Mayor Kasim Reed signed a contract this week with a bike share company called CycleHop. Starting this summer, they’ll be installing 50 bike rental stations with 500 bikes around the city.
But there aren’t a lot of bike lanes in Atlanta. That could change.
Atlanta currently has about 45 miles of on-street bike lanes. Rebecca Serna with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, says that’s totally OK. Four years ago, Boston started off with about the same number of miles.
“They were really, really far behind as far as having that network and infrastructure,” Serna says. “But what they were able to do was take the interest that bike share sparks and use that demand and momentum to build that network.”
Boston more than doubled its on-street bike lanes since then. Serna is hoping for the same in Atlanta.
Charletta Wilson Jacks is director of the city’s Office of Planning. Atlanta’s upcoming infrastructure bond may add a few more miles of bike lanes.
“We’re not just going to settle with the 45 miles,” Jacks says. “We’re looking for opportunities to expand.”
The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition has studied whether a bike share program here would work. Serna says yes, but only if it’s done right.
“The thing with bike share is that you want to make sure you have a critical mass of bikes, so that when people are walking around, they see stations frequently so that they get enough use so that it creates that virtuous cycle,” Serna says.
Otherwise, she says, they end up just as tourist attractions. She says 50 stations is a good start, but they’ll have to be strategically located in denser parts of the city like Woodruff Park, Little Five Points, Ponce City Market and along Peachtree Street.
A membership will be required to use the bikes, which will have GPS tracking devices on them. They can be reserved in-person, online or through a mobile app starting this summer.