Pittsburgh plans to debut bike-share program in 2014

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Following in the bike tracks of Boston, Washington, D.C., and several other major American cities, Pittsburgh plans to debut a bike-sharing system by spring or summer of 2014.

The program was announced today at a press conference in Bakery Square, where a similar bike-share program is in operation for commuters between Carnegie Mellon University and Google's Larimer campus.

"Bike-share programs like this are critically important to attract and retain the talent that we have here," Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said. "To have that cool, young, vibrant, hip city that young investors want requires projects like this."

The systems users could sign up for include a daily subscription or an annual subscription and check bikes out of the secure docking stations.

Riders can drop off the bikes -- sturdy, 40-pound cruisers meant to require little maintenance -- at any other docking station in the city.

Plans call for the system to be operated by a newly formed non-profit, the Pittsburgh Bike Share Program. The $4 million project will be funded in part with a $1.6 million from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program.

The rest of the money is expected to come from foundation donations, which have yet to be finalized, and corporate sponsorship, Scott Bricker, executive director of Bike Pittsburgh, said.

Mr. Bricker said the bike-share goes "hand in glove" with the mayor's efforts to make the city bike-friendlier.

Phil Goff of Alta Planning and Design, the Portland, Ore.-based firm designing the system, said the city is ripe for a robust bike-sharing program because of its density, healthy tourism industry and the extensive use of public transit among its residents.

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Moriah Balingit: mbalingit@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2533 and on Twitter: @MoriahBee.


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