to pay for the cost of the program. The team also plans to have a per-user fee structure that includes memberships and pay-as-you-go models. The team will be responsible for eventually regionalizing what will essentially be a privately funded system so that it expands to other towns.

Tom Glendening, founder and CEO E3Think, said New Haven was “an ideal location for next generation bike share,” noting its cultural richness with some 13 languages spoken, being an academic hub for the universities located in the city and its prime location between New York and Boston.

Glendening, who is a Yale grad, said there are a two intentions for the bike share program: to be the most socially equitable possible and to deploy next generation technology—specifically Noa Technologies.

He said while a completely privately financed program is unusual, it’s not unique.

“As a lead-up to the launch of Citibike, I captained a Harvard Business School alumni team of very seasoned professionals, working with Transportation Alternatives to justify privately financed, public bike share,” Glendening said in an email. “Following the Harvard study, E3Think spearheaded an innovative pilot, as well as permanent program for Hoboken, NJ—both 100% privately financed.”

P3GM now manages the permanent Hoboken program, he said, and also a program in West Palm Beach. Glendening said that E3Think/Noa is working on spreading bike share to mid-sized towns along I-95 from DC to Boston and already has support in 5 other markets.

“The key to a regional program along I-95 is the low cost and flexibility offered by Noa,” he added.” In Hoboken, E3Think’s original plan stretched along the Hudson River across from NYC (thus the name Hudson Bike Share). We’ve established floating zones in adjacent towns; whether part of the Hoboken program or not, further expansion is inevitable.”

New Haven’s plan calls for working to integrate Yale’s existing bike share program and working with other area colleges and universities as places for co-locating shelters and bike stations. The team has said it will make sure that such infrastructure (also known as “street furniture”) will be on the street — not tucked into garages, as Yale’s system currently is. Other features of New Haven’s bike share include cargo/adult trikes for families and people with disabilities.

Instead of relying on smart dock technology such as that used by Citibike in New York—  where the user has to whip out a credit card to pay for rides— New Haven’s system will use smart-lock technology, which leverages apps to pay for rides.

The proposed fee structure would put an annual membership at about $95; a single 30-minute ride would cost $2. The vendors promise free rides for the homeless as well as discounted annual memberships for housing authority residents. They proposed a free membership for New Haven students who earn straight As.

Glendening said there are challenges and they won’t be easy to overcome. And there are places that have failed, such as Providence, R.I., which sought to launch a traditional, privately-financed bike share program three years ago that hasn’t happened yet.

He said New Haven will be different because it’s bike share program won’t be traditional.

“Noa’s technology is much low[er] cost, far more flexible than traditional programs,” he said. “It can also be integrated with other forms of mobility (e.g. car share, on-demand transit). Noa’s technology also enables a variety of social equity strategies. Fair Haven, the Hill, SCSU—with Noa, we intend to bring bike share to all of New Haven.”

Paul Bass contributed reporting.

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posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 18, 2017  9:01pm

Take back new haven Doug Hausladen at it again.This is a attack on car owners Just as the gentrification vampires are taking over. Get ready for the bikes to take over as you lose parking spaces.

Asked whether smaller cities more on the scale of New Haven have had success with the program, Pinto pointed to Hoboken, N.J. as an example.Look at what happen in N. J.

Grumbling in Jersey City over parking spots lost to Citi Bike stations.

Bike enthusiasts are happy about the recent Citi Bike Jersey City expansion, but not everyone is thrilled about losing parking spaces for their cars.A group of residents who live on and around Astor Place managed to delay installation of a Citi Bike station on nearby Park Street over parking concerns, while residents who live around the Danforth Avenue light rail stop are pressing the city to relocate the bike station installed there.“They took the parking from us,” said Regina Johnson Green, of Princeton Avenue.

There even going after the poor

Red Hook Houses residents: ‘We’re tired of Citi Bikes and people making decisions for us.

“We don’t have enough space to park as is,” said Red Hook West Houses Tenant Association president Lillie Marshall, who says the city didn’t even bother to engage her in the discussion. “People in the community have cars and their children have bikes so what are we going to do with all these bikes? Nobody is renting these bikes, they’re just parked there.

Car Owners.Get ready to give up your car keys.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on January 18, 2017  10:05pm

The story has been up for more than six hours, and 3/5ths has not commented about gentrification vampires. I hope he’s feeling OK.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on January 18, 2017  10:08pm

Obviously, 3/5ths comment did not appear when I saw the article. It is good you can count on some things!

posted by: david_b_lewis on January 19, 2017  7:53am

Nice, but there’s a confusing message about the implementation of the underlying technology.

If I understand the technology correctly, it is inaccurate to speak of “stations” when using smart-lock models. In other programs using this model, bikes can be left and locked anywhere, and users either stumble across a bike to use or (more recently) use a smartphone app to look up locations of bikes. The distribution lowers the density of bicycles; and bicycles tend to become exclusive-use for one rider.

