Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Public Bikes – How big a system? And why?

One of the complaints currently being voiced in the UK press about the new public bike start-up in the city of Bristol is that it is too small, insufficiently visible and generally hard to get at – and that it thus fails to achieve the level of massive use that is necessary if what you want is a city transformation project. Is that what your public bicycle project is supposed to do? Transform your city?

It can you know. Not all by itself of course but if you put it together with a carefully thought out integrated package of new mobility measures you can create a powerful component of the transformational process. (For background on the Bristol project see our 23 July piece on this “Thoughts on a shared bike project in the UK: Part I” at http://newmobilityagenda.blogspot.com/2009/07/shared-bike-project-in-uk-part-i.html for background.)

For some useful perspective on this you may want to check out the example of Paris and the Vélib' through a handful of short videos, plus one full length TV documentary, all of which can be accessed here with a single click.

* A 30 second trailer announcing the PBS documentary on Vélo Liberté and the Greening of Paris – at http://www.pbs.org/e2/transport.html

* 3 minute, interesting because it provides some discussion of why a big ambitious project was for the team behind the project in Paris’s’ City Hall was the way to go for Paris - same link, just below the above.

* An extended 6 minute version which hones in on the relationship between bikesharing and carsharing (lesson: proceed with caution, but be sure to proceed!) - at http://blip.tv/play/AcvUegA

* The full half hour PBS documentary can be viewed (small screen but entirely viewable) if you click to http://www.e2-series.com/, click Webcast, then Paris.

* Words from a satisfied user, from Vélo Liberté.

Copies of the DVD of the full e² transport series can be obtained for $25.00 from the Public Broadcasting System bookshop via http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=3333834&cp=&sr=1&kw=paris&origkw=paris&pg=2&parentPage=search#Details

Additionally, if you want another perspective on Vélib, have a look at the enjoyable Streetfilms piece: Vélib' – The Greening of Paris - http://www.streetfilms.org/archives/velib (8 minutes). And the Perils for Pedestrians interview here at http://blip.tv/file/2363567/.

Brainfood from Paris. Bon appétit!

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