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Release date: 10/27/10

*** Press Release ***

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all surface transportation in the City, today announced that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) has approved a $4.29 million grant to fund a Regional Bike-sharing Pilot Program to deploy approximately 1,000 bicycles at up to 100 kiosk stations around the Bay Area—including 500 bikes at 50 kiosks in San Francisco. The MTC approved this project, which will be managed by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), through its new Climate Initiatives Competitive Grant Program to test innovative projects with the greatest potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to replicate them on a larger-scale around the region. The SFMTA and BAAQMD are joined by their regional partners, Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority (VTA), SamTrans, San Mateo County and Redwood City.

“Bike sharing that works regionally as well as in San Francisco will provide greater connectivity and make the system more useful,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “As bicycling increases in San Francisco and the Bay Area, key projects like this will encourage others to add bicycling to their travel solutions.”

“The SFMTA is proud to work with its regional partners on this important effort to increase bicycling,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., SFMTA Executive Director/CEO. “Services like bike sharing will strengthen San Francisco’s and the region’s sustainable transportation network.”

“The Air District is excited about leading this partnership to bring bike-sharing to the region,” said Jack P. Broadbent, Air District Executive Officer. “Reducing trips from cars is an innovative way to improve air quality.”

The Regional Bike Sharing Program will implement bike sharing along the peninsula transportation corridor: San Francisco, Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and San Jose. Its objective is to pilot and test zero-emissions bike-sharing in downtown urban centers of varying sizes and population densities. This Project will demonstrate the potential to effectively reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), the number of miles that residential vehicles are driven.

The total project cost is approximately $7 million with $1.4 million in funding provided by the Air District and $1.3 million in funding from the other partners.

In the Bay Area, the transportation sector accounts for more than 50 percent of air pollution. Significant emission reductions from the transportation sector will help the Bay area attain and maintain state and national air quality standards.

Similar to car sharing, bike sharing is a term used to describe an organized system of short-term, collective bicycle rental for purposes of transportation in an urban environment. This innovative concept has evolved over the past 40 or so years into the current generation of subscription-based bicycle sharing that employs radio-frequency identification smartcards, and wireless, internet and GPS technologies to track bicycles and their users. In recent years, dozens of cities across Europe, Asia and a growing number of cities in North America have shown that bicycle sharing programs are an effective and viable means of providing bicycles to large numbers of people for short urban trips. In tandem with bicycle facilities improvements, the resulting increases in bicycle use have brought significant, documented increases in bicycle use and consequent reductions in GHG emissions.

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