As Honolulu bikeshare program nears debut, concerns about safety and affordability linger

As Honolulu bikeshare program nears debut, concerns about safety and affordability linger
Updated: Jun. 26, 2017 at 10:23 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As Honolulu's bikeshare program nears debut, some residents remain concerned about safety and affordability.

87 of 100 Biki stations are now up across town, including one along Saratoga Road where buses and trolleys whiz by.

Another station on Walina Street takes up two crucial parking spots and on Kalakaua Avenue, a bike rack crowds a busy sidewalk.

"When the bikes stick out, people are going to be squeezed into the bushes," said Waikiki resident Camille Corvino. "That location was not very smart."

Nonprofit Bikeshare Hawaii said every site was carefully vetted with city officials and that racks are movable if they became problematic.

"We didn't go around all willy-nilly like let's put one here, or let's put one there," Bikeshare Hawaii CEO Lori McCarney said. "They were examined for safety for closeness and proximity to people who will use them. A lot of different considerations went into play."

And then there's the question of cost.

Wyatt Gordon, a former intern at Bikeshare Hawaii, said the cheapest option for island residents is a $15 monthly pass, or $180 annually -- the highest in the country.

He studied similar programs in cities such as Boston, Denver and San Francisco, which average about $85 a year.

"The way the pricing structure is now, I don't see any locals really planning using this," Gordon said. "I think there is no excuse for Bikeshare to be expensive here."

McCarney believes Hawaii's pricing is solid.

She said other cities have struggled because their cost of entry was too high and that the program must be sustainable because it's operations won't be subsidized by taxpayers.

"The systems on the mainland, some of their prices just don't make sense so they're changing them," said McCarney. "So what we've done, instead of going back to where they started and work through all their problems, we have gone to where they are now."

On Wednesday, Bikeshare Hawaii plans to debut the program and demonstrate how the bikes work.

On Tuesday at 7 p.m., the nonprofit will make another presentation at the Ala Moana-Kakaako Neighborhood Board meeting at Makiki Christian Church.

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