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Monday, February 11, 2013

Chattanooga Bike-Share: Lessons for Smaller Cities [DC Streets Blog]


Chattanooga, Tennessee, was, in a lot of ways, not an ideal city for bike-sharing. It’s a somewhat sprawling city, without a strong culture of cycling and walking. In addition, only a small percentage of area residents use transit to get around, so not many are leaving the car in the garage.

Chattanooga is blazing trails as a small bike-sharing city. Image: Times Free Press
But local leaders didn’t use these challenges as excuses not to act to improve public health. This city of 170,000 launched the Chattanooga Bicycle Transit System last July, with 30 stations and 300 bikes dispersed around a 2.5-square mile area of downtown. In doing so, little Chattanooga beat larger cities like New York and Chicago to the punch.
“Our purpose with bike-sharing was to put a large amount of cyclists on the street in a short time, to change the dynamic, to improve our air quality, our health and active transportation overall,” said Chattanooga Bike Coordinator Philip Pugliese, at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Kansas City last week.

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