Electric Bike Share Coming to Downtown Santa Barbara
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.