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Sacramento bike share aims to connect to Bay Area bike share network

Bay Area Bike Share launch in San Jose on Thursday, Aug. 29 2013 at San Jose City Hall.

Sacramento’s bike-share program may be a few years away, but planners are starting off by thinking big: They intend for Sacramento’s bike-share program to connect with the one launched last month in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The goal is to eventually have bike-share kiosks, where people can rent bikes with the swipe of a card, all along Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor route, creating a line of stops with bike access from San Francisco to Sacramento.

Larry Greene, the executive director of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, which is overseeing the program, told supporters about the goal to connect the two bike-share programs during a fundraiser for bike share held at Blackbird Kitchen & Bar on Sept. 18. He said the details of the program, including the funding and timing, will be released in three to four weeks, once the district completes the business plan.

The district has submitted a grant proposal to Sacramento Area Council of Governments for the bike-share program, which should go to a vote by the SACOG board in December. If the program goes forward, it could start to be implemented by 2015, Greene said.

Amtrak has supported the Sacramento bike-share plan and contributed $10,000 to help fund a feasibility study earlier this summer. It’s easy to see why: Bike share would extend the reach of transit by allowing riders to go farther without needing a car, and it would give bike riders a way of using bikes without bringing them on the trains and taking up valuable space.

The Bay Area Bike Share network has been going strong since it launched on Aug. 29. The pilot program recorded 14,591 trips through Sept. 16, according to The San Francisco Examiner.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has called for the project to be expanded, and a city supervisor took the same position last week

Kristin Smith, communications director for the SF Bike Coalition, said in an email interview that at this point, the program is not large enough to serve San Francisco well, and that when Sacramento does roll out its plan, it should be sure to include enough kiosks. 

"It makes sense for cities that are launching bike share – such as Sacramento – to do so in a way that has enough coverage that people can find and use bikes when and where they need them," she wrote. "Like any good transit system, cities should plan for good coverage where there’s greatest demand and usage expected."

Sac Press freelancer writer Kibkabe Araya contributed to this report. 

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