Bike share is coming to Brooklyn!

Bike share is coming to Brooklyn!
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

What’s good for Barcelona now appears good for Brooklyn.

The city is searching for a vendor to run the borough’s first bike share program — a two-wheeled rental initiative — a top Transportation official confirmed Wednesday night.

“We’re putting together a request for proposals,” said Borough Commissioner Joseph Palmieri, using the city jargon for the formalized search process.

Palmieri said that Downtown is a key location for the program, but it will be up to the winning bidder to propose the geographic confines of the rental zone.

Cyclists cheered the news, which Palmieri discussed at a meeting of the new Boerum Hill Traffic Task Force.

“I welcome it and encourage it,” said Boerum Hill resident and cycling advocate Louie Fleck. “It will encourage people to see the benefits of biking, and it will be a low cost way for people to experiment using a bike as a form of transportation.”

And seasoned cyclists will benefit, too.

“There are plenty of times when I have the energy in the morning, but not at night, and this would allow me to bike one way and not the other,” Fleck noted.

Already in place in cities such as Paris, Barcelona, Montreal and Denver, the program relies on a series of locales where bikes are made available for a fee.

In November, the city announced its search for a vendor to run the program in Manhattan, in an unspecified area south of 60th Street, touting technology that has made theft virtually non-existent in places such as London and Washington, D.C.

The Manhattan proposal called for a system that included stations located every few blocks. The public can buy into a membership plan, and trips longer than 30 minutes would likely be assessed a small charge, as the program is meant for short trips.

“Typically, you use credit cards to gain access to the bikes,” noted Downtown Brooklyn Transportation Coordinator Chris Hrones. “The key is to have enough stations at enough strategic locations that it becomes convenient to make short little trips form here to there,” he said.

The Manhattan project is slated to begin in 2012, and a pilot program will be tested this summer. No date was available yet for Brooklyn’s version.