How Bike-Sharing Will Impact Santa Barbara’s Streetscape

On Monday, August 24, the city’s Board of Architectural Review will discuss—and possibly grant its final approval to—the BCycle bike-sharing program coming to the city. From the agenda: “This project is the first phase of bike share implementation in Santa Barbara. When complete, the project will involve the installation of 500 bike share ‘docks,’ which will serve 250 electric-assist bikes in a public bike share system. Of the 500 docks, around 300-350 will be located downtown or along State Street. The remaining 150-200 docks will be located along the Waterfront. A number of enrollment kiosks will help to serve walk-up customers. These docks and bike share ‘stations’ (groupings of docks) will be located in the furniture zone, adjacent to other street fixtures like light poles, newspaper stands, planters and street trees, and existing hitching post bike parking. Along State St, and in the Downtown area, these stations will generally consist of small groups of 2-6 docks. Along the Waterfront, and in higher usage areas, this dock number may increase to accommodate more users.” The full packet of design specs is here.

When the bike-sharing program was announced last December, it was expected to debut in May. No word yet on what the new forecast is. And a different company, HOPR, is installing bike-share facilities at UCSB.

A screenshot of the map, which wasn’t interactive:

The docks are unobtrusive enough. In certain situations, to save space, they can be placed parallel to the street or at a 45-degree angle.

Many of the locations seem harmless. If I owned Flor de Maiz, however, I wouldn’t welcome a bike-sharing station between my restaurant and the ocean view.

This was the only visual representation of the bulkier enrollment kiosks. (The thing on the top is a solar panel.) I’d hate to see the docks or kiosks plastered with ads—whether from businesses or the city itself—but I would be surprised if that’s not part of the revenue stream.

Finally, I assume that this is what the bikes will look like. It’d be great if BCycle kept them simple, too….


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