Update: Resolution passed 5-1 to move forward, more after October regional planning forum coordinated by State Assemblyman Richard Bloom.
The Santa Monica City Council included bikeshare in the Bike Action Plan recommendations adopted on November 22, 2011 and designated bikeshare as one of the highest priority projects for Bike Action Plan implementation.
Tonight the next step in the process comes before the City Council, item 8A on the agenda – How will we move the process forward?
Last Spring when then LA Mayor Villaraigosa unexpectedly announced Los Angeles had partnered with Bike Nation to provide Bike Share and thus derailed much of the preliminary work being done in Santa Monica, and the WSCOG to create a regional Bike Share NETWORK. Chair of that committee was then SM Mayor now 50th districts State Assemblyman Richard Bloom (and SM Councilman Kevin McKewon), also actively participating in this process with the WSCOG were City staff from WSCOG City’s (Beverly Hills, Culver City, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and County of Los Angeles) bike advocates, Santa Monica Spoke, WeHoBC and LACBC on a bicycle advisory committee. To put it lightly we were all pretty stunned by the Mayors announcement and the manner the choice was made to say nothing of the then nearly unknown provider.
However – Santa Monica continued moving forward with a close eye on what was happening in Los Angeles. Through the City’s efforts we have secured available grant funds to initiate a bikeshare system totaling $2,764,000. Each granting agency has required steps and timing for grant funds and staff has been coordinating with the agencies. One such hurdle is selecting a provider by this December! Although we do want to move forward – we also want to collaborate and coordinate with Los Angeles and the region so that we establish a truly regional bike share network. Jason at the SM Lookout outlines more on that here
Bike Nation has failed to materialize for a variety of reasons and now we are at a similar point before “LA’s announcement” – making the choice of what operator, and what revenue structure to move forward with. Assemblyman Richard Bloom sent an invitation to re-convene the discussion on Bike Share with the WSCOG, City Staff, LA Metro and members of our bike advisory committee to meet in October. “To be successful, we have to all be partners” he says in his invitation. Santa Monica is leading the way as they are the only city that currently has money to move forward on a bike share program including stations outside our city limits. In the spirit of collaboration and creating a network that works regionally the City has petitioned an extension for awarding a operator contract so we can include other stake holders in the operator selection and the potential revenue models chosen. In the interim “staff recommends that the Council require any operator bidding for Santa Monica’s bike share program to be able to explain how they would ensure that their system will be interoperable with any future system to be deployed in a neighboring jurisdiction”.
With EXPO coming Bike Share is one way we can support and provide options to reduce auto traffic and congestion. We are excited it is finally getting closer.
Look for a report on the regional meeting in mid October.