B-cycle and sustainablity. Bike share in Dayton, build on strengths

So much focus has been on what we don’t have in Dayton- yet, we take for granted what we have all the time. I just got back from a five mile run on the bikeway, going past Garden Station, Deeds Point, Kettering Fields, the Canoe Club,  Island Park and Riverscape. It was a beautiful day for a run. It was a good day for day-dreaming of what we could have.

If you’ve read my posts about Sportsplex, you know I envision a huge rec-center, outdoor sports HQ extending over from Kettering Fields on the land formerly occupied by Parkside homes. But, that’s a tens-of-millions proposition. For now, we should at least considering converting the land to soccer/football fields as a way to bring more people down to this beautiful area. Think Delco Park in Kettering as a model. With people come opportunities for selling food, sporting goods, daycare etc.

However, the problem still, and always will be the same- with every additional person coming down to the area, comes a car. Cars require gas, cars require parking spaces. Parking lots are expensive. They are the reason that skyscrapers aren’t being built in Dayton anymore- with each cubicle comes the requirement of a parking space. Think about it.

This is why we would see instant transformation, especially of “summer spaces” like Kettering Fields, if we had a fleet of easy access bicycles available for shuttling people from parking to playing fields- and from playing fields to fast food (up Keowee, downtown). By building on the strengths of our bike paths already in place, and adding bicycles- we’ve changed everything.

B-Cycle is a relatively inexpensive addition to our community. For less than the naming rights of the Dragons’ field, or a few high school football fields. A major player like Premier Health Partners, Kettering Health Network, DP&L or the like, could transform the city – and give themselves an amazing advertising vehicle (pun intended) to spread their message about the kind of community we have- and the kind we want to have.

I made a presentation at the LexisNexis World Usability Day event on Thursday. The theme was sustainability. When you consider how much pollution a car spews in just a short 4-mile trip (which is what a majority of our trips end up being) or that the car is the second highest expense in most households, adding bicycles everywhere could make a huge impact.

I’m on a whirlwind mission to get this launched, at least in demonstration mode with a limited installation, by next July. If you are interested in helping make this happen, please let me know.

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12 Responses

  1. Will Brooks November 14, 2009 / 1:27 pm
    The city should consider free parking downtown. Suburbs have it.
  2. Seth November 14, 2009 / 1:34 pm
    I’m interested in helping spread the word/connect the dots to make this happen.  If I could start a company, I’d start something like this and call it MetroBike and be based out of Dayton.  Anyway, you know where and how to find me so keep me up to date.
  3. David Esrati November 14, 2009 / 2:46 pm

    @Will- no the suburbs don’t have free parking- it’s built into the cost of the rent at the mall- or the office space. There is no such thing as free parking. You pay no matter what.

    Meters are essential for turnover of spots- you can’t get away from them. What we do need is a unified parking price and signage system downtown so people can clearly tell what the costs are at each lot.

  4. Will Brooks November 14, 2009 / 3:20 pm
    @ David. We’ll perhaps I should say perceived as free. I understand that the cost is passed on but it’s one of the big complaints with downtown. Lack of parking/pay to park. Perception is so much of the issue.
  5. David Esrati November 14, 2009 / 3:54 pm

    It’s funny- I’ve never had a problem, and have only parked in pay lots maybe 20 times in 20 years. But, I’m willing to walk 2 or 3 blocks.

  6. Will Brooks November 14, 2009 / 3:59 pm
    Same here. But it’s a perceived problem that I’ve heard voiced numerous times. Personally, I think pay parking is outdated and makes development less attractive compared to an area that is billed with free parking. IMO – Downtown is too empty to have a real parking problem.
    A portion of Dayton’s problems come back to perception. Certain people also seem to think downtown is dangerous and has high crime. Perception is a biggie.
    BTW, which bikeway is this?

    I just got back from a five mile run on the bikeway, going past Garden Station, Deeds Point, Kettering Fields, the Canoe Club,  Island Park and Riverscape

     
     

  7. David Esrati November 14, 2009 / 4:05 pm

    @Will- I don’t know that the bikeway has a name- it runs around the rivers- on both sides.

    It’s a little messed up right now at the 75 bridge and Riverside drive- but you can make it through.

  8. Will Brooks November 14, 2009 / 5:41 pm
    Oh, duh. I do that one all the time . I get into the trails on Linden Ave and follow em around through downtown and usually take the streets back home.
  9. David Lauri November 14, 2009 / 6:01 pm
    Meters may be essential for the turnover of spots, but do all parking spots downtown need to turn over?
     
    Does the City think of parking as something to be managed to promote business and development downtown, or does the City think of parking and parking fines as a revenue stream?
     
    If building city owned garages and parking lots is a bad idea because of competition with privately owned parking garages and lots, isn’t providing city-owned street parking competition also?
     
    There’s no such thing as free parking, but don’t people who pay Dayton income taxes already pay for Dayton’s streets?
  10. David Esrati November 14, 2009 / 6:51 pm

    @David L. Yes- all spots need to turn over where there are businesses- so that people can get in and out. There are free places to park on downtown streets- but, I’m keeping those my secret :-)

    It does promote business to have the spots turn over- and, as to competition with private lots- that’s part of the reason they don’t run the transportation center garage or the city hall garage-

    I don’t know the financial details on those deals- but, if history serves as any guidance the taxpayers are getting the short end of the deal.

  11. Jeff November 15, 2009 / 7:19 pm
    So is this B-Cycle thing going to happen?  You need some sponsorship, right?
  12. David Esrati November 15, 2009 / 7:40 pm

    @Jeff- it’s my goal to make it happen. Right now- we’re checking on deliverables- which may set us back a year. I am looking for sponsorship- but, the initial response has been fantastic. I don’t have hard numbers yet- and that’s what is slowing things down.

     

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