Bike-sharing comes to Minneapolis

  • Article by: BOB VON STERNBERG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 9, 2009 - 11:16 PM
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A vendor from Canada visited Minneapolis in November to demonstrate a bike-sharing kiosk system.

Photo: Jim Foti, Star Tribune

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The University of Minnesota and Minneapolis plan to unveil an ambitious bicycle-sharing program Tuesday, a program that will put 1,000 bikes on the street.

Officials also will show off the university's soon-the to-be-opened bike center in the Oak Street Parking Ramp,

The bikes and the new center are part of $4 million-plus worth of biking and walking improvements by Bike Walk Twin Cities, a federally-funded initiative to increase biking and walking and reduce driving in Minneapolis and neighboring communities.

Transit for Livable Communities will announce a total of six Bike Walk Twin Cities projects, including grants to St. Paul and Edina. The transit group is the nonprofit organization designated by federal law to administer the money.

 The city's goal is to have 1,000 bikes at 75 self-service kiosks located around downtown, Uptown, and the university.  Members paying about $50 a year would be able to use the three-speed bikes for up to a half-hour at a time at no charge and drop them off wherever there's a kiosk; non-members could buy a one-day pass for about $5 by sticking a credit card into one of the solar-powered stations.

Memberships would be sold on the Internet, and that's also where users could see, in real time, whether a bike is available at a certain kiosk.

During a news conference, officials will demonstrate the bicycles' security system and what is called a "Radio Frequency ID" (RFID) technology. The RFID system, set to be implemented for the first time, "effectively solves the longstanding problem of bicycle commute trip validation," according to the university.

 

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