In another step toward boosting the bicycling movement, the Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) announced this week it has partnered with the City of Detroit’s Department of Transportation and the Henry Ford Health System/Health Alliance Plan to bring a bike-share program to the city in 2016. Henry Ford/HAP pledged a three-year funding commitment to get the program going and pay for operating costs. DDOT and DDP are going after federal grant money to purchase equipment and will work together to select a system operator.
“The overall level of interest and support in bringing bike-share to Detroit has been incredibly encouraging, and we’re looking forward to exploring how we can use this new transportation option to connect Detroiters to economic opportunity and increase the number of choices people have to get around,” Lisa Nuszkowski, executive director of Detroit Bike Share at DDP, said in a press release.
For now, about 350 bikes at 35 stations are slated to roll out in the project’s first phase. Detroit has bike lanes spanning over 170 miles. (The city has a smaller population than, but is similar in land size to, Philadelphia, which launched its bike-share last year and has 60 stations and about 600 bikes.)
“DDOT is very excited to partner with DDP to bring this new bike-share program to the city,” said Dan Dirks, director of DDOT. “This program will expand commuting options for Detroiters and will allow residents and visitors alike to explore Detroit.”
Push for bike-share gained momentum a couple years ago when the Office of Economic Development at Wayne State University conducted a feasibility study. That report cited likely success for a system thanks to multiple reasons, including Detroit’s dense core, a potential for bike-share to be a first mile/last mile solution and “numerous opportunities for the program to tie in with existing organizations, programs, and funding sources to serve low income and other traditionally underserved populations.”
Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.