When I stopped to talk, they confirmed my suspicion — they were residents of “New Market,” the partially-completed, 754-unit residential apartment complex at Market and 10th Streets. NEMA has six Public bikes for residents to borrow at no charge.
NEMA brands itself as an “ultra-contemporary, highly-amenitized, tech-savvy rental community designed for San Francisco’s culture-driven lifestyle.” I don’t know if the bike fleet is a first in the city, but it’s certainly a great example of how developers can encourage residents to try biking in the city. (A Bay Area Bike Share station also sits across the street.)
“It’s great to see strong commitment to biking from one of Market Street’s largest residences,” said Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz, the SF Bicycle Coalition’s business and community program manager. “We applaud NEMA for going above and beyond in providing easy and convenient ways for their residents to bike in the city.”
Of course, it would’ve been nice if the development didn’t include 550 car parking spaces for its 754 units — a 0.7-to-1 ratio for a building that sits on top of a Muni Metro and BART station, not to mention the city’s busiest bicycling street. But the bikes are a nice touch.