Nice Ride bike share funds new North Side expansion
Nice Ride Minnesota, the Minneapolis bike share program, got dinged over the summer for leaving the North Side off its launch grid. But our bike-friendliest city in the country now says it's ready to expand the bike share program northward, thanks to $228,500 in federal stimulus money and matching grants.
Nice Ride will wheel north
Most of the money, about $200,000 in Department of Health funds, will go toward buying all the equipment needed -- bikes and kiosks -- to open at least six rental stations on the North Side in April, program director Bill Dossett told us today. The remaining dollars are tagged for strategic planning.
It wasn't just the North Side that was left out of the program when it launched in June -- there were also no rental kiosks pretty much anywhere south of Lake Street. And Dossett has said all along that the northern and southern neighborhoods were scheduled for subsequent phase-ins. But he said today that pressure from North Siders played a role in getting Nice Ride to make their neighborhoods the priority when it came to immediate expansion.
Next up: Plans for the South Side -- and everywhere else.
"I'd love to double the size of the program" right away he said. But before that happens, Nice Ride has to step through a grant application process requiring it to determine where the bike share program will get the most use.
The first step toward that goal will happen on Sept. 15 at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Community Outreach/Engagement Center on Plymouth Avenue North. Nice Ride is hosting a community-based discussion in which it expects to hear from residents all over the city about where and when the big green bikes will be showing up next.