MINNEAPOLIS - If growth is a measure of success, Nice Ride Minnesota is pedaling full speed ahead.
The innovative loan-a-bike program announced a 30-site expansion Monday, with most of the new locations spread out across St. Paul.
With the addition of expansion sites, Nice Ride Minnesota boasts 146 stations offering 1,328 green bicycles in the fleet. Nice Ride is assembling the new stations now and expects to have them up and running by Bike Walk Week, which is June 2 -10.
Nice Ride is also distributing more than 10,000 bike helmets at events throughout the summer with help from Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Minnesota.
Like previous expansions, the 2012 expansion will also be funded through public-private partnership dollars:
- The National Park Service (NPS) will invest $480,000 this year as part of a pilot project to increase multi-modal transportation connections to the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. This 72-mile national park includes both Saint Paul and Minneapolis riverfronts. The NPS plans to fund additional stations along the river in 2013.
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, title sponsor of Nice Ride since the bike share program's inception, will invest $300,000. Blue Cross continues to dedicate proceeds from its historic tobacco litigation settlement to improve the health of our communities and combat the harms of obesity by offering more opportunities for people to be physically active.
- The Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, a group of private funders working to unlock the transformative potential of the new light rail transit line along the Central Corridor between Saint Paul and Minneapolis, will contribute $100,000 for stations near future light rail stops.
- The Minnesota Department of Transportation is investing $100,000 for stations near the Minnesota Capitol and state employees' workplaces. The use of these stations will reduce costs when employees take short trips between state office buildings. Supporting Nice Ride also contributes to MnDOT's vision of creating a safe, efficient and sustainable transportation system in Minnesota.
Nice Ride was founded for the purpose of making it easy to use a bike for short trips in the city, where more than 40 percent of daily trips are less than three miles. Almost 350,000 trips have been taken on the bikes since the system started in June 2010.
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