I’ve gotten good feedback on yesterday’s post about Minneapolis’ great bike rental system and whether we could have it in San Diego.

So let’s go a step further. What have you seen in other cities that you wish San Diego had? I’ll leave it broad but let’s avoid things like French cooking or the Eiffel Tower. I’m looking for real things that we could decide to do or, like the bike system, it would probably take just one small nonprofit or one major philanthropist to accomplish.

The reason I wrote the post yesterday is because I usually leave a city marveling at one or two things and wishing we could have something like it. I wanted to start recording that. Let’s get the conversation going now.

Comment on this post or e-mail me at andrew.donohue@voiceofsandiego.org.

To be clear, this is no declaration of deficiency here in San Diego. Every place has its great attributes and its negatives. There are plenty of things visitors here would like to take back to their city.

But we’re not done with the bikes yet. A couple more points:

• The Minneapolis program has kiosks all around the city where people can pick up and drop off bikes. You don’t have to return them to the same spot. They’re Uptown, downtown, near the stadiums, the University of Minnesota campus, etc. (Warning: Here’s an obnoxiously large map of the kiosks.)

So where could we have them in San Diego? My early thoughts: Clearly a few spots downtown; one at the airport (imagine just picking up a bike from the airport and taking a quick ride downtown to a hotel); all throughout Mid-City — biking between North Park, South Park, Mission Hills, Hillcrest, Adams Avenue could be great for residents and tourists; along El Cajon Boulevard and University Avenue in City Heights; up Imperial Avenue in southeastern San Diego; and then of course the beaches would be hot spots: OB, PB, Mission Beach and La Jolla.

These are just the areas I know best. Where else?

One caveat: We would need more and better bike lanes. While there are pockets of good bikes lanes here and there, it’s really spotty and actually quite dangerous just to get around.

• One person in the comments asked for specific details about the funding for Nice Ride, the Minneapolis program. That’s explained in this StarTribune story.

Nice Ride, a nonprofit entity, is a branch of Bixi, short for Bike Taxi, he said. It is based on the model that Bixi set up in Montreal, and orders all of its equipment from the company. Dossett said the manufacturer is swamped with orders from similar operations in Montreal, Washington, D.C., and Melbourne, Australia. Boston and London are also preparing to launch programs.

The effort is being financed with $1.75 million in federal funds to increase nonmotorized transportation and $1 million in tobacco settlement funds through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.

Certainly seems like something San Diego could pull off.

And judging from the comments, plenty of other cities across the world are doing it.


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