A bike share user at San Jose State University. Photo by Richard Masoner of http://www.cyclelicio.us/
A bike share user at San Jose State University. Photo by Richard Masoner of http://www.cyclelicio.us/

If all goes according to plan, a bike share system could start rolling on Tucson streets by the end of 2015.

Last week the Regional Transportation Authority’s Transportation Improvement Program subcommittee voted to provide $75,000 to the city to hire a consultant to evaluate the appropriate bike share system for Tucson.

The funding still has to be approved by the larger Pima Association of Governments council , but that will likely happen on Dec. 5.

Ann Chanecka, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager said assuming the RTA council signs off on the money, the city will hire a consultant in January  to determine which type of system and where would be the best places to locate the stations.

“First up is looking at what is feasible and creating a plan from there,” Chanecka said.  “That is where we are at right now. ”

Chanecka said she believed bike share could be work well with the streetcar.

“It will compliment the streetcar, which is a  4 mile fixed route,” she said. “We’ll likely place stations along the route and it will extend the range the streetcar will offer us.

Chanecka said she’s heard some concern that we aren’t Chicago, San Francisco, Boston or New York where bike share has been so successful, but said there are other places much smaller that have had successful systems.

“It’s  about finding the right size system and model for us,” she said. “There will be a learning curve.”

There are currently more than 30 bike share systems running and many more on the way.

The city has already performed a climate change bike share study, which can be found here.

The study used a 600 bike system with 50 stations model to estimate the climate benefit from such a system. The feasibility study could recommend a different system.

Chanecka said she thinks Tucson may be a great spot to try solar powered stations, which also has the benefit of allowing the stations to be moved for events like the Gem Show.

“If we can have stations setup for the gem show and increase the mobility, that would be great,” she said. “It’s another opportunity to move people around and have another transportation option.”

What do you think? Would you like to see a Tucson bike share system?


13 thoughts on “Tucson bike share could roll by end of 2015”
  1. @zzThe City of Tucson’s Employee City Cycle Program still exists and is eligible for use by any City employee. http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/bicycle/city-cycle
    The University of Arizona also has “Cat Wheels” a small bike sharing program for UA students and faculty. http://parking.arizona.edu/bikeshare/about.php
    The type of bike share program proposed by the City and described in this article will be much different from the current City and UA systems: 1) it will be open to the public, 2) it will be fee-based, though shorter trips (under 30 minutes) are typically free 3) there will be hundreds more bikes and dozens more stations, 4) it will follow best-practices of “third-generation” bike share programs which implement GPS technology to prevent theft and vandalism. 
    There is a lot information about North American third-gen. bike share programs here: http://www.tooledesign.com/projects/bikeshare-feasibility/bike-sharing-us-national-report

  2. Couple things – the $75,000 is NOT RTA funding, but rather federal funds that are allocated through the PAG process.  Also, the City of Tucson still has a bike share program for its employees and over the past year we’ve had almost every bike tuned up in preparation of re-advertising the system especially for new employees.

  3. I’d love to see it succeed, but does Tucson have the population density for it?
    I wonder if any of those orange bikes are still out there. Or were they yellow?

  4. StrawHousePig
    “I’d love to see it succeed, but does Tucson have the population density for it?”
    Overall, nope, Tucson being a classic Southwestern sprawl city. The best chance for bike share in the Old Pueblo seems to be in the 85719 and 85701 zip codes for their population density, demographics, and destination density.But even that seems iffy.

  5. @Ann Chanecka  
    OK. Is there Federal funding (seed money) for quality bike lockers that are safe, properly surveilled (transitive verb, sorry) in busy hinterland places such as along Sun Tran’s express routes…Harrison/Speedway, Rita Ranch, etc.?

  6. It would seem that street car stops are the destination. Who would go much further that would require a bicycle that wouldn’t just bike the whole trip or drive. It would seem to serve a very small group that would use the street car’s 4 mile run, then need to go 2-3 miles more. A learning curve is in order.

  7. Portland was yellow! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_sharing_system#United_States_programs

  8. Red Star StrawHousePig  I like the idea of having bikes available for guests and tourists such as the gem show and that might be the way to go for initial success.  Mobile stations is a very cool idea.

  9. Locals who want to ride, have bikes.  Tourists who want to ride, bring their own bikes.  Tourists who didn’t, seem to be the biggest market for these bikes.  Our money would go to benefit that small group of people.  It doesn’t seem like a wise way to spend money.

  10. Great idea for low income areas who are restricted by access/lack of funding for a bike or car. For downtown… isn’t that why we put the street car in?

  11. Tourists coming to Tucson expect they will need a car due to the extremely unwalkable, automobile centric sprawl we have built. A bikeshare limited to a few square miles will not change that. Spending taxpayer dollars on a novelty for tourists may not be wise. Spending Federal/other grant dollars on installing a new system without funds to maintain the system over time is equally unwise. Those who think bicycles at the Gemshow would be useful – WHERE would you bicycle to/from? It takes 1 hour to get from the Gemshow area to either the UA, downtown, or other midtown/desirable locations. Believe me, I work next to that area. Someone says bikeshare would be useful for low income people who do not have a car- it is unlikely that a high tech bikeshare system with smartphone/internet apps, and credit card/smart chip payment system would be usable for your typical low income Tucsonan who lives from paycheck to paycheck on cash.  Those who wish to ride, already have bikes. Improving the safety of biking around Tucson to increase bike trips amongst current bike owners may be a better investment. I would like to see an analysis of the current bike share system in place in Tucson to justify that this would be a good idea (city, UA). 

    All of the bicycling is not going to solve the underlying, fundamental problem of Tucson and America: suburban sprawl automobile scale hell development with miles and miles of stroads, that are too dangerous for automobiles, motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians alike. 

    Enjoy  “the problem with bicycles” by Nathan Lewis: http://www.newworldeconomics.com/archives/2010/080110.html

    Isn’t it time we stopped propping up this dying suburban model and start thinking about solutions to the fundamental design flaws/ideas? Can we really afford to keep throwing our money away?

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