BIXI gets $1 million injection from condo developers
Toronto's struggling bike share network just got a big boost. Thanks to the work of BIXI proponent and Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, three major developers — DiamondCorp, Lanterra, and Canderel — have agreed to contribute $1 million towards the expansion of the network in exchange for reducing the number of parking spaces they're required to provide at new condo projects. This represents a delivery on a plan that Wong-Tam pitched to council back in May, shortly after it was discovered that BIXI was in financial difficulty.
Should more developers be convinced to do the same, our bike sharing program might yet be saved. At present, BIXI is roughly $4 million in debt, a burden that would ultimately fall on Toronto taxpayers should the program remain financially unviable. Of course, for this plan to work, developers outside of Ward 27 would also have to get on board, which means that other councillors would have to leverage parking requirements in a similar manner.
To some degree, it's a win-win situation. The developers ultimately save money (the $1 million investment is far less than the cost of building the extra parking spots), BIXI gets much-needed cash, and, theoretically at least, congestion is curbed. BIXI representatives have argued that the network must expand for the program to be successful. Here's a concrete way to do that without leaning on the city for funds.
Photo by Martin Reis