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SaMo Gets Pedaling Faster on Bike Share Plan

samo bike.jpg
Photo by neptuneyear via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr.
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It's been a good couple of months for Southern California bike enthusiasts. First, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced in April that the City of Los Angeles would initiate bike sharing around the city. Yesterday, Anaheim became the first West Coast city to start such a program. And now, Santa Monica has decided to press fast-forward on its plans to bring bike sharing to the city.

LA Streets Blog has verified reports from the Santa Monica Lookout News that the city has changed its plans: originally, officials called for bike sharing to be in place by the end of 2016. Now, they're shooting for the end of next year.

Los Angeles, Anaheim and possibly Santa Monica are partnering with a company called Bike Nation to make this long-desired dream happen. They're inspired by wildly popular programs in cities like Paris and Minneapolis, which let car-weary city dwellers go to bike kiosks, pick out a pair of wheels, pay to rent them and then take off. They can be returned to any kiosk in the city. In Los Angeles, rental rates are slated to range from $1.50 per hour to $6 per day (A year-long pass would set you back $75). Santa Monica hasn't released fare plans yet, but officials have said that they want 25 bike kiosks and a total of 250 bikes, with more bikes at busy, high-volume locations.

Santa Monica has long been considered an ideal candidate for bike sharing. LA Streets Blog identifies several factors, including "a growing bike network, a coming rail line, and a large daytime population" which includes lots and lots of tourists. Not to mention, of course, the miles of beach bike paths that attract cyclists from around the area.

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A major issue, however, is "compatibility." With Los Angeles establishing kiosks around the city -- namely, in SaMo's neighbor, Venice -- how the two systems would coexist remains to be seen. For now, though, it appears that bike sharing keeps moving into the fast lane in car-loving Southern California.