Pittsburgh Bike Share Partnership awaits corporate sponsor
Six months since Pittsburgh leaders announced plans to start a bike-share program, organizers have collected $600,000 from foundations and are showing a proposed map of 50 station locations to neighbors.
They have not secured a corporate sponsor, which the Pittsburgh Bike Share Partnership must have before it puts 500 rentals on the street by August.
Organizers say they're not worried.
“The talks have been going really well,” Bike Pittsburgh Executive Director Scott Bricker said. He said discussions have included several corporations, none of which he would identify. “We haven't inked a deal.”
The system provides bikes for short-term rentals, allowing people to travel between stations. Riders pay by credit card to undock a bike from one station then dock it at another station.
“We have those spots where you don't need a car, but it's too far to walk,” said Wanda Wilson, executive director of the Oakland Planning and Development Corp. “It's really geared toward those shorter-term uses, not to provide a recreational amenity.”
Organizers want to bring the bike-share program to Pittsburgh while interest in biking is high. The annual Pedal Pittsburgh event last month had its highest attendance in its 20-year history, and advocates say more people are using bikes for commuting, recreation or both.
“The more opportunity you present to people to ride their bikes, the more they will use them,” said Phyllis Stedford, 56, of Brighton in Beaver County, who participated in Pedal Pittsburgh and other events.
Starting the system requires a major sponsor or several corporations to contribute $2.5 million over five years, said Bricker, whose Lawrenceville-based group partnered with the city and Walnut Capital to run the program.
In other cities with bike-share programs, sponsors get their names and logos on bikes — such as the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota fender covers on the Nice Ride bikes in Minneapolis — or get to name the system, as Citibank did with the Citi Bike program in New York.
“It seems to resonate with a lot of corporations,” Bricker said.
Organizers want the system running a month before the city hosts the Pro Walk Pro Bike conference in September 2014.
The program got a $1.6 million federal grant and $600,000 from the Hillman Foundation, Heinz Endowments and Richard King Mellon Foundation. With a year to buy bikes and build solar-powered stations, organizers designed a system map and station specs they're showing to community groups.
“The funding streams require that the stations are installed on public property,” said Stephen Patchan, the city's bike-pedestrian coordinator. “They need solar exposure. The stations have to sync up with each other.
“It's very technically driven. We couldn't go to the public first and say, ‘Where do you want stations?' ”
The proposed map shows stations clustered in the North Side, Downtown, South Side, Oakland, Shadyside, Bloomfield and Lawrenceville.
Managers will remove stations in winter.
“This is a seasonal system. We'll have to watch the weather. Boston does the same thing,” Patchan said. “I would expect by mid-November, these things will be off the street.”
The stations will be 5 to 6 feet wide and 40 to 90 feet long, depending on the location.
Patchan and others took the plans to Oakland last month. Wilson, whose group hosted the meeting, said organizers and property owners appear to agree on station locations.
“There certainly is a lot of demand for alternatives to driving everywhere,” Wilson said. She hopes a move from traffic-clogging cars to more commuter bikes will drive support for dedicated bike lanes.
“We need to have the right facilities and infrastructure to make it safe and accessible,” she said.
Staff writer Craig Smith contributed to this report. David Conti is a Trib Total Media staff writer. He can be reached at 412-388-5802 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Animal activists targeting Vick at Steelers preseason game
- Risks don’t get any better as online dating prospers
- 2 Brentwood council members keep positions, council approves third resignation
- 3 from Allegheny County charged with Medicaid fraud
- Animal welfare groups see opportunities in dialogue about Vick signing
- Board members bring business attitude to nonprofit August Wilson
- Port Authority’s plan for car-free communities slow to bear fruit
- Newsmaker: John Malone
- W.Pa. to observe International Overdose Awareness Day
- Solarize Allegheny powers up with more communities
- Shaler man charged with homicide, abuse of corpse in McKeesport woman’s death