The Morning Report
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San Diego’s bike-sharing program has hit a roadblock.
Residents and visitors were supposed to be able to start checking out bikes at 175 stations across the city by next month, at no cost to taxpayers. Now, the city has pushed the timeline back three months, and might take a hit in revenue as a result.
Last summer, the City Council approved a 10-year agreement with Miami-based DecoBike to run the bike-share program that included a profit-sharing deal at no cost to the city. As a result, the city was supposed to make $1 million to $2.6 million over the entire 10-year period. The delay could make the city miss out on up to $65,000 of its first-year take.
What caused the delay?
It took DecoBike and the city longer than expected to get neighborhood approval for the bike station locations, said Natasha Collura, the city’s director of strategic partnerships.
“Yes, everyone would like to see it up as soon as possible, but we are just concerned about doing it right,” Collura said.
Before seeking property owners’ approval for the bike stations, program planners already had specific locations in mind. But when they tried to put the stations in tourist-heavy beaches, downtown, uptown and mid-town areas, landowners in those areas needed convincing.
Bike-share station locations will include the Convention Center, Seaport Village, the Maritime Museum, Balboa Park, Ocean Beach, Mission Bay, Pacific Beach, La Jolla, North Park, the City College campus, San Ysidro and near MTS bus stops throughout the city, said David Silverman, marketing director for DecoBike.
The full list of locations will be released to the public in the next couple of weeks, pending final approval from city officials, Collura said.
In addition to the approval from private properties, the city also is discussing installing stations on land owned by the Unified Port of San Diego and in a few city parks.
As for bike advocates, the delay is not that big of a concern.
Andy Hanshaw, San Diego County Bicycle Coalition executive director, said he’s satisfied just with knowing the city is moving forward with a program like this.
How is the city affected by the delay?
Despite not being directly involved with running the program once it gets off the ground, the delay means the city could lose out on some cash.
The city’s estimated profit of $1 million to $2.6 million was based on bike sharing beginning by March. Based on those figures, the three-month delay means the city might not see up to $65,000 in revenue.
And the city will lose money from parking meters that will be removed to make way for the bike-sharing stations.
Initially, the city projected it would eliminate 10 parking meters. But now, the number has grown to 18 to 24 meters.
Meters generate between $1,200 and $2,500 a month. So assuming the city will take 24 meters away, the parking revenue lost would be $60,000 a month.
Program organizers are working toward getting bike sharing rolling by early June, just in time for the tourist season to limit potential lost revenue from the plan.