Bikes could help bridge the ‘last mile’ gap with public transport – Marin Independent Journal
The municipalities of Le Marin are committed to launching a regional e-bike sharing program aimed at helping more people get around the county without their cars and without increasing traffic.
Larkspur is one of the last to join. The city is also a prime example of how an electric bicycle can help, for example, train users to bridge that “last mile” between a train stop and their destination.
The distance from the train stop to their job or company or address they need to reach could be the deciding factor in deciding whether or not to take the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit train.
Renting an electric bike could help many people bridge this gap, for example, between the SMART stop at Larkspur Landing and Bon Air or Town Center shopping malls.
Bicycles could also bridge the gap between the Civic Center train stop and Northgate.
The bikes are part of a test project funded by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The bikes could be ready to rent and ride in early 2022.
The Marin Transportation Authority and the Sonoma County Transportation Agency coordinate the two-county program.
The MTC funding would help pay for the bike-sharing program – 300 bikes or more for both counties – for 36 months with an option to renew the program until 2025.
Local authorities have yet to decide where to set up bicycle centers.
The number and location of bike racks will be further refined by electronic data collected from usage.
Users will be able to book bikes through a phone app linked to the Clipper card program. Officials and the bicycle company, Bolt Mobility, have yet to set a price.
Making it as convenient and affordable as possible will increase participation and improve the benefits of the program for a wider population.
Their popularity is also expected to intensify the local focus on improving cycle lanes and making them safer.
It is also another step in the local reduction of greenhouse gases, a large part of which is generated by local transport, mainly gasoline-powered cars.
TAM planners expect high demand for the bikes at the Larkspur stop.
Likely, this interest will also include more than local workers, but also train visitors who will be using e-bikes to travel to other parts of the Ross Valley.
The trial is enabled by a regional program, but it should prove whether bike sharing can play a beneficial role in allowing people to move around our county without a combustion engine.