Detroit public bike share study seeks feedback

Toronto bike shareThe Detroit Public Bike Share study is well underway. Data gathering is underway, and as part of that, the consultants are asking where you might want to see bike share stations within the Greater Downtown Detroit area. Please visit their web site, and provide your feedback.

If you prefer, you may give your input at the following locations:

  • D:Hive Welcome Center (1253 Woodward)
  • Detroit Public Library – Main Branch lobby (5201 Woodward)
  • Detroit Public Library – Elmwood Branch (550 Chene)
  • Detroit Public Library – Bowen Branch (3648 W. Vernor)

The study has two components. First is to determine the feasibility of such a system. Will there be enough users based on the density of destinations, the bicycle infrastructure, and more. Bike shares work best in urban areas where the distances between destinations isn’t too far.

The second part of the study is to develop a business plan. That plan will estimate the costs of building and operating the system, makes suggestions as to who might run it, determine a cost structure and more. This information will be based on what other cities are successfully doing, but tweaked with the feedback we’ve given them.

For example, New York City is being paid to install their bike share system. That’s because selling advertising on the system generated significant funding in New York, unlike most other U.S. cities including Detroit. We’ll likely have to rely on federal transportation dollars to buy the system and rely on sponsorship and membership to keep it running.

One area we’ve highlighted from the start is equity. In order to rent a bike, one needs to put a deposit on it typically with a credit or debit card. We’ve asked for options on how those without these cards or who might not be able to afford the membership fee could use the system. Some systems had partnered with local banks and social service providers to solve these issues. Or, it may make more sense to simply increase bike ownership rather than adapt the system. The bottom line is increasing bicycle transportation access for the entire community and there is no one solution.

An often asked question is won’t the bikes get stolen. That was a concern early on. One vendor noted that they’ve only had one bike stolen nationwide. Basically, these bikes aren’t racing machines. They’re very unique looking. It would be much easier for someone to steal a privately owned bike rather than one of these.

For more updates, follow @DetBikeShare on Twitter.

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