SAN FRANCISCO, USA - Clear Channel Outdoor Inc. will decide this month to enter a proposed US$ 306 mn (€ 201 mn) contract with the city of San Francisco. It will give the company advertising rights on transit shelters and would require the company to set up a bike-sharing program if the city opts for one.
Like New York, Boston and Chicago, San Francisco paves the way to improve bike mobility in the battle against global warming, traffic congestion and health problems. The bike rental system in Paris is an important example for the Americans. It shows them the possibilities how to adjust to other transportation modes in traffic congested cities.
"The appetite for the system is there, and people will naturally gravitate toward it," said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who lobbied for the bike-sharing provision in the contract. "Our residents want us to make good on the official goal of reducing auto congestion and air pollution, and that biking is a good way to help do that. And the easier the city makes it for people to use a two-wheeler, the more likely they will. People will think twice about the need to get in their car and go five or ten blocks."
Besides the Californian city also other US cities are accelerating their efforts to encourage commuting on two wheels, putting bike racks where cars once parked, adding bike lanes and considering European-style bike-share programs to get residents out of their cars.
New York for example is creating an European style bike lane that will separate bicyclists from motorists. The Ninth Avenue bike lane in Manhattan is being built between a sidewalk and a lane for parked cars. Today New York was awarded the bronze for bike friendliness. The award comes from the League of American Bicyclists, a bike advocacy group.
Even Chicago is striving by 2015 to have 5% of all trips shorter than 5 miles to be taken by bicycle. USA Today reported that one of the means to realise that is a bike program like in Paris. It would allows people to check out a bike at one location, ride free during the first half-hour and park the bike at another location near their destination.