@2 The Strangers being a whiny little bitch about a shitty, barley used, wasteful and failed bike share program.
Barley used? Are you saying folks drank beer and then used Pronto? That sounds like a compliment.
I don't think you, or some of the other folks quite get it. Pronto was dead anyway. Everyone who had done any research on bike sharing would have predicted very low ridership, given the way they designed it, so it really was no surprise they struggled.
What the mayor killed was a new bike share program. For a relatively small amount of money, they were going to add lots and lots more stations. That really is the key, as the research shows
. So this new program, designed with best practices in mind (which is quite rare for this area) got killed.
There are plenty of cities (New York, Chicago, Washington DC) that have very good bike share programs. They should be thought of another form of public transportation, and in that context, perform fairly well. They are designed with multi-modal trips in mind, not as long distance bike rentals. So someone takes a bus or train to work, then uses the bike to get around during the day. Not only is it cost effective as public transportation, but in that manner it encourages other forms of public transportation.
It isn't that huge numbers of people use it, but that it really doesn't cost that much. In DC, for example, which has a fairly large and popular system, it costs less than 8 million dollars a year to maintain, with riders chipping in 3/4 of the cost. Two million dollars a year is a piddly amount to spend for public transportation Just to move the streetcar a couple blocks as part of a much bigger Roosevelt BRT project will cost 7 million dollars. In contrast, the mayor killed a one time investment of 3 million dollars, which -- given sponsorship and the like -- would have enabled a much better system.
Speaking of streetcars, I find it appalling that The Stranger completely ignores the subject. We are spending way more on a stupid streetcar system than we ever were planning on spending on bike share. But unlike bike share, there is nothing special about our streetcars. A bike share system serves a particular niche -- too far to walk, but too close or inconvenient to bother with a bus or train. Our streetcar doesn't do anything. The only practical advantage to a streetcar is that it can carry more people than a bus. The problem is that ours don't. Our small streetcars have every disadvantage but none of the advantages. They don't go up steep hills, can't be rerouted easily, cost a huge amount before they even run, require expensive storage, get stuck temporarily when someone blocks the lane by mere inches, simply don't run if construction forces them to re-route, and pose a major, deadly threat to bicycles. The streetcar is a complete waste of money, but the mayor -- and it is mostly just the mayor -- keeps the thing afloat. The mayor cancelled the wrong thing. The streetcar needs to be killed -- pull up the tracks, fill them in, sell off the metal and the cars to a city that wants to "revitalize their downtown". We need real, practical, cost effective public transportation and our streetcars aren't it.