Bike sharing plan to go before GR commission

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids could soon switch gears to offer residents more transportation options. City commissioners will soon take up a proposal for a bike sharing program.

Essentially, the program would put racks stocked with rental bikes around the city, starting downtown.>>PDF: Bike sharing program

Mobile GR says 75 cities in the U.S. already have similar programs to give residents more options to get around.

“There’s a lot of development happening, we’re getting denser in our neighborhoods. There’s a lot of demographic shift, people really looking for options and it’s a cost-effective way to get around on a bike,” City of Grand Rapids Transportation Planning/Programs Supervisor Kristin Bennett said.

Mobile GR envisions rows and rows of bikes for people to rent in the downtown area.

“Our concept is you come downtown or maybe you go to a neighborhood district, park once and be able to circulate around that area during the day using whether it’s the free Dash (bus) service, or the Silver Line (bus service), or you take a bike share if we get there, or you walk. Whatever the service is, that you have multiple options to choose from that are realistic and affordable,” Bennett said.

The bike sharing stations would be installed in phases in an area of about 4.5 square miles. In the first phase, there would be roughly 450 bikes at 45 stations. In five years, the program would grow to 800 bikes and 100 stations.

The first ride would likely cost $3 three an hour. $20 would get you an unlimited ride share monthly pass.

The program would cost about $3 million over the course of five years. It would be funded with a combination of grants, the people who use the service, and sponsorship and advertising dollars.>>PDF: Project memo to the city commission

City residents who talked to 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday said they thought the program seemed like a good idea.

“It’d mobilize people and get us all moving around more and it’s just more convenient and we’re a big enough city to be able to do it,” resident Cedric Steed said.

“I think it’ll be very useful. I think a lot of people down here would use it,” Grand Rapids resident Jermaine Herring said.

“It’d be less parking tickets, right,” Grand Rapids resident Magdaleana Herring said.

“I think it’s good I mean always go green, recycle more, walk more, be outside,” Grand Rapids resident Eric Zuniga said.

Mobile GR will brief the city commission on the program next month. Commissioners would likely make a decision on the proposal this spring.

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