On the other hand, perhaps there actually will be stations where bikes will be found. But then I’m troubled that the transportation director is soliciting the public’s input about station locations, as that suggests that it isn’t clear exactly what problem this program is intended to solve. The director should already know the goal, and that should dictate the location of the stations.

posted by: concerned_neighbor on January 19, 2017  10:38am

Clearly, a bike share is a sign of gentrification as the four horsemen are a sign of the apocalypse!

But seriously, for a yearly fee of $95, I would totally use the bike share. It might make those elusive satellite parking lots useful instead of paying a kings ransom for a spot in the garage. Park on the edge of town, bike to the office. A dream!

posted by: LorcaNotOrca on January 19, 2017  2:20pm

Parking downtown has never been worse than it is now. PLEASE don’t remove more vehicle parking spots. I know that in our Utopian ideals we all ride bikes and live giddily ever after, but I don’t think New Haven is really there yet. Like it or not, a lot of people still live outside the city and drive in.

Try it out small scale, sure. But eliminating more parking spaces is just going to make things so much worse.

Also how exactly would an app-based program deliver free rides to the homeless? Do we assume they all have smart phones?

posted by: RobotShlomo on January 19, 2017  2:41pm

I wouldn’t be touting Citi Bike as an accomplishment. New Yorkers largely HATED it, the program was plagued by problems and had declining revenues, and those bikes were stolen as they were being delivered and the new design has been called a “catastrophic failure”. .

It should also be noted that Seattle had to bailout it’s bike share program, leaving tax payers on the hook for $1.4 million. It also failed in of all places San Francisco and Copenhagen, Denmark (as city with more bicycles than people).

Listen, if they can make this work here, great. I however have some serious doubts, and knowing this town like I do, I put the over / under at the bikes being stolen at about two weeks.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on January 19, 2017  4:26pm

Bike share stations do not necessarily need to take on-street parking spaces. They can be placed between in the “No Standing” zones between intersections and where on-street parking spaces begin, or stations can be placed on curb bump-outs and plaza areas on sidewalks.

People should also be careful about making comparisons between other cities, because there are many different companies that administer different kinds of bike share services with different types of bikes, docking procedures, etc. Citi Bike is not the same service that New Haven is using and not the same kinds of bikes either.

Parking was much more difficult to find Downtown in the 1940s and 1950s than it is today. Since that time, many buildings have been replaced with surface parking lots and parking garages. So much so that there is actually an over abundance of parking in this city, including in Downtown. While that may not seem like the case because on-street parking spaces are often occupied, that doesn’t accurately tell the story of parking availability because one needs to also consider off-street spaces in lots and garages.
For more information, see here:

posted by: BetweenTwoRocks on January 19, 2017  6:21pm

I’m just glad THREEFIFTHS is here to defend car users. I’m glad I can subsidize your roads with my taxes and make sure to breathe in your pollution so you don’t have to walk any further to your job. God forbid you can’t find a parking spot on the street and have to pay for the luxury for your personal automotive vehicle as you slowly annihilate the Earth.

I like bike share. I think it’s great. Hausladen wants to run it at no cost to the city because we really can’t afford it, and the companies believe they can make a profit.

I do find it amusing that commenters here are simultaneously complaining about lack of input and too MUCH input. What a time to be alive.

I, for one, am excited that when I have friends to visit, I can show them around the city the best way available: on bike. And if it takes somebody’s parking spot to do it, all the better.

posted by: RobotShlomo on January 19, 2017  8:54pm

You do realize that what ever reduction in your carbon footprint you’ve made by riding a bike, has nowhere near offset the environmental impact of making that Mac Book in a Chinese factory (complete with nets to catch the jumpers) that you’re probably typing that message on. Not to mention that their servers for the longest time where powered by electricity produced from coal fired power plants. And if you’re using a Samsung Galaxy, that’s actually slightly WORSE.

You’re enthusiastic about this, and that’s fine. However, there those of us who have our doubts. And looking at the history of other bike share programs and New Haven history of walking into these boondoggles with the so-called “best intentions”, I think those doubts are justified.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 19, 2017  10:23pm

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on January 19, 2017 3:26pm

Bike share stations do not necessarily need to take on-street parking spaces. They can be placed between in the “No Standing” zones between intersections and where on-street parking spaces begin, or stations can be placed on curb bump-outs and plaza areas on sidewalks.

What happens when you run out of No Standing” zones curb bump-outs and plaza areas on sidewalks.Also you always talk about Historic Neighborhood.look what happen.

Ugly CitiBike Stations Are Ruining Our Historic Neighborhood, Fort Greene NIMBYs Say.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 19, 2017  10:36pm

posted by: BetweenTwoRocks on January 19, 2017 5:21pm

I’m just glad THREEFIFTHS is here to defend car users. I’m glad I can subsidize your roads with my taxes and make sure to breathe in your pollution so you don’t have to walk any further to your job. God forbid you can’t find a parking spot on the street and have to pay for the luxury for your personal automotive vehicle as you slowly annihilate the Earth.

Can one bike carry Six people and Six bags of groceries at one time?You say breathe in your pollution.Never heard of Electric Cars?