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Next summer, Columbus will see the launch of its first bike share network with over 300 bikes parked at 30 locations in Downtown and nearby neighborhoods. Users of the system will be able to visit any of the stations, borrow a bike to ride and return it to any of the stations.

“BikeShare is a low-cost, 24-hour transit system,” said Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman. “We’ve taken big steps toward making Columbus one of the best biking cities in the nation, and I’m excited to add bike sharing to the mix.”

Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share has been selected to bring the system to Columbus in June 2013. The system will utilize an automated swipe card system that will feature single-day uses, three-day passes and yearly memberships. The cards can be purchased at stations or online.

“This program is a fabulous addition for Downtown, and I have no doubt we will see a significant increase in bicycle traffic,” said Cleve Ricksecker, executive director of the Capital Crossroads and the Discovery Special Improvement Districts. “Columbus BikeShare will be a big amenity not only for visitors to Columbus, but for Downtown employees and residents. “

The 300 bikes that will be a part of the system are three-speed models designed for users over the age of 18. Bikes feature safety lights, a basket for hauling goods, and components to prevent theft. A maintenance team will repair broken bikes and redistribute them to stations throughout the city.

Alta Bicycle Share operates similar systems in Boston, Washington DC and Melbourne, with new systems also rolling out this coming spring in New York City and Portland.

Pricing structures have not yet been announced in Columbus, but the existing systems in Boston and DC charge $5-$7 per day, $12-$15 for a three-day pass, or $75-$85 for annual memberships. Once a pass has been purchased, the costs are then broken down based on time ridden. Any trip under 30 minutes from station to station is free, followed by charges broken down by half-hourly increments.

Columbus City Council is expected to approve legislation on Monday authorizing a one time expenditure of $2.2 million to purchase the bikes, stations and other equipment that will be operated by Alta.

Station locations will be decided this fall through resident and business input, while initial station locations will be centered near Downtown area attractions and employment centers. A map of proposed approximate locations can be found below.

To read more about the concept of bike share systems, click here: Big Ideas: Trending Cycles.

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Downtown is gaining approximately 325 new bike parking spaces Downtown as the installation of six bike shelters, bike lockers, indoor bike parking rooms and 70 bike racks is completed. The project was made possible through a federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant awarded to the city of Columbus through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The project is being executed through a partnership between the City of Columbus and Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District.

“Federal recovery funding has helped our city emerge from the recession and is now assisting our efforts to become one of the best bike cities in the nation,” said Mayor Michael B. Coleman. “These bike shelters and other bike parking encourage more people to ride bikes and make us a greener and healthier city.”

The six new bike shelters are located on the sidewalks near the following intersections:

  • East Long Street and North Front Street
  • North High Street and Hickory Street
  • East Broad Street and North 3rd Street
  • East Broad Street and 4th Street
  • South High Street and East State Street
  • West Mound Street and South Front Street

Each shelter can park 18 bikes covered by a “green roof” topped with drought-tolerant plants that absorb rainwater. The indoor bike rooms are located at the City of Columbus and Franklin County offices. Additional bike racks have been placed strategically throughout all of Downtown. The city of Columbus provided Capital Crossroads with $490,000 to manage the installation of the entire project.

“The bicycle facilities give downtown employees another amenity. We anticipate a large increase in bicycle commuting over the next several years,” said Cleve Ricksecker, Executive Director of Capital Crossroads. “Downtown’s central location and street grid allow it accommodate employers who want to give their employees travel options.”

More information about the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District can be found online at DowntownColumbus.com.

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MORPC recently released their Bike Users Map for 2010, which only contains a few updates from last year. It provides an overlay of our road system that shows which roads are safer than others for bike commuters and provides a map of trails and bike paths as well.

You can view it here: http://www.morpc.org/bikemaps

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This past week I conducted an audio podcast interview with Jeff Stephens, the Executive Director of Consider Biking. Jeff provides us with some insight on the local biking community as well as updates on the Bicentennial Bikeways Plan, the Share the Road Campaign, and other bike-related initiatives.

The format is fairly casual and conversation, so listening in should feel just like you were sitting down with Jeff for a cup of coffee and some biking discussion.

Click here to download an mp3 of the podcast, click here to subscribe via iTunes, or click here to subscribe to the rss feed.

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From ConsiderBiking.org:

3-Foot Passing Bill Introduced
By Jeff Stephens

Ohio is on its way to to joining 15 other states that have a three-foot passing law. Senator Teresa Fedor of Toledo introduced Ohio Senate Bill 174 on Monday, September 28.  It looks like we’ve found a much-needed champion for cycling-specific causes in the Statehouse. Hurray!

