On the heels of the ongoing M1-RAIL project that is reintroducing light rail service to he city’s downtown area, Detroit will now receive more than $1 million toward the opening of a public bike share program, one of 14 projects tapped to get federal funding in the region, according to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.
“While these are 14 independent projects, they’re part of connecting our region through a system of trails and bike paths. These are quality-of-life projects that impact us all,” Kathleen Lomako, SEMCOG’s executive director, said in a news release.
The projects represent more than $6.4 million in Transportation Alternatives Program funding for 2016 through the Federal Highway Administration. The public bike share program could open as early as spring 2016.
Lisa Nuszkowski, executive director of Detroit Bike Share for the Downtown Detroit Partnership, indicated that the program will likely begin with 350 bicycles at 35 stations around the greater downtown area. System details will not be finalized until after a vendor is selected, but daily and annual passes will likely be part of the arrangement.
The bike-share system is expected to engage the idea of short-distance trips, keeping more bikes in circulation with stations near transit stops. A low threshold for ridership would likewsise encourage people who do not normally ride bikes to give it a try, Nuszkowski said.
“I kind of view it as the gateway drug for biking and healthier living in general,” Nuszkowski, who been working to develop the program for the last several years, said.