Bike-share program may expand across Echo Park and Silver Lake areas

Echo Park bike share station

A proposal to expand a pilot bike share program in Echo Park, Silver Lake and other neighborhoods west of Downtown was approved by a City Council committee today despite relatively low usage rates and what some have described as high rental fees.

The Transportation Committee voted today in favor of adding 1,000 bikes to Metro’s Bike Share Pilot Program that covers the greater Downtown area, including portions of Echo Park, Silver Lake, Historic Filipinotown, Koreatown, Pico Union and Westlake/MacArthur Park.

In addition, the committee voted to support expansion of the pilot program on the Westside, Venice as well as the San Fernando Valley.

The city and the transportation agency share the cost of the program, with the expansion west of Downtown expected to cost the city $900,000 for the first year. The report did not provide details about the location of new bike-share stations under the proposed expansion.

The bike-share expansion proposal now goes to the full City Council for a final vote.

Cyclists have taken nearly 400,000 trips in the city through the bike-share program during the last 20 months, according to officials. However,  the results of the L.A. program lag far behind other cities. Streetsblog  said that the usage rate for the  Downtown area is far below those in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and New York. Pasadena has considered dropping out of the program because of low use.

However, Metro is undertaking efforts to boost ridership and make the program more affordable, according to a report by Department of Transportation General Manager Seleta J. Reynolds. The changes include more promotional pricing (the standard rate is $3.50 for 30 minutes), the introduction of “smart bikes” (which can be docked at any bike rack) and electric-assist bikes.

The bike-share station at Echo Park Lake launched on October 5 to see if there was enough demand to support a bike share network throughout the neighborhood and beyond Downtown.

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