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City Heights Pleads Its Bike-Share Case

Above: Angeli Hernandez uses stickers to show DecoBike where she'd like to see bike-share stations in her neighborhood. She and her peers on the Mid-City CAN Youth Council have been speaking out about the need for better transit in City Heights.

City officials and DecoBike, a private Miami-based company that has been contracted to roll out the city's bike-share program, are holding community workshops to let residents weigh in on where they want the rental bikes located.

Special Feature Speak City Heights

Speak City Heights is a media collaborative aimed at amplifying the voices of residents in one of San Diego’s most diverse neighborhoods. (Read more)

At Wednesday's meeting at the City Heights Recreation Center, residents used green and orange stickers to mark on large-scale maps of San Diego where they would and wouldn’t like bike stations located.

Angeli Hernandez, who advocates for better transit in her neighborhood through the community health nonprofit Mid-City CAN, said she’d like to see City Heights make the cut for a station.

“I like that this is a possibility in our community,” Hernandez said. “When I first heard about it, I thought it would only be in tourist areas, but it’s nice to see they want it here. People could come to City Heights and see what we have to offer.”

Whether DecoBike makes it to City Heights isn't certain. DecoBike representative David Silverman said program organizers are still deciding which neighborhoods will get the bikes.

His company operates primarily in tourist-heavy areas, including Miami Beach. He said proximity to tourist attractions will drive some of the decisions about where they go in San Diego.

Silverman said one thing is certain: The program is scheduled to be implemented downtown early next year. The rest of the bike stations will go in one or two months later. Silverman said, in addition to tourist areas, DecoBike will focus on high-density areas close to mass transit.

That could bode well for City Heights, which already has a robust bus network and will gain a rapid bus line next summer.

Silverman said implementing the bike-sharing program would significantly improve transit options in City Heights, where car ownership is low.

“It’s accessible 24/7 so people wouldn’t have to wait like they would for a trolley or bus,” Silverman said.

When the program is fully rolled out, it will offer 1,800 three-speed bikes at 180 bike station locations throughout the city, making it the second largest program in the country after Manhattan.

The solar-powered bike stations will be 40-feet long — the length of about two parking spots. City spokesman Bill Harris said finding locations for the stations will be a tedious process because it could involve removing metered parking spots downtown and repainting yellow curbs.

While membership rates for the San Diego program haven't yet been released, DecoBike's monthly rate for unlimited 30-minute rides in Miami Beach is $15. The pass for unlimited 60-minute rides is $25. Silverman said San Diego's membership rates will likely be similar, and that they're considering offering an annual pass for $99.

San Diegans who want to request locations for DecoBike stations can make suggestions at www.decobikesandiego.com through Oct. 14. Silverman said final decisions will be announced in November.

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