Peninsula bike share likely to get a reprieve

Thanks to support from Peninsula bike share cities and bike users,  it looks like the Peninsula bike share pilot will get a reprieve through June 30, 2016.  While the overall system was slated to expand to 7.000 bikes, including 4,500 in San Francisco and 1,000 in San Jose, the Peninsula stations in Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Redwood City were proposed to be removed.

Tomorrow, the MTC will review an updated proposal to extend the pilot, giving cities the ability to reposition stations, including stations that test the ability to use bikeshare for Caltrain last-mile connectivity.    Depending on the level of use, the cities will be able to maintain the system at pricing levels up to no cost, and to defray the cost of the stations with local advertising.

The place to watch most closely for the success of an extended pilot is Mountain View, which has wanted to test the use of bikeshare for Caltrain last mile connectivity to North Bayshore and other employment locations, a use case that was not allowed in the initial pilot which required stations to be close together. In general, research shows that station density is a critical factor in system success.   However, the Peninsula has a distinctive land use pattern with major job centers 1-3 miles from backbone transit, and as a consequence Caltrain has the highest transit-bike use in the country, with 15% of Caltrain riders using a bicycle for first and/or last mile.    As overall Caltrain ridership soars, the level of crowding is encouraging pursuit of “offboard” methods to support people who want to use bikes with Caltrain.

To thank MTC for the pilot extension, send a quick note toto MTC planning staffer Alex Bockelman, abockelman@mtc.ca.gov, and Caltrain’s last-mile staffer,pettys@samtrans.com.  Also copy the staff person in the city where you use Caltrain – Jessica Manzi in Redwood City, jmanzi@redwoodcity.org, Rafael Rius in Palo Alto, rafael.rius@cityofpalo.org, Linda Forsberg in Mountain View, linda.forsberg@mountainview.gov. And adina.levin@friendsofcaltrain.com