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March 28, 2011

Coming soon: Bike sharing in Baltimore

Baltimore is in the final stages of selecting a vendor for a bike-sharing program.

Baltimore lagged a bit behind its neighbors in the Zipcar department -- we finally got them last summer, long after Washington and Philadelphia -- but it looks like we might not be so poky when it comes to an organized system of public bikes for pay.

From Baltimore Brew:

Known as “bike sharing” or “smart biking,” the program has taken root in Denver, Minneapolis, Boston, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere after proving enormously popular in Europe.

The concept is simple – you pick up a bike at the nearest “B-station” and then drop it off when you’re done at any station in the network. The bikes can be accessed through a yearly membership or day pass. The individual is responsible for any damage or loss until the bike is returned to another hub and checked in. (More here.)

Baltimore Velo was quick to crow this morning about the idea, which would certainly give them another topic area to cover in blog posts. (For example, a good chunk of Wash Cycle's attention now goes to the DC bikes.)

A word of caution for the city: Site placement will be a key factor in whether this succeeds or fails, as will be the presence of well-drawn system maps at each station. Visitors moving between Federal Hill and the Inner Harbor have a good collection of dedicated lanes/paths, while any attempt to start a Harbor-to-Mount Vernon bike trip will likely meet with frustration, unless users are well-warned of what they're in for. The Jones Falls Trail extension will obviously help, but in the meantime, giving tourists good information can help prevent woes.


 


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Photo credit: Reuters

Posted by Patrick Maynard at 11:49 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bicycling, City of Baltimore, Newbies, Outdoors, Traffic, Washington
        

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Andrea Siegel, a reporter at The Baltimore Sun, covers mostly crime and courts in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, as well as legal issues. She wishes she was more physically fit, and, as she's more fond of chocolate than exercise, fitness is a challenge. Her partner on a one-mile-plus daily walk is the family dog, a mixed breed named Moxie, and she exercises at the gym where the D.C. snipers once worked out.
Jerry Jackson has been a photo editor at The Baltimore Sun for 14 years and an avid cyclist for more than 30 years. Inspired by the movie "Breaking Away," he started racing as a teenager in Mississippi when leather "brain baskets" were still the norm. He regularly commutes to work by bike and still enters several mountain bike races a year for fun.
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Patrick Maynard, who will be writing about running and walking, has been a producer for baltimoresun.com since 2008. In 2009, he tweeted on-course for the Sun from the Baltimore Marathon, finishing in just under 4 hours and almost managing to run the whole time. He sometimes walks to the Sun offices on Calvert Street.
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Leeann Adams, a multimedia editor at The Baltimore Sun, also dabbles in content for the mobile website and iPhone app and covers the Ravens via video. She did a triathlon to celebrate her 40th birthday and continues to swim, bike and run -- none of them quickly, though. Her biggest fitness challenge is to balance working, working out, spending time with her husband and being a mom to a 6-year-old boy.
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Anica Butler, the Sun's crime editor, is a former high school runner and recovering vegetarian who spent more of her early-adult years on a bar stool than working out. She is currently training (though poorly) for a half marathon and is trying to live a generally healthier lifestyle. She also hates the gym.
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