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Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Cautionary Tale of Advocacy: Dasani Blue Bikes

4/3/2014 #215 30m
Needed morning coffee so I stopped at Chateau Cafe and Cakery, for a Double Shot in the Dark which served quite well. Rode out the Jail Trail to the Hot Metal Bridge and REI.

Performed the annual purging of the Member Rebate and Ritual Use of the 20% Coupon. Bought new gloves for the new year (two pair, actually), a new fuel tank for my JetBoil, some new snacks for my bike bag. I think REI should offer to have a subdermal RFID chip implanted with my member number in exchange for an additional lifelong 10% discount; it would save a lot of time for the cashiers.

Rode northwest on the SouthSide trail. Noticed that the old Dasani Blue Bike lockers have been removed from their place near the Terminal Buildings. This is a sign that I am both (1) getting old and (2) beginning to be "from" Pittsburgh after only 28 years of living here; I can see a level, clear bit of ground and remember what UsedToBe (U2B) there.

A Cautionary Tale The Dasani Blue Bikes were a free bike share program that Dasani Water sponsored for a few years via Bike Pgh. There were bike lockers SouthSide and by the Northside Heinz plant. It was a tremendous example to me how the unintended effects of advocacy and change can produce exactly the opposite of the stated goals.


Although the stated goal was to increase cycling in the downtown area, and increase transient cycling, the end result was to drive the startup bike rental business (Triangle Bike Rentals, on the Jail Trail) out of business because they couldn't compete with free bikes. (Years later, Triangle was later purchased and restarted). Perversely, the pro-downtown-bike initiative ended up driving the only downtown bike business to close shop and go out of business.

Rode over to the Heinz plant on the Allegheny, and the Dasani bike lockers have recently been removed from there, too. I wonder where the lockers went, they're a pretty specialized piece of equipment. I would think they'd be put to good use outside the stadiums, someplace where people want to lock up their bikes and don't want anybody touching them. Would you pay $4 to lock your bike up in a locker at a baseball game? Is that a premium that comes with a season ticket?

To repeat the point: sometimes, the unintended outcomes are exactly what you don't want. And so, the Question Of The Day: If Pittsburgh cycling gains one bike lane, but alienates all the bus drivers and all the transit users, and we splinter the coalition for complete streets, and we're fractured when it comes to BRT - what have we gained?     (more)

Rode back to Heinz Field, out to Big Dog Coffee for a scone and a mocha bianca, such goodness much wifi! Wrote a second blog post about the seamy underbelly of bike lane wedgie politics. (first one here) Managed to get back to the car just after the rain got serious. 30 miles.



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2 comments:

  1. The 'missing' bike lockers were offered to a number of local entities. They found a good home, and you WILL see them again.

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  2. I wonder what effect pittsburgh bike share is going to have on the golden triangle bike rental business. The bike share bikes are not ideal for a casual afternoon ride, but are great for short hop commuting.

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