An effort to explore setting up a bike sharing program in Detroit is shifting to a higher gear -- and those involved in the effort are looking for public input on what it could look like in the Motor City.
Bike share services allow people who don't own bikes to borrow or rent them usually for short one-way trips from one location to another. The bikes are typically returned to special kiosks. Rentals can vary from daily checkouts to weekly or yearly memberships. Around 30 U.S. cities now have or are implementing one of these systems.
Wayne State and other partner groups and businesses are now conducting a feasibility study for setting up a program in the greater downtown Detroit area.
The study's backers are also seeking public input about where residents, employees, students and visitors want to see bike sharing happen. This week they launched a website, detroitbicycleshare.com, where those interested in providing feedback can make recommendations using an interactive map. Information, maps and comment cards are also being made available at the D:Hive Welcome Center on 1253 Woodward Ave. and the Main, Elmwood and Bowen branches of the Detroit Public library.
The neighborhoods of Corktown, Downtown, Eastern Market, Lafayette Park, Mexicantown, Midtown, New Center, North End and Woodbridge are also being considered by the study.
A Detroit bike-sharing program could mesh well with the M-1 Rail project, a 3.3 mile street car line expected to run from downtown to the city's New Center district that was recently awarded a $25 million federal TIGER grant.
Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance Detroit Coordinator Todd Scott said in an article on M-bike.org that "such a system would complement the Woodward light rail investment by expanding its reach into the surrounding neighborhoods."
Partners in the study include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Cobo Center, College for Creative Studies, Compuware, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Detroit Medical Center, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Detroit Wayne Joint Building Authority, Downtown Detroit Partnership, DTE Energy, Eastern Market Corporation, Health Alliance Plan, Henry Ford Health System, Illitch Holdings, Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, Midtown Detroit Inc., Next Energy, Quicken Loans, Tech Town, Wayne State University and Wheelhouse Detroit.