Raleigh could launch bike-share program in 2017
Posted March 17, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh officials are looking to launch a bike-share program by 2017, joining Charlotte, Washington D.C. and other major cities in a growing effort to become more bicycle friendly.
The program would start with 300 GPS-monitored bikes stationed around the city, including downtown, along Hillsborough Street and near the North Carolina Museum of Art.
The annual rental fee for the city-owned bikes would be $80. College students would pay $50.
"Bike share presents a unique way to improve our transportation system," said Raleigh Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator Jennifer Baldwin. "It allows residents to have an option for the short 1 to 2 mile trips."
The program would allow downtown workers, tourists and students to run errands, head out to lunch, or tour the city without worrying about parking, city officials said.
Residents say they like the idea.
"I would definitely take advantage of [that]," said Jahnavi Yetukuri. "It would be really cool so I wouldn't have to walk everywhere."
Some believe the program would help alleviate the stresses of parking downtown.
"I guess it would reduce the parallel parking, and driving around here is kind of difficult sometimes," said Rohan Prabhu. "I think we need it."
A federal grant would cover the program’s $2 million dollar startup cost, but city officials said it would take about $450,000 per year to keep the program running.
Baldwin believes the benefits are worth the cost.
"We don't want everybody to have to get in their car to get around," she said. "Any trip that's converted to bike is saving on greenhouse emissions and it's a healthier way to commute."
City officials will consider putting the program into the city’s 2015-16 budget.