Should Decobike racks (like on Belle Isle) include advertising?

DecoBike rack on Belle Isle, near the bus shelter.

The folks behind the Decobike bicycle sharing program say that despite widespread use of their two-wheelers — and you see folks riding the bikes all over South Beach — the program isn’t generating enough revenue for it to expand to mid-Beach and North Beach.

They say allowing advertising on the rental kiosks will do the trick. There are Decobike stations almost every three blocks on South Beach, including one on on Venetian Way in Belle Isle Park. It’s easy to count 50 in the general South Beach/Sunset Harbor area right now. The ads would be 7 feet by 2 feet in size.

They would translate into a lot little billboards. The city commission couldn’t decide what to do about the issue in July, and referred Decobikes request to the commission Finance and Citywide Projects Committee. The item comes up this Wednesday, Sept. 14 — though the committee hasn’t made a recommendation yet.

A group called Scenic Miami, which is active on billboard and signage issues acround Miami and Miami Beach, is advocating against the ads. They say the city needs a better solution than adding advertisements to what will end up being 100 different locations around Miami Beach.

Herb Frank, a Belle Isle Homeowner Association board member, is active with Scenic Miami. A letter circulated by Herb and wife Barbara says:

Although community support for the Decobike rental initiative is growing, the failure of the program to meet its revenue targets should be addressed in ways other than the  city authorizing advertising on the kiosks.  Advertising on kiosks would be an eyesore, not only for those located on residential streets and in parks, but also in commercial areas, where this would be a visual detriment to already cluttered streetscapes.

In an editorial in late July, The Miami Herald advocated a different position:

Revisit the contract and each side give a little. Agree to smaller ads? Maybe in fewer locations? The city kicks in a small subsidy?

Just keep this smart and popular program rolling.

The commission meets Wednesday after 6 p.m.What do you think? Leave a comment.
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15 responses to “Should Decobike racks (like on Belle Isle) include advertising?

  1. The Herald’s recommendation of meeting half way makes sense. I sincerely doubt that there will be a waiting list for advertising on the kiosks–highly vulnerable to vandlism and little exposure. The city should be proud of the ridership numbers and chip in to keep the program solvent and more cars off our streets. Keep in mind that the bikeshare programs in most major cities are subsidized. Ours is not.

  2. All business seek to maximize profits. Why wouldn’t they want to put signs, and eventually really large signs. Once they have their bike stations, they set the expectations that would be all they would need. Its no surprise when once they have that concession they ask for more. They will always ask for more to maximize profits. Deco Bikes is not succeeding because it provides very little value to the locals. I can buy a bike off craigs list for 50 bucks. We can’t let every failed business destroy our city with signs and taking up parking.

    • I quite agree. I live on Collins and 52nd street and out of my windows looking west I have a lovely view which I enjoy. When I bought my place here I did so with confidence that nothing could be built across the street as the land on the creek there is too narrow. I understand the usefullness of the Decobike rack that has been installed there and try to ignore the ugly-colored payment post, but enough, already! This is a residental section and advertising is the last straw.

      Mary Browning

  3. Mark-Anthony Barnes

    I absolutely adore the Deco Bike program. I think its a great initiative for the city of Miami Beach to be involved in. There were times when I’d hop in my car to travel the 5-6 blocks to get A CVS or my barber shop now I just hop on a bike saving gas, parking fees, and most importantly time. As to the program in need of generating more revenue I wll point out two very important things that should be considered: 1) The Deco Bike program did not really get rolling until the very end of High Season. I am not at all surprised that they aren’t getting the numbers they envisioned during the summer (rainy) months of the year. I am sure they will start seeing exponential growth once the season kicks in to high gear Oct./Nov. with it of course tapering off again during low season. 2) The opposition to advertising at the kiosk is ludicrus in my opinion. The concerns I have heard amplified by Scenic Miami and others just doesn’t make sense, we are talking about 7 foot tall bright almost flourescent green kiosks to begin with, right? I am sure as the miami herald suggested there can be a middle ground found. I’d personally suggest the city instead of trying to profit from this initiative (in case you didn’t know they take a percentage of all revenues generated in the program) instead agree to let the company keep ALL revenues until an average monthly ridership # benchmark is met. Create a formula so that when ever ridership exceeds certain numbers in a month the city gets its kick back and if ridership falls the city doesn’t. All of this can be done with out any tax dollars being spent. Now that’s common sense

  4. What is the fuss? In the photograph above, at the bus shelter near the Deco Bike station, you show a large advertisement much bigger than the entire Deco Bike kiosk?
    All of Miami Beach should do whatever it can to support Deco Bike keep moving residents and visitors around the town in a quieter, less congested, and less gas consuming fashion!

