Raleigh riders want shared wheels on shared roads
Posted April 2
Updated April 3
Raleigh, N.C. — The City of Raleigh is considering the benefits of a bicycle-sharing program, an idea that avid riders say is a great way to improve fitness and help the environment.
"I think it's a great idea," said Chris Ragland, who rides for work. He is a deliveryman for Jimmy John's in downtown Raleigh.
"I've seen it work in other cities that are little bit bigger, but Raleigh is growing," he said.
The program being considered by City Council would site bikes at shared locations around the city and allow residents to borrow and return them.
"The idea is to convert some of these really short trips that are a little prohibitive for walking into these bike trips," said Eric Lamb, manager of the city's Office of Transportation Planning.
City planners cited improved public fitness, foot traffic to local businesses and improved access to existing transit systems among the potential boons of a bike share.
"It will boost the economy, people will want to visit here, come downtown, rent a bike, ride around a little while," Ragland said.
He also noted benefits of bike share even for those who choose to drive.
"I think that motorists have a vested interest in it because it creates more parking spaces (and) reduces pollution," he said.
Lamb said the payoff would be worth the cost of implementation and maintenance, especially in an area with a growing population.
"The roads are for everybody," he said. "They're for cars, they're for bikes, they're for buses, they’re for pedestrians. What we do is seek a level playing field for all those modes and make sure they work harmoniously and seamlessly together."
Residents can chime in online, at www.bikeraleigh.org/bikeshare, in person at a forum April 10 at 6 p.m. in Cobblestone Hall, 215 Wolfe St. in City Market, or by calling the Office of Transportation Planning at 919-996-2155.