Nashville beginning bike sharing program
Posted: Monday, July 5, 2010 8:01 pm
NASHVILLE (AP) — Nashville is beginning a bicycle sharing program, joining a growing list of cities with such a service.
It will start using a fleet of 30 bikes in two locations with plans to expand to thousands of bikes citywide by next spring.
“We don’t really have a biking culture in this city,” said Toks Omishakin, whose job is to turn the city into a bicycle-friendly, pedestrian-friendly mecca. “But change is happening. If you build it, they will come.”
Nashville has built two pilot bike stations where any Davidson County resident can take one of the city’s new bright yellow and blue one-speed bikes out for a spin.
An attendant will take down the cyclists’ driver’s license information and provide them with a helmet if they don’t have one. They get a map of the city’s bike paths, bike lanes and suggested cycling routes and leave with the understanding that they will return the bike.
According to The Tennessean newspaper, bike share programs are popular in Europe and in a growing number of American cities including Washington, D.C., Denver, Minneapolis and Portland, Ore. Boston, Chicago and San Antonio are in the process of launching pilot programs of their own.
The city is using $300,000 out of a multi-million dollar grant from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department to begin the program.
Local bike enthusiasts are watching the plans with interest.
“I think there are enough cool, hip people in Nashville that this could work,” said Adam DeGardeyn, who services bikes at the West End Bike Pedlar shop. Several times a week, he said, people come into the shop asking whether Bike Pedlar offers bikes for rent. It doesn’t.
The city is searching for a company that will run the program, which would include a series of automated solar-powered bike racks around town that participants could access with a swipe of a card once they registered for the program. Only a handful of companies in the country offer that kind of bike share technology, Omishakin said.
City officials hope to keep it free or as inexpensive as possible.
“This is very much about the people of the community and the neighborhoods in Nashville,” Omishakin said.
Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com
Published in The Messenger 7.5.10