  5. How about using some common sense. I’ve seen the rack in all kinds of location, and ads on some of them shouldn’t bother anyone, while some others are in residential areas that could be annoying.

    Be selective and move on with the ads.

  6. I think this issue is simply a minority of people, with a platform from which they can make a disproportionately loud noise. I live in South Beach, the area most “affected” by the kiosks. I have no problem with the Deco Bikes doing what they can so they can keep providing us with their services. According to the argument, it’s alright for Miami-Dade transit to erect signs 10-15 times larger than the ones being discussed, in order for them to provide a polluting bus service, that never runs on time and rarely provides a modicum of the efficiency the nation’s other big transit agencies can. Yet, when a private company, tries to provide a valuable service to an area, that desperately needs it, erecting even the smallest advertisement on their own equipment cannot be allowed? I’m all for getting rid of visual clutter and pollution, but there are much bigger, more important battles that Scenic Miami can spend their time tackling. This should be a non-issue.

  7. Take a measured approach plus, why not wait a bit to see how the program does once high season kicks in? The bus station ads are huge and can be very unsightly so why not let smaller ads be put on the stands? Advertising isn’t going aways so let’s manage it smartly so that this program doesn’t go by the wayside. I love the Deco Bikes and have seen more and more people take advantage of them.

  8. I love Deco Bike and it is a much needed program in our city. I don’t see a problem with the ads, its not like they are putting up more billboards, they are using a space that already exists. It seems crazy to me that something that is so positive both for residents and tourists is met with resistance because of putting ads up. What they should be investing their energy into is making Miami more bike-friendly by adding bike lanes and more Deco Bike stations (downtown Miami please!). I’m all for keeping Miami beautiful, but why are they focusing on billboards and advertisements instead of the high rise developments, the pollution of the air and our water, and utilizing solar and wind power.

  9. Thank you for your coverage of the bike vendor ad proposal. We have seen Clear Channel, the outdoor advertising company, which is promoting this visual pollution litigate with the City of Miami and all over the country to flood our environment with electronic LED digital billboards, flashing a different ad every 6/8 seconds.

    The Miami Beach city attorney cautioned this will be the beginning of the assault by this industry onto the quality of life of Miami Beach. He is absolutely right. This advertising proposal must be stopped.

    If you want to keep informed of outdoor advertising issues throughout the county, go to Scenicmiamidade.org and contact us at Scenicmiamidade@gmail.com. Contributions should be sent to
    Scenic Miami-Dade Coumty, Inc, 199 E Flagler #384, Miami Fl 33131

  10. Clear Channel is just looking for a toehold to enter the Miami Beach market. Clear Channel is the outdoor advertising industry bully which has already installed 7-8 illegal LED billboards on I-95, I-195 and I-395.

    Tell your Commissioners to vote No. There are better ways to help DecoBikes.

    Scenic Miami

  11. Mark-Anthony Barnes

    Again we are talking about the 7 foot tall, bright, flourescent green/yellow Kiosk to begin with, right?

  12. Mark-Anthony Barnes

    Clear channel isn’t even the one in charge of advertising for Decobike. Where do you guys get your information from??? False facts help no one with your cause and this is why I do not believe in scenic miami. Trying to connect decobike to clear channell flys in the face of reason and good common sense when the two issues aren’t even related to one another. This attempt on this board to lie to us citizens of miami beach and distort the truth will only lead you to fail in your cause.

  13. Those who live on Collins and 52nd would shudder to look out of our apartments’ windows at advertisements on the Decobike rack station on the other side of Collins from our building. I understand the useful purpose of having that bike rack and payment loud green/yellow payment machine there, as there is a city parking lot on the ocean side of Collins, on the beach and next to the fire station, but this is a residential neighborhood, with lovely views to the west. Why should we have to look at the eyesore of advertising as well!

    Mary Browning

  14. A 6 MILLION DOLLAR BAILOUT TO 2 MULTIMILLIONAIRES INSTEAD OF THE RESIDENTS?!?!

    GIVE 6 MILLION BUCKS TO A PRIVATE MILLIONAIRE INSTEAD OF THE CITY PUTTING THE MONEY TOWARD LOWERING OUR TAXES AND IMPROVING SERVICES??!!

    NO WAY DUDE!
    If the city is going to allow advertising why not let the citizens profit instead of a private company? Sounds like you do not know the facts. It is money we should get not some private company and multimillionaires.

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