Like Bixi….but Waaaaaay Bigger

At a time when owning a car in China has become the ultimate symbol of success, it’s very encouraging to see systems like Hangzhou’s bike share working so well.

The city of Hangzhou, with its population of roughly seven million, has 50 000 bikes in their bike share program!

Hangzhou’s 2,050 bike-share stations are spaced less than a thousand feet from each other in the city center, and on an average day riders make 240,000 trips using the system. Its popularity and success have set a new standard for bike-sharing in Asia. And the city is far from finished. The Hangzhou Bicycle Company plans to expand the bike-share system to 175,000 bikes by 2020!

Check out this video at streetfilms.org.

Public Bikes and Public Spaces

Back in July, Toronto announced that it would attempt to bring the Bixi bike sharing programme to the city. A big condition was that Bixi would need to have 1000 people purchase the $95 annual subscription to the service before the imposed deadline of November first. Well here we are on October 19th, and Bixi has reached the 1000 member mark, in large part due to an investment from AutoShare.

The car-sharing company AutoShare announced Monday night that it bought 100 of the $95 annual subscriptions, pushing the total over 1,000. The announcement was made to room full of BIXI subscribers gathered for a party at the Steam Whistle Brewery. “There was a big cheer, that’s for sure,” said AutoShare president Kevin McLaughlin, who called the purchase an investment in BIXI. “The bigger picture is bringing a better transportation system to Toronto,” he said.

Read more at The Toronto Star, or at Bixi Toronto.

In other good Toronto news, the University of Toronto is experimenting with the creation of new, pedestrian only spaces. The idea is undergoing a real-time evaluation by closing down little-used roads and setting up tables, chairs, and fake grass. Although one area wasn’t very successful (Devonshire between Bloor and Hoskin), the other is flourishing. Willcocks Street between St. George and Huron is being heavily used by students, faculty, and random passers-by as a place to meet, work, and enjoy free Wi-Fi. Evaluation of the concept will continue until the winter, when a decision will be made whether or not to turn the temporary set-up into something more permanent.

More information can be found at Spacing.ca.

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