A new program aims to change the face of transportation in Honolulu, by getting drivers to say goodbye to four wheels, and hello to two wheels.
KHON2 sought answers on how the new “Bikeshare Hawaii” project will work.
“So I got to ride bike share in a protected lane in Pittsburgh, it was nice, and I thought if they can do it in Pittsburgh we can do it here,” said Lori McCarney, president of Bikeshare Hawaii.
McCarney knows a thing or two about bicycles. She’s a former excecutive, who came out of retirement to run the non-profit bikeshare program.
Lori is also an avid athlete who’s completed 10 ironman triathlons.
She’s also a realist.
“I say it’s going to happen and people are going to enjoy it and they’re going to find different ways for it to work for them,” McCarney said. “I’m a car person I will always go with what’s more convenient, which is what people do. So I’m not going to put away my car and ride my bike everywhere, but there will be a lot of times when I say the bike is a better choice”
After traveling the country in search of the best options for the islands, the team from Bikeshare Hawaii has whittled the field down to 4 bikes along with their designated docking and pay stations.
KHON2 learned the plan calls for about 200 stations from Chinatown to Diamond Head with 10 to 12 bikes each.
“We’re looking at having our stations every 800 or 900 feet apart so that you never longer than 3 to 4 minute walk to bike share station,” McCarney said.
Mccarney added that the ultimate plan is to connect bike stations with the bus and rail, and it will be affordable.
The costs? It will be $15 monthly passes for unlimited 30 minutes rides, or for tourists and infrequent users, just swipe a credit card and go. An hour ride will cost between $5 and $7.
Of course, there’s also the issue of getting people to trade their horse-power for peddle power, and getting drivers to accept sharing the road with more bikers.
In regards to that, Mccarney points to major international cities like Coppenhagen and Amsterdam, where bikes outnumber humans. Both are about the same size and population as Honolulu.
“I think right now when people say we are very car dependent and I throw back at them and say, ‘okay, what are the options,’” McCarney said.
Both the city and the state have given $1 million to help fund the project, which needs about $5 million more for start-up costs.
While changing habits and raising awareness may be as challenging as raising funding, one thing you won’t need to change according to Mccarney, is your clothes.
“There’s so many people that think you need to wear biking clothes to go biking but actually the bike share bikes are made to use your regular clothes,” McCarney said. “Everything is covered so you don’t get your skirt caught you don’t get grease on you. I try them out in heels and skirts and talk to people about how to show up at a professional meeting with your laptop and how to be ready to go without having to change clothes.”
If you want to see the bikes and technology for yourself, Bikeshare Hawaii has the 4 bikes with docking stations set up in the parking garage of the Honolulu Design Center.