A feasibility study on establishing a bike sharing system in Detroit is now under way, and Wayne State University and other backers are asking the public to weigh in on where to locate rental kiosks.
Wayne State and a group of businesses and nonprofit groups — including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan — began talking about a bike sharing program in Detroit last year as a way to complement limited transportation options. The program would let users rent a bicycle for one-way use between a network of kiosks, where they are locked, through use of a credit or debit card.
Bike sharing programs are popular across Europe but have more recently gained footing in U.S. cities including Minneapolis, Denver and Washington D.C., with a new system launching in New York City in May.
The push for bike sharing in Detroit has closely tracked the M-1 Rail project, which last week won $25 million in federal funding to begin construction of a streetcar line up a portion of Woodward Avenue. Supporters see bike sharing as a way to expand transportation options for up-and-coming neighborhoods in and around downtown Detroit.
The study team said it has hired Alta Planning + Design, a Portland, Ore.-based multimodal transportation firm, and Detroit-based livingLAB to conduct the feasibility study and study possible operational and funding models. Backers announced last fall that they’d raised $45,000 to hire a consultant.
The study will include the neighborhoods of downtown, Corktown, Eastern Market, Lafayette Park, Mexicantown, Midtown, New Center, North End and Woodbridge. The public can suggest station locations using an interactive map at detroitbicycleshare.com, or by visiting the D:Hive Welcome Center at 1253 Woodward Ave. or the Detroit Public Library Main Branch or Elmwood (550 Chene) or Bowen branches (3648 W. Vernor).
In addition to Wayne State and Blue Cross, partners on the study include Compuware, the Detroit Medical Center, the Downtown Detroit Partnership, DTE Energy, Eastern Market Corp., Health Alliance Plan, Henry Ford Health System, Quicken Loans and Ilitch Holdings.
Photo by TransportMichigan.org