Up To Speed

How Capital Bikeshare got started, and what Cincinnati can learn

How Capital Bikeshare got started, and what Cincinnati can learn from it.

What Washington D.C. has done with Capital Bikeshare is considered the nation’s best. It is the biggest, has the most riders, and is the most financially solvent as compared to the rest of the bike sharing systems in the United States. As Cincinnati prepares to launch its own bike sharing system, what can local leaders learn from the nation’s best system? More from Slate:

If you had been handed, a decade ago, a map of the U.S. and asked to predict where the novel idea of bike sharing—then limited to a few small-scale projects in a handful of European cities, might first find its firmest footing, you probably would have laid your money on a progressive hub like Portland or Seattle or the regional poles of walkable urbanism, New York or San Francisco—all of which were scoring higher, those days, in surveys like Bicycling magazine’s list of most bikeable cities.

Launching a sponsorless bike-share system intended to break even, or even make money, was unprecedented. And having no sponsor made raising capital a challenge, but D.C.-area governments scavenged for the money.

By Randy A. Simes

Randy is an award-winning urban planner who founded UrbanCincy in May 2007. He grew up on Cincinnati’s west side in Covedale, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s nationally acclaimed School of Planning in June 2009. In addition to maintaining ownership and serving as the managing editor for UrbanCincy, Randy has worked professionally as a planning consultant throughout the United States, Korea and the Middle East. After brief stints in Atlanta and Chicago, he currently lives in the Daechi neighborhood of Seoul’s Gangnam district.