What we can learn from Catalonia

13 08 2011

Girona is a small city in northern Catalonia. It has a population of 96,000 people, which is just a little larger than Palmerston North.

There’s two lessons we can learn from Catalonia. The first is that bike share works in a small city like Girona. Girona’s system has grown to 160 bicycles available at 10 stations. This could (and should) translate into success for cities like Dunedin, Palmerston North or even the Hutt.

The second lesson is that there is a market for short-term automated secure bicycle parking. See the Bicibox.

They’ve set some up in Barcelona. An annual subscription means that you can use a secure locker for 12 hours without charge, then a small charge ensues. A smartcard gives access to a locker.

I’d be happy to pay a couple dollars each time I used one myself. $2 for all day secure bike parking at the train station sounds pretty good to me.

With so much talk of minimum parking requirements in Auckland lately it might be a good time to suggest that commercial developments in New Zealand should have minimum requirements for casual and secure bike parking.

Imagine a Hop-like Card that lets you get on trains, ferries, buses, trams and urban aerial gondolas, and then lets you ride bike share bikes and lets you securely park your bike which you can recharge with funds online, and the system tells you when the next bus is coming along, where the available bikes are, and where the available secure bike lockers are. It would be great for a national system that did all that.

Also imagine a little transceiver in every car that makes toll payments every time it goes on a motorway to help fund it all.

It’s time for some linked up thinking on transport. Auckland still doesn’t even have transfer fares. Wellington’s ticketing is a mess of train tickets, Snapper cards and Newlands-Mana cards. It’s time to start copying world’s best practice when it comes to transport networks, instead of plodding along ineptly like we’ve always done.




3 responses

15 08 2011

Agree about Girona – it’s a key stop on the Via Verde from the Mediteranean coast into the Pyrenees. Here’s a shot of a Girona bike trail a few years ago:
Bike path through Girona

2 09 2011
Neus Codina

Dear all,

We are so glad to hear about your impressions of Girona and the Bicibox solution.
I am Neus from ICNITA Emovity, and we are the company who provided the Bike Sharing Solution in Girona (called Girocleta) as well as develope the Bicibox solution, which is now implemented in Sant Joan Despí (Barcelona area) and 14 more cities will follow in the next months.
In Catalonia everyone is trying to do our best in order to fight against transit and contamination problems.
Just for your information, I’m writting down a few words about how the Bicibox idea started…
The origin of this solution, which we start to develop one year ago, was the aim of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area to promote the use of the bike, giving to the citizens a completely safe and comfortable solution, so they could use their particular bike. They were looking for a system which was really chap to maintain, especially compared to the Bike Sharing system, which has some associated cost as the redistribution of bikes and their maintenance.
This will be the biggest system in the world, shared by different cities, and which allows a real time information and managing . Please see a short video of the system being implemented in the first city : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe-1bCgL3E8

Referring to the system implemented in Girona, you can also see a short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64MsUKaZN6U&feature=related

Hope you find it very interesting, I would love to get in touch with you and share our interests in this theme!

hug huge from Girona!

21 10 2011

I think it is a great idea. I know that in the United States there are areas for designated bike parking. I have never used them, because I do not live in San Francisco or Portland. I do not know how well a bike share program would work in new zealand though. As I have mentioned before, Sydney has a bike share progamme, and the ridership is awful, because of the mandatory bike helmet law. I think that bike share programs do wonders for a city though. They give the city a healthier image, allow tourists to use alternate transportation, reduce car-dependency, and reduce the obesity epidemic. I think a bike-share program would work in Wellington. That would be a great city to see by bike. Does Christchurch have one? I know that city has heaps of bicycles. Are there a lot of cyclists where you are? I hope this does not sound bad, but I never thought of new zealand as a cycle-friendly country. It is a small country, but the automobile was in mind when cities were created. It seems like everything is so far away, and almost forces you to go by car. Unless, if you were to live in a bigger city.

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