Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bike-Sharing May Come to Ann Arbor





Annarbor.com reported on Monday February 4th that as early as fall of 2013 Ann Arbor may have a bike sharing program in place. Clean Energy Coalition, the developers of the bike sharing program, will partner with the city of Ann Arbor, Downtown Development Authority, University of Michigan, and Ann Arbor Transportation Authority to put this program into action.

The Bike-Share Program

The bike-share is different than renting a bike. In and around downtown Ann Arbor, kiosks and bike racks filled with bikes will be placed so that anyone with a credit card can pay at the kiosk to use a bike. When the person is done using the bike, he or she can drop it off at any of the participating bike racks.

This program will make Ann Arbor the 10th city in the United States to have a bike share program. Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, Washington D.C., Miami, Boulder, Madison, New York, and Portland already participate in a bike-share program.

Goals of the Program

The program is meant to
  • Ease car traffic in the downtown area.
  • Offer students an alternative way to travel around and off campus.
  • Offer residents an alternative way to commute to work.
  • Act as a supplement to the bus for bus commuters whose destinations are not close to bus stops.

Overall, the bike-share should make downtown commuting easier for everyone.

The Benefits

Bikes Belong is a U.S. bicycle industry sponsored organization. Their goal is to simply put more people on bikes. According to their website, www.bikesbelong.org, bike-share programs offer many more benefits.

“It delivers all the benefits of bicycling: by replacing car trips, it helps the environment, road congestion, the economy, parking, mobility, and traffic safety. In addition, bike sharing has unique advantages. It is more convenient and affordable than bike ownership for many residents; it helps overcome barriers to using a bike in a city, such as theft and storage; it generates revenue for municipalities and private companies; it creates new jobs; it motivates cities to improve bike infrastructure; it both connects to and relieves pressure on transit; it provides branding for a city; and it introduces new audiences to bicycling.
The site also reported statistics to back up their claims. 43% of Denver bike-share users replaced their cars for bikes. Further benefits may include a stronger, healthier Ann Arbor community.

What do you think of the bike-share program? Will it ease downtown traffic? For bike businesses owners, what type of impact will this have on your business?

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