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Santa Monica To Share Breeze Bike Program With Venice

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Hector Gonzalez
Special to The Lookout

February 22, 2016 -- Santa Monica's Breeze program will pedal outside the City in the first inter-city expansion of the county's only bike share system.

Proposed by staff for City Council approval Tuesday, five new Breeze Bike Share stations would be built in Venice by Cyclehop, the City's contractor on the $10 million transit program, said a staff report.

If approved, the memorandum of understanding between Santa Monica and the City of Los Angeles will allow Cycle hop, working with Santa Monica officials, to determine the locations of the five stations in Venice and install, maintain and operate them for the next seven years.

Breeze's first expansion is being funded by a $500,000 grant Santa Monica accepted in 2011 from the South Coast Air Quality Management District specifically to create up to five Breeze stations outside the City, said staff.

Venice, already a popular destination for Breeze bike renters, apparently was the natural choice for expansion, according to the report.

“There is a near-seamless connection between the City of Santa Monica and the Venice area of Los Angeles, including main connections along Main Street to Abbott Kinney and along the Marvin Braude beach bike path,” said staff. “People riding on-street facilities and the beach path regularly cross from one jurisdiction to the other.”

The Breeze system got off to a slow start, logging in 2,218 renters since its preliminary rollout with 31 bikes in August. Riders completed 8,760 trips (Santa Monica Official Release Early Bike Share Ridership Numbers, December 3, 2015).

City planning officials hope Breeze ridership will eventually reach roughly 370,000 trips.

But since the full 500-bike Breeze system went citywide in November, the office of Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents Venice, “has been inundated with requests for stations in their communities, said staff.

According to a December staff report, user fees for the system account for only about $1.26 million, falling far short of the programs overall cost.

Riders get 30 minutes of daily ride time for $20 a month or $119 year for 30 minutes of daily ride time. Santa Monica residents pay $79 a year for 30 minutes of daily ride time. Santa Monica Collage students can get an hour of daily ride time using a $47 six-month student pass. Non member pay $6 an hour prorated (you are only charged for what you use).

Treading new ground, the four-month-old Breeze system is being closely watched by the region's leaders, who plan to emulate it eventually across the county.

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