Walrus Magazine's recent article on BIXI in Toronto left me with more questions about how it would be done here. So I got in touch with City Hall to find out more. Here are a couple lines from my article with some information I was able to squeeze out:
BIXI is ready for Toronto, is Toronto ready for BIXI?
After a successful launch in Montreal last May, BIXI has served more than 1 million users – an amazing accomplishment for its first year.
The system is however shutting down now as Montreal prepares for the ensuing winter. On November 1st, BIXI started taking down the less frequently used stations and BIXI rentals will no longer be available after November 30th – making its triumphant return in May 2010.
But fear not Torontonians - I have been told the BIXI system in Toronto will have no such restrictions! The city plans to keep Toronto’s BIXI system open all-year-round! A detail that has previously not been released and I had to pry out of City Hall.
Next I wanted to find out what the impact would be on car lanes and parking. As you may know, Montreal turned dozens of parking spaces into BIXI stations – a point of contention amongst Montreal drivers.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the city doesn’t want to head down the path of taking parking space away from drivers. “On-street parking is not a priority”, Wheldrake said.
It makes sense that the city is trying to avoid possible confrontation with certain media outlets in our city that are opposed to cycling culture because they see it as a threat to driving in the city. I however, see cycling as a benefit to drivers because it can help reduce congestion by getting people out of their cars.
Sean admitted that it will be a challenge to find space for the BIXI stations, but he is optimistic that this can be addressed given the easy mobility of the solar-powered BIXI stations that require no excavation.
Is anyone else getting excited about the BIXI program?? Even though I already own 3 bikes, I could still see BIXI being more convenient on certain occasions than bringing my own bike.