Photos by Asia Morris.
The first two of 10 Long Beach Bike Share stations to be erected by Saturday, March 19 and its 100 bicycles were officially installed in the downtown area Thursday, with an unveiling this morning at the Promenade and 3rd Street, where several Long Beach dignitaries and active transportation advocates each took a few moments to commemorate the occasion.
These initial 10 stations will be built in strategic locations to connect its users to hotels, the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Civic Center and other major downtown attractions. While the bikes won’t be ready to be ridden until Beach Streets Downtown transforms Broadway into a vehicle-prohibited space, the bright blue, eight-speed, lock-toting, human-powered machines will sit, for now, as a pretty reminder of the city’s valiant efforts to maintain and expand its bicycle-friendly reputation and make the city more livable for its residents and visitors.
“This new program is not just about getting around, but it’s also about sustainability,” said Long Beach Mayor Garcia to the cameras. “It’s about making a more walkable, pedestrian-friendly, urban and sustainable environment here in the City of Long Beach. We are excited that this is one of the very first bike share programs launched really anywhere in California and certainly in Southern California, so we are leading the way.”
First District Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez, who was one of several city employees who rode the bikes down the Promenade to 3rd to participate in the unveiling, said, prior to reminding all users to wear a helmet, “It was really nice riding up on these bikes. It felt fresh, it felt new, but it really felt like Long Beach, the most bike-friendly city in the nation. And that’s what we’re trying to be and that’s what we are.”
Eventually Long Beach will boast a total of 50 stations and 500 bikes in operation, in an effort to car-lessly connect the city in its entirety. The effort to bring a bike share program to Long Beach has been years in the making, several of the speakers mentioned, and seeks to be a part of an increase in active transportation options, heavily supported by Metro, which funded the bike share program through a $2.3 million Call for Projects grant it awarded to Long Beach.
Executive Officer of Transit Corridors, Active Transportation & Sustainability for Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Diego Cardoso doted on Long Beach for serving as an example of a California city taking a stand to support major steps toward becoming a more livable community. He called the city's success "a success for Metro."
"We’ve invested a lot of money in active transportation in Southern California and we need to follow the example of Long Beach when it comes to infrastructure of the streets," Cardoso stated.
CycleHop Regional Bike Manager for Southern California Ron Durgin said, based on their other programs, bike share systems are proven methods to reducing traveled vehicle miles and improving air and water quality. The regional manager reminded potential users to show up to Beach Streets, where Long Beach Bike Share will host a table to assist those interested in signing up.
For more information about Long Beach Bike Share, visit the website here.
This report was updated on 03/10/16 at 4:01PM, clarifying the number of stations that have been installed.