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Bike sharing coming to a corner near you

San Francisco, along with four other cities in Silicon Valley, will launch the region’s first bike-share system this July.

Trendy bike-sharing systems have been successful in major cities across the world including Paris, Barcelona and London. Short-term bicycle rental stations allow members to check out a bike from one of many automated solar-powered bicycle stations and then return the bicycle to a different station.

Bikers will likely be able to join for daily, weekly, monthly and annual rates. The City has not announced the pricing structure for the system yet, but said it would be “flexible” and built to encourage quick trips so the system will have a high turnover rate.

The bike-share system will feature 500 bicycles at approximately 50 racks in downtown SF, plus another 500 bikes and 50 racks near Caltrain stations in Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and San Jose.

The system will be funded by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. A $4.3 million grant has been devoted to the regional bike share program as part of $33 million for various projects around The Bay aimed at reducing cars on the road and to curb emissions.

According to SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose, the SF stations will be “centered in SF’s employment- and transit-rich Downtown/SOMA corridor between the Financial District, Market Street and the Transbay and Caltrain terminals with connections at Market Street BART stations and the Ferry Terminal.”

The pilot program launches this summer just in time for preliminary America’s Cup events in August when crowds will flock to the Embarcadero. With as many as 2 million people expected to visit, bike sharing is part of The City’s plan to keep as many cars as possible out of the area. Plans also include the creation of new bike lanes and routes throughout The City.

Residents can even request locations where they want future stations to be by emailing the department.

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