You may have heard the news that the City is looking at new “street furniture” (transit shelters, benches, etc) and DON’T want public input (which is a shame because the new “bikeracks” being proposed are not only unnecessary (our post and rings are iconic and do the job) but kind of ugly (in my opinion). Essentially advertising companies design these things for the city because they want to slap advertisements all over them (hopefully legal ones).
But, do you know what “world class” cities like Paris do? They let a company have access to advertise all over the city, but in return they have to make the city a better place by providing 20,000 virtually free rental bicycles for the citizens to use.
On July 15, the day after Bastille Day, Parisians will wake up to discover thousands of low-cost rental bikes at hundreds of high-tech bicycle stations scattered throughout the city, an ambitious program to cut traffic, reduce pollution, improve parking and enhance the city’s image as a greener, quieter, more relaxed place. By the end of the year, organizers and city officials say, there should be 20,600 bikes at 1,450 stations — or about one station every 250 yards across the entire city.
The Socialist mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delano?, has the same aim, said his aide, Jean-Luc Dumesnil: “We think it could change Paris’s image — make it quieter, less polluted, with a nicer atmosphere, a better way of life.” But there is a practical side, too, Dumesnil said. A recent study analyzed different trips in the city “with a car, bike, taxi and walking, and the bikes were always the fastest.” The Lyon rental bikes, with their distinctive silver frame, red rear-wheel guard, handlebar basket and bell, can also be among the cheapest ways to travel, because the first half-hour is free, and most trips are shorter than that.
If a company wants to slap advertisements all over our public infrastructure, shouldn’t we in Toronto make them do more for us? Shouldn’t we have them help us become the “greenest city in North America“?