Bicycle kiosks won’t fly in Aspen
While I am perhaps as enthusiastic a supporter of cycling and using bicycles for transportation as you can find, I cannot support the idea of dedicating substantial public resources to the WE-Cycle program.
I visited Denver B Cycle Kiosks prior to ever hearing of the proposal for a similar program in Aspen. The Denver program appears to be an interesting concept for a city the size of Denver, with light rail and an extensive bus network, but I came away from my review feeling the program would likely receive little use based on the size and weight of the bicycles, cost, challenging traffic conditions and user motivations.
I, along with my wife, ride bikes into town from our Cemetery Lane home for about 80 percent or more of our trips. We are motivated to ride our bikes for convenience/speed versus auto or bus, a bit of exercise/outdoor enjoyment and a desire to be green. We use our bikes to commute to work/town year round interrupted only by the worst of weather (rain and extreme cold), periodic need to transport more than we can carry on our bikes and the occasion need to travel to locations beyond the reasonable reach of our bikes.
Our $100 1980s mountain bikes log well over 1,000 miles per year between Cemetery Lane and downtown area with periodic trips to the ABC or Maroon Creek campus. Despite my strong support of cycling as a means to effectively move about Aspen, I do not think the WE-Cycle concept will be well used in Aspen and I do not support the use of any city or county assets – funding or use of space – for this program. Equally the kiosks will be quite out of step with the Aspen aesthetic and more in tune with a big city such as Denver, Toronto or Amsterdam. In a community with tight sign standards, I cannot support the advertising/vending concepts in our public spaces. WE-Cycle will also compete with bicycle rentals and loaner bikes offered by many hotels.
I suggest the county turn away the WE-Cycle concept and encourage local lodging accommodations to provide free loaner bikes. I would be more supportive of the local governments acquiring and maintaining a fleet of free loaner bikes that could be available for use at bus stops and other locations. My 1980s townie cost $100 and requires limited maintenance. The city and county could have a fleet of similar light weight bikes available for a small fraction of the funds the county is proposing to dedicate to this program.
The WE-Cycle program, given our small town and clunky bikes ill suited for a mountain environment, will not achieve the even a small fraction of the claimed 25,000 reduction in vehicle trips and will quickly fail without continued massive injection of public funds and resources. Please find a better way to use our public resources.
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