[Read More]

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A group of Short North Businesses including Tigertree, Sandbox, and Paradise Garage jointly announced today that they’re launching the first ever bikeshare program for Columbus: EveryoneBikes. Ten brand new Africa Bikes will be available as of 5pm today for riders to borrow for errands, tours, exercise and other types of short trips around the city.

Their goal is to soon have fifty bikes available throughout Downtown, the Arena District, and the Short North neighborhoods. The bikes will be on display in front of Tigertree during tomorrow’s Gallery Hop.

The group chose to stock their fleet with Africa Bikes not only because of their ease of use, but also due to their ethical business practices. “For every two bikes sold, one bike is provided to an aide worker in Africa which allows to make a difference not only here Central Ohio, but also around the world.” says David Hunegnaw of Sandbox.

EveryoneBikes also aims to help further the “green” transformation taking place in Columbus by providing an alternative transportation alternative for locals. “This innovative approach to Bikeshare will give residents and visitors an option to use a carbon-neutral mode of transportation to navigate our city” says Josh Quinn, owner of Tigertree.

More information can be found online at EveryoneBikes.org.

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The 2009 edition of Bike to Work Week kicks off in Columbus in just two more weeks. This year’s event lineup has expanded to cover the whole month of May.

“Bike to Work Week is a chance for people all over Central Ohio to get the bikes out of their garages and cycle in to work, perhaps for the first time,” says B2WW organizer Austin Kocher. “We also have workshops and activities scheduled throughout May to give all cyclists a taste of the city’s diverse and vibrant bicycle community.”

The main event of Bike to Work Week is the “Challenge” which pits teams of local cyclists against each other to see who can compete for the most trips taken by bike over the course of 11 days. Teams are backed by local businesses and are scored with a ratio based on number of employees at each company. The winners will be announced at a luncheon event on May 15th.

As of this evening, 38 teams have registered with a total of 478 participants on board. Anyone can view the list of teams, or sign up to join/create a team here.

Another way that local businesses are getting involved is by designating themselves as “Bicycle Friendly Businesses” during the month of May. “Bicycles are good for business because they ease parking and traffic problems and create safer, friendly streets,” says Restaurateur and Organizer Elizabeth Lessner, who will be offering “2-wheel discounts” to cyclists wearing helmets into her restaurants during the challenge.

More information about Bike to Work Week can be found online at B2WW.org.

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B2WW dates and website

Bike 2 Work Week Logo

http://b2ww.org is open for registration. Bike 2 Work Week was new in 2008. This year is bigger and better, with events throughout the entire month of May. The Commuter Challenge is expanded to 2 weeks this year, from May 4th – 15th.

Signing up is easy. Just log in and create a team for your business, organization, or school.

Why bike to work? If you make just one trip to work by bicycle during May, you are likely to understand and embrace the benefits of bicycling for transportation. Cycling has a positive impact on your health, the environment, your bottom line, and your sense of well-being. Just do it!

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Thanks in part to the massive feedback and suggestions submitted right here on Columbus Underground, the City of Columbus has managed to install 62 new bike racks in 24 locations around the city between July 24th and October 2nd.

New locations include The South Campus Gateway, The Columbus Athletic Club, Studio 35, Café Corner, Café Apropos, The Surly Girl Saloon, Bodega, Claddah Irish Pub, Cornerstone Coffee, The One Columbus Building, Katzinger’s Delicatessen, The Short North White Castle, B1 Bike Shop, Metro Gym, Voluneers of America, Barcelona, The Columbus Museum of Art, Four Points Real Estate, Town Street Properties, Urban Spirits Café, The COTA stop at Henderson & High, the corner of 9th and Indianola Avenues, Zettler Hardware, and at the corner of Cherry & Lazelle.

There are also 11 more racks pending at locations near Café Bourbon Street, The Chamber of Commerce, Café Brioso, and The Convention Center.

More suggestions are still needed though, as the City continues this program into 2009. In order to make the process as smooth as possible, some additional information is being requested with suggestions:

1. Business name and exact street address
2. Property owner and/or biz managers name and contact info

The city can install in the Right of Way in front of businesses and sometimes dense housing (such as large apartment or condo buildings)… but helping commercial areas thrive is their top priority for the time being.

You can post your suggestions directly here on Columbus Underground, or use 311 via phone or web to file a request. Thanks for all of the great suggestions! Keep them coming!

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Video footage from the 2PM Category Races. The professional races start at 5PM. Come check them out! LongStreetTour.com

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