On Tuesday, Phoenix moved one step closer to its bike share program launch. At NACTO’s Designing Cities Conference held in Phoenix, Mayor Greg Stanton unveiled the bright green “GR:D” (or “Grid”) bikes and stations to the packed audience of local officials, transportation planners, and advocates.

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Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Bike Coordinator Joseph Perez with the first GR:D bike.

The city will welcome a few pilot stations in mid-December and approximately 50 stations and 500 bikes in Downtown Phoenix in the first quarter of 2014. An additional 50 bikes and 500 stations are expected to be deployed in Mesa and Tempe in the spring of 2014.

​The brand new Grid Bikes are the third generation model of the Social Bicycles (SoBi) bike. Compared to popular systems in Washington, D.C., New York, Denver, and elsewhere, the SoBi bike technology is predicated on reducing equipment costs by moving the kiosk functionality from the stations to the bikes. Standard smart-dock systems can cost upwards of $5,000 per bike, while SoBi’s smart-bike technology costs approximately $1,500 per bike.

“Bike share is going to work well here because people love riding bikes in Phoenix. The weather is fantastic year round. Even in the summer time it’s not that hot–a lot of people ride year-round and everyone should join us,” said Phoenix Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator Joseph Perez.

Created by Eeko Studio, a Phoenix-based design firm, the GR:D logo is a play on the Phoenix area’s grid street structure coupled with a smiley face emoticon–”:D”–”…capturing the positive spirit of how it feels to ride a Grid bike,” according to CycleHop CEO Josh Squire.

Featured picture above: (From left to right) Social Bicycles CEO Ryan Rzepecki, GR:D Bikes General Manager John Romero, Phoenix Bike/Ped Coordinator Joseph Perez, and Social Bicycles Product Manager Justin Wiley ride the first GR:D bikes near Phoenix City Hall.