January 15, 2009

Denver latest City to offer free public Bicycles, working to improve Bike Lanes & Bike Parking.

Photo: Denver Post.

We’ve posted on Bike-Sharing before (and we’re all for Car Sharing, too). But we’re psyched to hear (via our friends at Denver Green Festival) that it’s coming to such a big US city as Denver—for those of us who prioritize the environment, exercise, ease of parking, gas/maintenance/insurance saving$ and fresh air, a city without bike lanes, bike parking and…bikes…just ain’t livable.

From the Press Release:

Mayor Hickenlooper Joins with Civic, Business Partners to Announce Citywide Bicycle Sharing Program
Employee Program To Expand Citywide this Summer
DENVER – Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009 – Mayor John Hickenlooper and several community partners today announced plans for a citywide bike sharing program – Denver B-Cycle – that will make 500 bikes available to the public at 30 to 40 stations throughout the city beginning this summer. Denver will be one of the first cities nationwide to launch such a comprehensive, bike sharing program, which will be funded initially with a $1 million donation from the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee.
“The positive feedback we received from the bike sharing program during the 2008 Democratic National Convention was remarkable,” Hickenlooper said. “We are confident Denver B-cycle will prove equally popular while improving our fitness levels and our environment. Our 358 miles of bike routes and trails combined with our 300 days of sunshine make Denver the perfect city in which to launch this citywide bike sharing system.”  
At today’s announcement, the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee presented a $1 million check to Denver Bike Sharing, the nonprofit that will manage the citywide bike-sharing program. Elbra Wedgeworth, president of the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee: “It’s an honor to help create such a meaningful legacy that will benefit the residents of Denver for many years to come.”
The B-Cycle Citywide Bike Sharing Program will focus initially on the downtown Denver business district, University of Denver campus and adjacent neighborhoods. The bike stations will be situated in a 3- to 4-mile radius of downtown Denver and integrated with the existing multi-modal transit system, including the 16th Street Mall, Denver’s Union Station, Market Street Station and FasTracks. 
Also today, Mayor Hickenlooper launched the Denver B-Cycle City Employee Bike Loaner Program, which will serve as a pilot program to the citywide bike sharing system.  The employee project allows City employees to check out bicycles at the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Building for business or recreational use.  The Denver B-cycle bike loaner pilot program provides an alternative transportation system that enables City employees to lead by example, supporting the goals of Greenprint Denver, the Living Streets Initiative and Denver’s Strategic Transportation Plan. Denver B-Cycle will establish an efficient, diverse and accessible transportation system that reduces traffic congestion, saves energy, improves air quality and encourages healthy routines.
Humana Inc. donated 30 bikes to the City as a legacy from the highly successful 2008 Democratic National Convention bicycle share program, as well as bike stations and wireless access cards. Any City and County of Denver employee can view an online safety training presentation, sign a user agreement, and then check out a bike. Bikes must be returned to the same location by 10 a.m. the following business day. 
Bicycle Village will provide bike maintenance services at no charge during the City Employee Bike Loaner Pilot Program. 
Denver continues to make great strides in improving infrastructure for safe cycling.  As the City implements the innovative Strategic Transportation Plan it completed last October, bike sharing will be integrated into the larger multi-modal transportation system, including buses and light rail, making Denver one of the most accessible downtown areas of any city in the U.S.  
As part of the bicycling infrastructure improvements, the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District announced it has approved $50,000 for bicycle parking projects in the downtown area. This will include the installation of 75 to 100 racks, as well as matching funds for property owners that improve the bicycle parking facilities for their respective properties.
“We are excited to see the legacy of the bike sharing program that was so successful during the 2008 Democratic National Convention,” said Tamara Door, president & CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. “As part of the 2007 Downtown Area Plan, we are committed to developing and improving downtown bicycle parking. This is an important step toward making Denver one of the top bicycle cities in the country.”

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