Decatur City Commission to Discuss Bike Share Program Feasibility

UPDATE: Here’s Planning Director Amanda Thompson’s description of what this work session tonight is all about…

 The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition received funding to conduct a feasibility study for a bike share system for the City of Atlanta and Decatur. The study included an overview of existing bike share systems in the United States – their funding, how they are administered and what kind of technology they use, suggested where stations could be installed over time and cost estimates for implementing a sharing system. Rebecca and Bradley Davis, one of the consultants, will present what we have found to date.

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There’s a work session on the Decatur City Commission’s agenda this evening titled “Bike Share Feasibility Study”.

Wikipedia defines bike share programs as “… a service in which bicycles are made available for shared use to individuals who do not own them. Bicycle sharing systems can be divided into two general categories: “Community Bike programmes” organized mostly by local community groups or non-profit organizations; and “Smart Bike programmmes” implemented by government agencies, sometimes in a public-private partnership. The central concept of these systems is to provide free or affordable access to bicycles for short-distance trips in an urban area as an alternative to motorized public transport or private vehicles, thereby reducing traffic congestion, noise, and air pollution. Bicycle sharing systems have also been cited as a way to solve the “last mile” problem and connect users to public transit networks.[3]

Now you may be saying to yourself…Did he just Wikipedia “bike sharing”?  Yes.  Yes I did.  That’s what I do when I don’t have further info yet.  (And it’s because I hadn’t asked the city about it until this moment.  No one is dragging their feet, except me of course.  I’ll update the post once I have more info.)

Lots of large cities have bike share programs already in place, including Denver, Minneapolis, Boulder CO, Boston, Kansas City and of course Chattanooga, TN – who is, according to some, currently “eating Atlanta’s lunch“.  NYC and Chicago also have plans to launch bike share programs this year.  Smaller cities like Bridgeport, Connecticut; Portland, Maine; and Fort Collins, Colorado are currently pursuing bike share programs, according to Streetsblog.

Photo of Chattanooga man/city eating Atlanta’s lunch on a bike courtesy of Streetsblog

15 thoughts on “Decatur City Commission to Discuss Bike Share Program Feasibility”


  1. You mean like Decatur Yellow Bikes, except there would actually be bikes? (Not counting, of course, when they would mysteriously show up for the July 4th parade).

    1. The yellow bikes were on an honor system and some dishonorable people with pick up trucks hauled them all off. The bike share programs I’ve used or admired (Boulder, Chattanooga, and some college campus I can’t remember) are on a charge card driven rental system. They are also heavy. Maybe they have tracking and regulators in them so you don’t go too far?

      In Chattanooga you use your credit card and they put a deposit/hold on your card.
      On the college campus, you had to be a student and use a campus card. If we got a bike share system I would love to have a special card to use for the rental so that students and others w/o charge cards, could use them. I guess it would be a strain on the city to administer but I keep thinking that a city pass for the pools, bikes, whatever would be awfully convenient.

      1. I love the idea of a universal city pass. Would love it even more if, as a taxpayer, my card was loaded with a handful of complimentary usages each year, maybe a couple of pool visits and a couple of bike rides. Or 4-5 things of my choice: trip to the pool or bike ride or exercise class. Wouldn’t that be a nice little perk for us revenue-positive households who kick in WAY more than we consume? I have probably not used a Decatur pool five times in 15 years, and doubt I’d visit any more frequently if I could get in free once or twice a summer. But the offer would surely be nice.

  2. Since London’s bike share program is nicknamed “Boris Bikes” in honor of Mayor Boris Johnson, will Decatur’s be known as “Baskett Bikes”?

  3. First, we need to level-out the steep hill between Farmburger and Leons. It’s unfair to ask us West Poncers to pedal uphill to all the festivals.

  4. And ViaCycle is based right here in Atlanta. They were spun out of GA Tech. Think: “Zipcar with bikes”. Great to see the city looking at this again.

  5. I use bike share all the time when I go to DC for work. I’m usually working in Crystal City and use the awesome Mt. Vernon trail to go past the always exciting end of the National Airport Runway along the Potmac and across to right where the Jefferson Memorial is located. From there, I usually park and walk around the tidal basin and find the next rack near the mall. It makes a trip into DC very cheap, healthy, and fun. The DC bikes are completely reflective, have automatic head lights and tail lights and great bells. A little heavy of course, but very durable and easy step through frames. I have started looking for bike share programs where ever I travel.

  6. They have this in Montreal and it is fabulous – Could work well in Decatur/Atlanta, but they would need to be a bit more bike friendly and a bit less constructiony. Also we might need a no driving and talking law so that the chatty/oblivious drivers don’t run over everybody.

  7. I used the bike share system in DC a lot 4 years ago. It got me around downtown faster than the subway or bus.

    Decatur likely cannot afford the infrastructure of those rack based kiosk systems.

    There is a startup out of Georgia Tech called viaCycle tha might work well for Decatur. The bikes are standalone (no kiosk infrastructure), have a GPS, and are unlocked/locked by a quick text message. I use them on occasion when I don’t bike to work just to get around Georgia Tech, where they are testing out the system.

    Info here: http://www.viacycle.com/

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