The March 18th City Council Agenda has a resolution authorizing the City to enter into a contract for a self-service bike rental sharing program. Enter: Social Bicycles(http://socialbicycles.com/). Possible terms are as follows:
Five years with opinion to renew for an additional five
City receives 20% of their gross income, half will be used for bicycle/ pedestrian infrastructure projects (YAY!)
Unlike DecoBike, which was solely in Miami, Social Bicycles currently operates in nine locations, including: San Francisco, Buffalo & Hoboken. Perhaps this more experience will bring a better product? Social Bicycles also uses an advanced wireless technology in their bikes which allows for all sorts of neat functions. Another cool function is the idea of being able to lock these bicycles at a standard bike rack. That wasn’t possible with Decobikes, unless you had your own lock. Check out the Social Bicycles website for more information on this really cool service: socialbicycles.com
More information on this deal with Long Beach will come at tomorrows city council meeting. City Council Agenda is posted below:
The City intends to enter into contract for the delivery and operation of a self-service bicycle rental fleet for public use and stationed in the public right-of-way (ROW). The selected Proposer will be required to implement a program, which should enable the public to self-rent bicycles from any of several locations and return them to another. Services would be provided by the selected Proposer on a 24-hour, full time basis with sufficient personnel to successfully operate the program. The Proposer may however elect to cease operation from December 1st through April 1st of each year.
The City’s goals and objectives are to promote a vision to make bicycling an integral part of daily life for Long Beach residents and visitors. This program is to be accessible to the maximum number of people in the most cost-efficient manner to increase bicycle and decrease local motor vehicle use.
Self-service bicycle rental programs provide a convenience for bicyclists since bicycles are available on an as-needed basis, tune-ups and storage are not necessary, and bike stations are provided in strategic locations. Benefits for the City include reduced traffic congestion, improved air quality, quieter and more livable streets, and the opportunity for citizens to improve their health through exercise.
Well, so long DecoBike, but I’m glad to see that a bike-sharing program in Long Beach is still desired. I never understood why C.A.V.E. people wouldn’t want this? Those bikes didn’t bother anybody and are very beneficial to Long Beach for so many reason. I have a zillion bikes in my garage, so normally I have no use for a program like this, but one time I had a bunch of out-of-town friends over. While walking on the boardwalk, one of my friends had the idea of all of us hopping on some bikes. We did, went for a ride and ended up spending money at several local establishments, something that we originally didn’t intend on doing. I know that’s not THE reason to have a bike-sharing program here, but really do believe, in a city where bike riding is so prominent, this program is much needed.
I tried my best to answer or find answers to all the questions that were thrown at me. I just want to thank everybody who contacted me . Also, a big thanks those who helped me find some answers. Enjoy!
During my morning bike ride I noticed something about the dozen or so Decobikes at the Grand Blvd/boardwalk kiosk: many of them had flat tires. Ok, so I get it. Not everybody likes Decobikes. That’s fine, but is this the message we want to send to a company trying to do business here in Long Beach? Love Decobikes or hate them, the City of Long Beach are the ones that allowed them to operate here. If you have a problem, tell City Hall. Just don’t mess with private property.
Chances are, it was just a bunch of stupid kids trying to impress each other. If you want to be funny then do something a little bit more clever. For example: take a sponge bath with a decobike and post the photos on.. say seabythecity. That would be hilarious. Plus the bike would be shiny clean – no harm done.
I know what some of you are thinking: Not another Decobike post! Believe me, I agree 100%, but this stuff is important for the Long Beach historical archives (Just please humor me, ok?).
I had my daily boardwalk bike ride around 2pm this Sunday and tried to take notice of as much “Decobike action” as possible. Here are a few observations:
The most amount of Decobikers I noticed between Neptune to Grand Blvds were twelve (not including the Decogirls in the photo).
Passing the Franklin Blvd kiosk four times I took notice of the amount of bicycles that were there: 9, 7, 10 and 12. I chose Franklin because I figured it would be the quietest kiosk.
I felt absolutely no impact of the kiosks or Decobikes themselves: the kiosks with bikes were not in my way of riding on a busy beach Sunday. The decobikers all seemed to understand the concept of riding a bicycle. For some reason there is this fear that every person who rides a Decobike will not know how to ride a bicycle. I have a similar fear with automobiles. I really think all the negativity will go away once most of you get used to the fact that Decobike is here and won’t interfere with your lives at all.
The bells on the bikes will be annoying for residents who live near the kiosks. I saw a bunch of kids just ringing the bells over and over. Yeah, that would drive me nuts. (Video Link)
I was told by a Decobike spokesperson that they had roughly 300 riders (unconfirmed) on Saturday, June 30th. He said they were pleased with that number, considering it was the first Saturday with the bicycles. He didn’t give me a number for what they’re hoping, but said it looks promising. If you took the cheapest price point of $4 (for 30 min), that would mean Deco took in a minimum of $1200 in revenue during its first Saturday of operation.
