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Phase 2 of Calgary bike share brings expanded area, transit parking spots

It’s seen 60,000 trips since Halloween 2018 and more than 35,000 kilometers driven, but what’s in store for phase two of Calgary’s bike share pilot project?

Well, it’s going to be open to the whole city.

Not only that, but we’re going to see dedicated parking spots at downtown LRT stations.

Phase one of the city’s bike share had 15,000 unique riders swipe their cards and set out on two wheels with the 375 pedal-assist Lime bikes, but only in a defined area in and around the centre city cycle track during the winter.

Blanka Bracic, manager of Liveable Streets for the City of Calgary, said the average trip in the city during phase one was 1.1 kilometres and the average trip lasted six minutes.

“People are using these bikes for short trips around town, which is exactly what we had hoped would happen,” Bracic said.

More operators are expected to apply for the permits to roll ahead with the bikes on Calgary streets during phase two, which begins June 1. Bracic said they’re going to allow twice as many bikes per operator as they did in phase one and that could see up to 1,500 bike per operator, up to a total of 10,000 across the city.

The new zones near 7 Avenue transit stations between Macleod Trail and 11 Street SW will be clearly marked with a rectangular box with an icon inside to denote their use for bike share.

Bracic said this not only ensures that people will have a bike available at CTrain stations to continue their journey, but it also provides a parking spot for the bikes when people use the bikes to continue on via LRT. Part of this is to encourage multi-modal transportation options, but provide people flexibility in their commute.

Once the city gets an idea of usage in the expanded area, more transit parking spots could come online, Bracic said.

“It allows people to get around,” said Coun. Evan Woolley, who initially put forward the plan for the dockless bike share program.

“It’s another tool in the multi-modal tool kit.”

Woolley said he’s looking forward to the continued expansion of the program through the summer months.

“It just makes your life easier. It’s a quality of life improver and also just an efficiency tool – like any other tool – and as a city, it’s costing us nothing,” he said.

Bracic said they’re most interested in how the bikes will be used outside the centre city cycle track in phase two, and they’re going to use the data to determine where those pockets of use exist and where future infrastructure might be laid out.

“The more data we acquire over a longer time, the more we’ll understand what the patterns are,” she said.

“And where more bikes are available and where people are wanting to go, that will definitely drive our future infrastructure development decisions.”

While phase two brings the whole city into play for the summer and fall months, Bracic said they will be going back to a designated area again in the winter months. This area is expected to be expanded, however.

The city is looking for more information on who is using the bike share system and they have a survey available to gather data on everything from demographics of users to how the bikes are being used around Calgary.