Exponentially better | Walk left, stand right | Bon vivant | Flaneur | Tweets are my opinions

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I try never to miss an opportunity to tell people that "city living can be healthier and more environmentally friendly than it gets credit for" (nearly to the point of being annoying, as my friends are likely to lament). I'll get that "what are you smoking?" look, but I can't fathom any other conclusion. The Bixi bike system is a great example in support of such madness.

Usually, bicycles in the suburbs are sequestered to the basement or hung on hooks in the garage.. There are plenty of city folks, meanwhile, who choose to ride a bicycle daily - not merely recreationally but as their primary mode of transportation.

The Bixie is a bicycle share-rental service in Montreal that may be coming to Toronto.

The idea is interesting. A person can rent the use of a bicycle at one bike lot, ride to where they need to go and park it at a bike lot nearby. Subscriptions provide open access at a cheaper rate than one-off pay-per-use, but if you don't need a subscription, pay-per-use is still available.

So, for example, a student meets a friend for lunch in the Annex, and has a class down at King's Circle: that student can grab a Bixie and get to class just as quickly as by taking the subway to St. George or taking a bus down Bathurst to Harbord.

The benefits are several, including (but definitely not limited to):
  • increased transportation choice
  • increased exercise
  • reduced petroleum/fuel consumption
  • reduced emissions
  • reduced burden on public transit
A service like this, with these and more benefits, is much more viable in the city core than it could possibly be anywhere beyond. There are more wanted destinations within a reasonable proximity, and more interfaces for connecting to other forms of transportation when needed (eg, from a bike to a bus or streetcar or subway train or taxi cab or parking lot).

There has been some concern that the program might not launch in Toronto, but there does appear to be some hope after all.

As so many others have recognized, this program is rolling out in other cities in Europe and North America - why must it be that others can figure it out but not Toronto? Why do we insist on complicating what is so simple to so many others?

C'mon, Toronto - step up and get with the program.

EDIT - Toronto got Bixi (yay!), and it's comparatively expensive (D'oh!)  Ah Toronto....(smh). But, at least we have it. Well, downtown anyway, where it's viability may ultimately be possible.

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