Community leaders gathered at Second Street Public Market today to announce the required $1 million in capital funding has been secured to launch a bike share program in Greater Downtown Dayton in 2015. Earlier this month, Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC) approved 2014 funding from the Federal Highway Administration Surface Transportation Program to cover capital costs for 22 bike share stations. Mayor Nan Whaley announced that the City of Dayton has committed to providing $250,000 which includes a needed local match to secure the capital funds and partial operating support to launch the program.
Dayton’s bike share, which will launch in spring 2015, will feature 22 strategically located stations, all within an approximate two mile radius of downtown Dayton. Each station will contain six to ten bikes, totaling more than 200 bikes. Stations will be placed within 1/4 mile of one another so it users will not have to walk more than 5 minutes to find an available bike. All bikes are securely locked, require a membership or credit card to access and will allow for GPS tracking. Customers – who range from one-day users to annual subscribers – are able to take unlimited trips on the bikes. Trips may be up to 30-45 minutes in length and may go to any other station or back to the original location.
Brian Martin, Executive Director of MVRPC shared, “The role of alternative transportation modes—such as bike share—in enriching their communities is extremely important, and our own bike share program will enable Dayton to keep pace with similar cities who already enjoy the benefits of bike share.”
The Downtown Dayton Partnership has seen evidence that that bike share programs bolster urban vibrancy, are a major factor in downtown livability, and maximize the connectivity of existing public transit infrastructure. Dr. Michael Ervin, DDP Co-Chair said, “Advancing Dayton’s cycling culture is an important strategy in the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan.” But it’s not just the Downtown Dayton Partnership who want to see this happen. Ervin continues, “Organizational partnerships have been crucial to the establishment of a viable strategy for Dayton’s bike share program, and they are a testament to the community’s enthusiasm for this initiative.”
The organizations that have stepped up to implement the bike share program include Greater Dayton RTA, Bike Miami Valley and MVRPC. Bike Miami Valley be securing staff over the next year to oversee customer management, sponsorship outreach, customer memberships, organizational partnerships, and marketing and promotions with plans to hire an Executive Director in late summer or early fall. Once the program is launched, RTA will maintain the bike share equipment and balance the distribution of bikes across the station network. MVRPC identified the capital funding source and will provide additional support, including office space for bike share staff. Combined, these partnerships will lower the annual bike share operational costs by more than $135,000 each year. Immediate next steps will be to issue an RFP (a required step since bike share will be run by a public agency) to select an equipment vendor and develop the program branding and name.
Mark Donaghy, Executive Director of Greater Dayton RTA sees bike share as a “last mile connector” and a long-anticipated asset in better serving RTA patrons and promoting bus ridership. Users can ride the bus into downtown and pick up a bike to get to their exact destination with fewer transfers and more convenience; bike share adds to a system of transportation options within the downtown area. Donaghy says, “We look forward to seeing this important community asset grow.”
Andy Williamson, with Bike Miami Valley shared, “Bike Miami Valley is excited that Dayton will join the collection of more than 25 cities across the U.S. with bike share transportation systems.”
Although bike share is growing in popularity across the nation, Dayton is the second city to announce that they’ve completed the process of securing the needed capital funds. An appropriate fit since Dayton was designated in 2010 as a bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists (with the goal to reach platinum level by 2020). Cincinnati is currently fundraising with hopes to launch Cincy Bike Share in the near future, and both Cleveland and University of Toledo are in research/planning modes with hopes to create their own bike share program.
But is Dayton ready? Scott Murphy with Bike Miami Valley says yes. Murphy explained, “We set out about a year and a half ago to study the feasibility of bike sharing in the Dayton region by benchmarking our community against others of similar size who have done bike sharing successfully. We looked at factors that correlate to actual bike share usage in other cities; things like population density, job density, where young people are clustered in our community. What we found surprised us; not only does Dayton measure-up to these communities, we actually outpace other bike share cities of similar size for key bike share design factors. The community is ready to do this.”
The idea is there, the plan is set, the money is confirmed: the reality of bike share roll out for Dayton in spring of 2015.