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.