On my way to the Brooklyn Farmer's Market*, my daughter, Lydia, and I came upon a rack of brand new bicycles, installed days before, that residents of this borough were able to use as needed. Each bike was branded with a Citibank logo, so there was some commercial support for this effort. As I understand it, you use your credit card to secure the bike, then you can drop it off at any one of several other bike centers.
What a fantastic idea!
In Brooklyn, a 24 hour pass is $10, and a 7 day pass is $25…but you have to use the bike in 30 minute segments (though with each pass you have an unlimited number of trips within the purchased timeframe).
There are some hefty overtime fees and the penalty for loss of the bike is $1000, but if you're as careful with the communal bike as you would be with your own, and use it for just the 30-minute segments (like, for instance, to commute to and from work or school), it works out.
Days later, walking along the Soane in Lyon, France, I saw the same set-up: racks of bikes that people can use, as needed, by paying a small fee.
Now, Oak Park is somewhat smaller than Brooklyn (which, if it were a city unto itself, would be like the second largest city in the U.S.) as well as Lyon (the second largest city in France), so maybe economies of scale don't apply. Still, how cool would it be for the Village to set up a rack of bicycles for residents and tourists to use as needed, secured with a credit card, of course, and perhaps funded by a local bank (looking at you Chase)?
*Obligatory food reference
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