Electric Bike Share Coming to Downtown Santa Barbara

Electric Bike Share Coming to Downtown Santa Barbara title=
Photo: Bcycle
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By edhat staff

The Santa Barbara City Council voted Tuesday to approve an electric bike-share program for the downtown and waterfront areas.

Similar to the unapproved electric scooters that littered the downtown area, the bicycles will be part of a rental plan where the user downloads a smartphone app and is charged a fee for their rental time.

The program is operated by Bcycle who will provide and maintain 75 electric bicycles on State Street and 50 at the waterfront with the possibility to expand to Mesa, San Andres Street, Milpas and Coast Village Road.

Before the council's vote, the Historic Landmarks Commission rejected the program as it didn't conform to the city's design, and "the aesthetics are not appropriate to the downtown core of State Street." The Commission also found the streets and sidewalks are unusually crowded due to parklets and outdoor dining during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Residents and visitors have complained about bicyclists riding through the newly established "Pedestrian Promenade" which closes off vehicles from the 1200 block of State Street to the waterfront. The city has already established cyclists will need to walk their bikes in the 500 block of State Street. 

The Community Environmental Council, COAST, and SBCAG spoke in favor of Bcycle as an alternative transportation option that favors the environment. 

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bosco Oct 22, 2020 02:06 PM
Electric Bike Share Coming to Downtown Santa Barbara

We need a better network of bike paths (similar to European cities) before we unleash this on the city.
While I like the idea, it just feels like this city is not properly setup for this. It would be great if we had at least one class IV bike path running down State and connecting to the waterfront. What's going to happen when tourists rent these and inevitably try to make their way to the waterfront? They're going to end up on sidewalks, wrong way streets, etc.

ChemicalSuperFreak Oct 22, 2020 04:17 PM
Electric Bike Share Coming to Downtown Santa Barbara

BOSCO: Yes, class IV bike paths would be ideal. I really like the Obern Bike Trail from UCSB through Goleta, but wish the dedicated portion of it continued beyond Modoc. Sharing the road with cars is madness.

SBTownie Oct 22, 2020 03:22 PM
Electric Bike Share Coming to Downtown Santa Barbara

I've lived in cities where these are common both in the US and Europe where they make sense. I'm young, I love to ride bikes, and I would love to feel safe doing so here (like I have while living in Germany). I just don't really see this as anything but a waste of funds, energy, and resources for SB. We don't really want drunk tourists pedaling around confused. And by the way, how does this help local business? We have tons of local businesses offering bike rentals already. Why do we need this? Does anyone know how it actually even works? Trucks have to drive around at night to collect bikes and redistribute them often because docking stations don't magically fill up proportionally so bikes get left all over. An even worse disaster as the dockless bikes - saw those fail spectacularly in London. Another diversion by local officials from real issues. This will fail and 2 years from launch they will admit such and then we'll see how much tax money we wasted on it. We may not be able to accurately account for the damage done to local businesses who do rent bikes. Just dumb.

NotReallyDave Oct 23, 2020 08:00 PM
Electric Bike Share Coming to Downtown Santa Barbara

That is true. Monies are needed to pay for their 5% discounted salaries that will continue on. What will be the next venture when this one fails? It is really great when the City Council refuses to listen to the City Commissions that are in place to help guide the City forward.

195930 Oct 22, 2020 06:57 PM
Electric Bike Share Coming to Downtown Santa Barbara

Terrible decision. Agree that it will negatively affect existing local businesses that already offer these services. And especially if dockless they will be strewn everywhere like the scooters.

a-1603421339 Oct 22, 2020 07:48 PM
Electric Bike Share Coming to Downtown Santa Barbara

Tear down all the street trees because that is the only way to widen sidewalks to allow for true bike paths. Being green demands sacrifice - street trees or safe bikes paths right now. Trees will regrow someplace else - space for dedicated bike paths will not. Down with the trees, up with the city wide bike paths. Just like Europe.

Shame Oct 23, 2020 07:32 AM
Electric Bike Share Coming to Downtown Santa Barbara

Bikes in Santa Barbara are becoming a problem. We need more bike lanes. I live in De La Vina I am guessing 3 to 4 times a day I see a nuke causing traffic issues if not accidents. Stay off our streets that do not have bike paths. Plain and simple. These new bikes will be stolen. Theirs can figure out how to do it,

Emmenanthe Oct 23, 2020 10:46 AM
Electric Bike Share Coming to Downtown Santa Barbara

Agree this is likely to create more problems than solutions. Need to make the major one-way streets off limits to cyclists. Especially De La Vina: too many bicyclists on that street (competing for Darwin Awards, apparently, but someone else will pay dearly for their stupidity, laziness, and selfishness).

a-1603672433 Oct 25, 2020 05:33 PM
Electric Bike Share Coming to Downtown Santa Barbara

This is not a new idea. Do a web search for “bike sharing in China.” The entire industry went broke. Now there are tens of millions of abandoned bicycles there, literally mountains of discarded bicycles.

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