Oct 23, 2017
Honolulu: A Cyclin’ City
Across the globe, in urban communities far and wide, throngs of people are choosing to commute by bicycle over car.
As it turns out, when we opt to leave the car at home and commute by bike, amazing things tend to happen. Not only are we helping to alleviate traffic, but we're also engaging in a healthier lifestyle and creating stronger communities. To boot, studies show that bike-friendly cities are often home to stronger communities. In response, bike-sharing models have popped up in cities across the country. New York, Portland, Minneapolis, and Honolulu (in the form of Biki) are now home to bike-sharing programs. And we're thrilled to report that there are three Biki stations in and around Ward Village, making it even easier to explore Honolulu's most exciting neighborhood.
Here's how it works: through a network of more than 1,000 bikes located at over 100 solar powered Biki stations scattered throughout the city, users have near-constant access to wheels. For payment, special passes that range in price models can be purchased at any Biki station.
Since making their debut in late June, the market has shown that there's indeed a demand for bike-share in Honolulu. After all, riding through the city by the power of your own two feet isn't just good for the environment, but it's also a lot of fun. After three months of operation, Biki recently announced their riderships numbers. Since launching in late June, more than 31,000 people have tried out Biki, amassing an impressive 180,000 rides total, with an average of 2,100 trips by bike per day.
"We're very pleased with Biki's high ridership after just three months of service," said Lori McCarney, executive director of Biki. In each of the ensuing months since opening, ridership has steadily grown. In July, the average daily ride clocked in at 1,700, compared to 1,900 in August and 2,100 in September. "We really didn't know what to expect. So, we looked at how we started and said how does that compare to other cities?" added McCarney. "We found that we actually look like Portland. which we thought that was great since it has a riding culture. So, we thought if we are like Portland, we are doing pretty well."
Bike-sharing models in other cities have shown that they not only promote healthier lifestyles, but they're also good for business. A recent study conducted in D.C. found that 16 percent of bike-share users reported that they engaged in new spending in neighborhood businesses because of the access provided by bike sharing.
As an urban core with warm weather and plenty of sunny days, Honolulu makes perfect sense for Biki. Currently, O'ahu has 2 miles of protected bike lanes, 46 miles of bike paths, 59 miles of bike lanes, and 40 miles of bike routes. Under Mayor Kirk Caldwell, serious inroads have been made to accommodate bicycling as a legitimate mode of transport in the city. In 2015, city created the first protected bike lane on King Street, a major corridor between urban Honolulu and the University area.
In addition to support from the City and County and DOT, nonprofits have also contributed to Biki's success. In 2015, the Ward Village Foundation supported Biki with a sizeable donation and recently completed specialized bike lanes for their streets.
"We've seen Biki grow in popularity very quickly since we began service this summer. People like how quickly and easily they can get to favorite and new destinations like the ones at Ward Village. The three Biki Stops place users at the front doors of movie theaters, yoga studios, exciting restaurants, and unique shops," added McCarney. "New residents of Ward Village are at the heart of Biki's 100-station network that spans urban Honolulu, putting them just a quick Biki ride away from downtown and Waikiki. We are extremely grateful for Ward Village's support of Bikeshare Hawaii and its vision for creating a new neighborhood with great mobility.
You can grab your wheels and hit the town at either the Biki Kolowalu Park station near South Shore Market, the Ward Industrial Center station next to Ward Consolidated Theatres, and at Ross Dress for Less, located at Ward Gateway Center. So start stretching those legs. Biki is here to stay.
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