Paris vs Bristol

Bristol, “Britain’s first Cycling City”:http://www.bristol.gov.uk/cycling, aims to introduce a Paris Velib-style cycle hire scheme, operated by “Hourbike”:https://www.hourbike.com/hourbike/. My fear is that, by having a system that is too small, the scheme will fail. Some quotes from the _Happy Birthday Velib_ video (linked below) bear this out:

bq. “you have to go big enough to where it’s at least 1 bike per 200 residents. I think that’s a bare minimum for the good function of the system”

bq. “cities who made too small an organisation, too small [a] network, don’t have real success”

bq. “when you have not enough stations. not enough bicyles, the people don’t choose it”

bq. “It’s seamless, it’s easy, it’s fun. What’s better than having a public bike be a part of your public transport system?”

— “_Happy Birthday Velib_ on Youtube”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xw_Hrx1DS3A

(Found via “Karl McCracken’s blog”:http://karlmccracken.sweat365.com/2009/02/05/challenge-for-your-non-biking-friends/)

4 thoughts on “Paris vs Bristol”

  1. Don't want to self-promote but did you see my picture the other day of the cycle scheme in Milan?:
    http://twitpic.com/6e799

    I've never really heard of Milan being a cycling city, yet there there were cycle scheme racks all over the city- mostly empty because so many people were using them. This photo was taken just outside the Duomo. Just after I took it a young couple who were passing just hopped on the last two bikes and cycled off. I don't understand why, a year down the line, Cycle City Bristol is still only managing to run a tiny pilot scheme.

    1. Mike – self-promote away :) I hadn't seen your pic – cheers!

      I think the Cycling City project has been beset by political infighting, with Mark Bradshaw (ex head of transport at the council) accusing the new administration of being slow to get the project moving, when not very much happened under his watch either.

      Changes have to be extensive to counter the complete car-dependency that we've assembled over the last half-century, but it takes guts and political will (not just £22m) to do. You can't just promote cycling; you have to disincentivise driving too.

      1. "Changes have to be extensive to counter the complete car-dependency that we've assembled over the last half-century, but it takes guts and political will (not just £22m) to do. You can't just promote cycling; you have to disincentivise driving too."

        I agree. Did you see the article on Worldchanging yesterday?:
        http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/009972.html
        Much as the best disincentive to smoking is expensive cigarettes, the study argues that removing car parking options reduces driving dependency.

        As you say, there needs to be an alternative and it needs to be of a decent size. Hourbike's website promised locations in the city centre, Temple Meads etc last year but as far as I can tell they've never materialised- I wonder how much of this is a failing of the council and how much is Hourbike not delivering?

  2. Bristol is doing the opposite to removing car parking options. In fact we have recently had Europes biggest car park built here next to the new Cabot Circus shopping centre. To really 'drive home' the message (sorry for bad pun) the way you enter the new shopping centre is either though a nice simple glass bridge from the car park or by crossing six lanes of major traffic via three pedestrian crossings below if you are not using the car park. To me it seems obvious that this is sending out the message for people to drive to the shopping centre. If you're walking or cycling your being treated as second class and have to battle your own way across the roads below. Nice eh?

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