The Decobike mobile app is currently Miami-only. When asked about that, the spokesperson told me Long Beach support will be coming soon. It won’t be a separate app, so if you downloaded the Miami one already, expect an update eventually, hopefully with retina-graphics for those with newer iphones. The app is actually pretty useful because it shows you the exact numbers of bikes at every kiosk (see picture of Miami example). The DecoMan said something about how they are switching the stations from cell to wifi – that’s when the app will be updated. I think he got cell and wifi confused… methinks it should be the other way around. Either way, he said he was from Miami, so maybe he knows something…. haha
The document speaks for itself: decobike.pdf. Some notable items:
SECTION 1. TERM:
The Initial term of this Agreement shall be for five (5) years, commencing on the date of “Operational Rollout”. The “Operational Rollout” date shall be defined as the earlier of: (a) the first date that access to bicycles in the program is available to the public (excluding any temporary demonstration periods) or; (b) April 1, 2012.
So the five year contract started April 1st, 2012.
SECTION 6. HURRICANE EVACUATION PLAN
Concessionaire agrees that any and all Equipment not permanently affixed , must be removed within twelve (12) hours from the issuance of a Hurricane Warning by the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management……….
SECTION 31. CITY’S CONTRIBUTION TO PROGRAM
The City agrees to provide Concessionaire with the following forms of assistance for the program:
1. Banner and link for program on City’s website; 2. Quarterly e-mail blasts to all City employees and others on City e-mail lists during the first contract year following Operational Rollout date; 3. Participation in the Federal Bicycle Commuter Act Employee Reimbursement Program, if possible, 4. In the event of a hurricane, provide a “loading area” (and, if available, a storage area) for Concessionaire to use where Concessionaire can temporarily park trailers or shipping containers to load bicycles (and/or as a point for pick up/drop off of same by Concessionaire); 5. Provide an area sufficient for Concessionaire to use in the event of a hurricane where Concessionaire can temporarily park trailers or shipping containers to store bicycles and/or as a point for pickup/drop off of same by Concessionaire.
There is so much more, but the text is hard to extract from this document and I refuse to purchase the expensive Adobe PDF application, but please view the entire PFD here: decobike.pdf
A reader named XBOX just sent me this little rant. I say XBOX is right. What do you think?
Decobike has started but has not fulfilled their end of the contract concerning bike lanes as we have serious gaps in highly dangerous intersections. I question whether the city is capable of handling this bike share when there is no safety commission, nor person experienced to handle repurposing our streets for non-motorized transportation (in addition to having no head of public transport that ties in). They are playing roulette with the public.
I just passed Kings Pharmacy (639 East Park Avenue) in the East End and noticed some bikes occupying the Decobike Kiosk. I am not sure if this is a city-wide phenomenon, so I can’t vouch for other kiosks stations. Of course, I sped right by and had no chance to snap a photo. I won’t be able to run over there for the rest of the night, but if anybody can take a photo of the Decobikes, please send them my way via CONTACT FORM. I’ll post them later tonight. In the meantime, enjoy the shot of an unlikely situation below.
Feeling the blues lately? You should. Thanks to a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, our boardwalk and streets are shining a lot bluer. Every single lamp on the boardwalk has been replaced with a more energy efficient bulb and fixture. Much of the boulevards and main strips across town were given the same treatment as well. They are called white lights, but I see blue. Either way, they’re going to save us some cash. According to the West End Beautification Association:
“The lamp in the induction light burns five times longer than the former high pressure sodium lamps. Night sky watchers will recognize that the new lamps project a white light downward, alleviating intrusive light dispersion and providing a more aesthetically appealing illumination for pedestrians and drivers. (source – West End Beautification Association Update)
The blue light is strikingly different than our traditional yellowish tint. Some people don’t like it; most don’t care or would even notice. Heck, We didn’t pay for this upgrade directly and it will save us money in the long run. No complaining here.
My reasoning was simple: We have so many great events going on in this city that nobody knows about. Plus, let’s get the out-of-towners to these events so they can spend their money here. City Manager Jack Schnirman himself told me he loved the bulletin board idea, but the city just has no funds to do it (yet). Council Councilman Mike Fagen told me the same thing.
This weekend, to my surpirse, I noticed these yellow fliers posted down our boardwalk, essentially turning every ticket booth into a makeshift bulletin board! What a great idea! Any way we can get people in Long Beach and visitors to know what’s going on around town is an obvious positive for the city and event coordinators alike. I would smack these fliers right in front of the Allegria Hotel and our LIRR station as well. Let’s get that vistor money! Our local businesses need it.
DECOBIKE STILL SHOWING A HEARTBEAT (see photo below)
All of the Decobike kiosks have been given a minor update these past few days: Stickers with lights. WHOA, SOMEBODY BREAK OUT THE CHAMPAGNE! July 4th the bikes are supposed to come. I won’t believe it until I see it.