The West Hollywood Library Auto Court enclave thrummed with excitement as local politicians, bikers and community members gathered for the WeHo Pedals Bike Share ribbon cutting. Outside, San Vicente Boulevard was lined with brand-new green bikes for the program's inaugural ride.
The city of West Hollywood launched the program Aug. 30, supplying West Hollywood with 150 bikes and 20 bike-share stations. Each bike is paired with a GPS unit so users can locate them even if they're not at a station.
"It's a way of getting people out of their cars and doing something healthy, enjoying the city, it's good exercise and it's good for the environment," Mayor Lauren Meister said.
Santa Monica served as the model for WeHo's bike sharing system, according to Tiffany Robinson, Senior Planner for the city's Long Range and Mobility Department.
"[West Hollywood] has always been thinking about innovative ways to get around, but it was in 2014 where we really saw another example within the West Side and we wanted to mirror that," Robinson said.
Though the system is owned by the city of West Hollywood, the operator is Cyclehop, which runs similar systems in Long Beach, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills.
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"[Cyclehop is] managing our bike-share program, so they'll be out out here delivering all our bikes. They've been going around installing our stations. They'll be managing the program," Robinson said.
WeHo Pedals requires riders to create an account online to use with the mobile application Social Bicycles. Riding costs $7 per hour on a pay-as-you-go plan, or riders can opt for a $25 per month or $99 per year subscription. On any price tier, a single account can rent up to six bikes at a time.
The hourly price may be steep for some, but it is equal to the pricing for bike-share programs in Long Beach, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Los Angeles.
West Hollywood Mayor Pro-Tempore John Heilman emphasized that these bikes would be the forerunner of several new transportation options in the city.
"We're giving people another transportation option, now we have to keep fighting to ensure that we get another transportation option, namely Metro," Heilman said.
Michael J. Wagner is the Co-Executive Director of Pacific Hills School, one of few schools in the city of West Hollywood.
Reflecting on how vital the West Hollywood community was in the creation of WeHo pedals, Wagner said, "This program has been talked about for a long time. That's why I'm here. I think it's cool. I think it makes West Hollywood what it really is, a unique community."