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September 13th, 2010
BLUEPRINT AMERICA
Blueprint Denver: Not just for Europeans anymore

Video: Rocky Mountain PBS
Text: Tom McNamara, Blueprint America

You can “Take the ‘A’ train” in New York City, but in Denver, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., Des Moines and a handful of other communities, you can hop on the ‘B’for bicycle (note: the ‘B’ remains a viable subway line in New York, but a bike-share program is in the works there, too).

Bike-share is the most recent form of mass transit — funded with both private and public dollars. It offers commuters the option of renting a bike at point A and dropping it off at point B, C, D, or back at A. Minneapolis, with 1,000 bikes, currently has the largest program in the U.S., but Denver’s expanding program could soon overtake it. Then again, if you’re an American city with bike sharing, it’s not hard to be in the running for the top spot — few cities have a program, but that’s slowly starting to change.

Bike-shares are exploding in Europe: 10,000 bikes in Paris, 1,500 in Barcelona, 2,000 and an additional 3,000 to come in Copenhagen.

While some might welcome the emulation of the European model here in the U.S., Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes has warned voters that Denver’s B-Cycle program is, in reality, a U.N. plot. In the spirit of fairness to the fringes, some on the left might also find reason to cry conspiracy, since the often maligned Clear Channel Inc. administers the D.C. program and launched bike-sharing programs in Rennes and Barcelona, among others. At the very least, bikers are on board.

Here’s a short video from our partners at Rocky Mountain PBS about Denver’s B-Cycle program:

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