The Ann Arbor City Council Thursday night approved a plan for a bike share program. It's a collaboration with the University of Michigan, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority and the Clean Energy Coalition.
The program will cost the city $125,000 for the first year and $25,000 the second year. The CEC has secured a $600,000 federal grant to help fund the project, and the University has also pledged $600,000.
The bike share program will include fourteen racks of bikes throughout the downtown area. Customers 18 and older can join the program as a daily, monthly or annual member. Total costs to customers is still being determined, but estimates shown to city council said daily passes will cost $5, weekly passes $20 and annual memberships $60.
The city is contracting with a company called B-cycle, which has bike share programs in other college towns like Boulder, Colo. and Madison, Wis. Cost estimates are based on costs to customers in those areas.
The machines will take credit cards or membership cards but not cash. Bike share stations will be located throughout the downtown area, including State Street, Main Street, Kerrytown, South University, the Ann Arbor District Library and Liberty Plaza.
City council members Sally Hart Peterson (D-2nd Ward) and Marcia Higgins (D-4th Ward) voted against the program. They expressed concerns about increased bike traffic.
But Eli Cooper with the city's transportation department says the program will promote alternative forms of transportation in Ann Arbor.
"The actual use will be the best advertisement for the system and will promote our ongoing philosophy which is to create an environment and a culture to support non-motorized transportation, meaning bicycling and walking," he said.
Cooper says safety will be emphasized to the users of the bike share system, and it will actually promote bike safety in Ann Arbor.
"We see this as adding to the safety of all bicycle users," he said. "We anticipate that the folks that will be using the bike share system will pay attention to the safety and rules of the road information that will be provided to them as they take the bikes out in our town."
The bike share stations are expected to be available from five a.m. to midnight, from April through November.
-Sarah Kerson, Michigan Radio Newsroom