Bike share has many benefits. It’s a solution for the first/last mile dilemma; it increases public health through exercise and improved air quality; it mitigates climate change through emissions reductions; it’s cheap for the user; it’s average farebox recovery is higher than any other form of public transportation; and it increases a community’s mobility. All of these benefits can be measured and are often articulated by bike share’s proponents. But an immeasurable benefit that is not often cited–and just as important–is the intrinsic value that bike share adds to our streetscapes.
In a recent article by the Project for Public Spaces (PPS), the authors identify bike share stations as “ideal triangulators” because they attract users all times of the day, they concentrate activity, and serve as natural conversation starters.
Using methods derived from lauded sociologist and urbanist William H. Whyte, PPS went out in New York City to examine and document the social impacts that Citi Bike’s stations have on the urban landscape. The aim of their research was to understand whether or not bike share stations added to the sociability and amenability of the places they occupy. In short, the answer was, “Yes!” From serving as resting and relaxation points to rendezvous and after-school hangout spots, bike share stations without question enhance social interaction.
Do you know of another benefit of bike share that isn’t listed above? Let us know in the comments below.