Outside Lands Isn’t Doing Enough for Sustainability

As I was writing my 5 Reasons to Ride Your Bike to Outside Lands for 2019, I was consistently surprised with the lack of official information about sustainable transit to and from the festival. OSL has done great things for sustainability over the years, but they have left sustainable transit behind. I’ve had trouble finding even basic information on micromobility and bicycles. With claims like this:

Over the next ten years, we’re going to be doing all that we can to make Outside Lands zero-waste, carbon-neutral, and generally as environmentally low-impact as possible.

Outside Lands needs to do better. Here’s what needs to be fixed.

Update: Now that OSL is over, let’s hope the organizers read this feedback and make the improvements for OSL 2020!

Order the Transportation Options by Most Sustainable First

Hey, Outside Lands. If you’re gonna be more sustainable, you have to order things to be most efficient to least efficient. That means instead of the current order: Local Shuttles, Uber, Muni, JUMP, Skip Scooters, the order should be like so:

  • Walk (lots of people live walking distance to GG Park)
  • Ride your own bicycle or JUMP
  • Skip Scooters (pedal assist means bicycles are more carbon neutral than scooters)
  • Muni
  • Local Shuttles
  • Uber (Uber must be paying them to not mention Lyft)

Where’s the Bicycle Valet?

Every year at Outside Lands there’s a bicycle valet in the same spot. It’s a great way to park your bicycle and not worry about it all day. There’s no mention of the bike valet ANYWHERE on their website. I had to find their extremely low resolution map and barely make out the words “Bike Valet” in the bottom corner to find it. Who else is gonna do this to figure it out?

I learned from the SF Bike Coalition that for events this large in San Francisco it’s required to have a bike valet, so potentially Outside Lands just “forgot to mention it” in lieu of their apparent deal with Uber.

JUMP Bikes are Apparently the Only Way to Bike to Outside Lands

Speaking of Uber, they own the JUMP bikeshare. And that is the only mention of bicycles you’ll see on their Travel + Transportation page. Oh, actually, they mention it last in the first paragraph of the page when discussing alternative methods of travel….after “rideshares.”

The section on JUMP bikes is essentially an ad written by the Uber staff, and they don’t give you any useful information other than “there will be bikes” that can “let you go further, get there faster, and have more fun.” Well at least the last part is true….of all bicycles 😉

If anyone was wondering, there’s no mention of Bay Wheels/Go Bike or any other non-sponsored bikeshare or scootershare options.

Update: When I biked down JFK, I found a Bay Wheels station with employees helping people out, but it was placed out of sight and way too far from the entrance (not sure how that happened). I also saw no “hub” or anything for the JUMP bikes even though they were the officially sanctioned bikeshare of Outside Lands. When I asked employees at the site about a JUMP hub, none of them had any idea what I was talking about and directed me to the bike valet.

I live in San Francisco – how should I get to Outside Lands?

This is one of the FAQ questions at the bottom of the Travel + Transportation page. Their answer to this question is: Muni. Now Muni is a great way to get to the festival (if the buses aren’t over-crowded), but this is unacceptable to put as the one and only answer to this question. Seriously, you can Walk, Bike, Muni, take a local shuttle they write about on the same page, and ridehail. What kind of terrible answer is this?

The rest of the answer links to the general Muni page, and has another web address (that is not properly hyperlinked), that FINALLY has some real information about increased bus service and that there will be bike valet and extra bikeshare parking. They even mention an “Active Transportation Hub” and link back to the OSL website for more information, of which unfortunately there is none.

Where’s the Group Bike Ride?

Update: There will be no group ride. I heard from Morgan that the group ride is officially not happening. He mistakenly mentioned it in the interview before they had finalized that decision. I do wish they would mention that update on the website though.

On the post at the bottom of the news page, you find a post title Inside Eco Lands with Morgan Fitzgibbons. In it there’s some discussion about sustainability, but what frustrates me is when Morgan says they’re doing “a group bike ride to and from the festival each day.” There’s no link, and there’s no other information about that at all. Where’s the group ride?

Outside Lands, Do Better

Hopefully someone sees this and makes some of these fixes to make alternative transportation a thing people will actually do, and not just some fluffy thing the organizers talk about while giving people easy ridehail instructions.

Please share this and tell OSL you care about better sustainable transit going to and from Outside Lands. While you’re at it you may be interested my post about why & how to ride your bike to Outside Lands.

Enjoy the music and that beautiful bike ride 🙂

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