On Earth Day, Denver became the first city in the nation to develop a large scale bike-sharing program. The hope is that people will use these bikes as a link between public transportation and their final destinations within the city, leaving cars at home. Thirty eight kiosks are set up at high traffic sites and public transportation stops, where people signed up for the program pay based on how long they use the bikes for. Parry Burnap, executive director of the program says that, "stats show that 49 percent of Americans' trips are about 3 miles". Especially true in an urban environment, the bike-share program would offer an easy, environmentally friendly, and healthy alternative to driving.
While this program sounds like a great idea, there are some issues that need to be addressed. 1) Is Denver biker friendly? Boulder is a great place to move around on bike, but downtown Denver might not have the infrastructure for bike paths and bike lanes. 2) Is the program affordable for infrequent users? The current 24-hour membership is $5, while a yearly membership is $65. 3) If it is too expensive, how do membership fees decrease? Donations, subsidies, taxes?
Much question remains whether the program will succeed, but if it does, there is great potential for expansion within Denver, and Denver could serve as a model for new large scale bike-sharing programs around the country.