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Bike Sharing in Greenville

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From the Greenville News:

Greenville city and business leaders got advice Friday on how to achieve a bicycle-friendly community from an expert responsible for getting people to ride bikes in Portland, Ore.

Mia Birk, a Portland-based bicycle transportation expert, was in Greenville as part of the Palmetto Joyride Tour sponsored by the Palmetto Conservation Foundation and the Palmetto Cycling Coalition.

Birk, who also stopped in Charleston and Columbia, said a goal of the tour is to excite, motivate, and energize community leaders and residents about the power of bicycle transportation and to help them take steps to become more bicycle friendly.

Brian Graham, Greenville’s greenway and sustainability manager, said Birk’s visit wasn’t planned to coincide with a City Council vote later this month on a bike master plan, but he hopes the visit will help bolster support for it.

The city now has 13 miles of bike lanes. The bike master plan calls for more than 170 miles of bike lanes, neighborhood routes and greenways.

A downtown bike station, a bike sharing program, some car-free streets, safe routes to schools and the redesign of some commercial corridors are among additional recommendations.

Andrew Meeker, Greenville’s urban designer, said Oregon has had its bicycle community plan in place for more than 20 years.

“They didn’t invent a lot of the initiative that they worked on. They went to the Netherlands, Amsterdam and discovered how Europe had been doing it for decades, so it’s kind of this community collaboration that we’re hoping to have,” he said.

Birk, who was the city of Portland’s bike coordinator for six years and continues to work with its officials as a consultant, is president of Alta Planning, a company that is working with Greenville on the bike master plan.

It was Birk’s first visit to Greenville, but her company has a small office here. “I’ve been hearing and learning about Greenville, and Greenville has got it going on,” she said.

“Greenville has a huge reputation in my world, which is urban planning, urban design, livability and sustainability, for being one of the gems of the Southeast,” she said. “All the initiatives that have gone on so far are really making a difference.”

Birk cited the Swamp Rabbit Trail, leaders and residents who are “really enlightened,” and bike lanes that are already in place.

The city faces challenges similar to what other places face -- reformulating existing infrastructure and the time, cost, and resistance in improving streets, she said.

“I think, overall, Greenville has far more opportunities than the other ones do because you’ve got so much momentum, a population, a thriving economy, and clearly an awareness of the economic leaders that livability matters,” she said.

In Portland, once biking started to catch on and city government invested in a bikeway infrastructure, businesses sprang up, Birk said.

“More people opened up bike shops and bike touring companies, bike rental companies, manufacturing bikes, legal services, encouragement programs and all kinds of activities around biking that were entrepreneurs that set up small businesses.”

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^^I loved the quote from the expert: "Greenville has a huge reputation in my world..." :thumbsup: This is basically what we have all said for years, and a select few deny. Great to hear such comments from someone who is an expert in the field! :thumbsup:

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I would like to have gone, but did not know about it.

Agreed. There were a couple things going on the last couple of days I would have liked to know about! A friend of mine told me about that as he was on his way there, and he was already late...so no-go for me. The Indie Craft Fair at the Peace Center is happening too. Found out about that yesterday late afternoon...it's still happening today but I'm not sure if I can make it for long. I wish some of these events were advertised a little more!

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I was told Upstate Forever brought a proposal to fund a bike share program in downtown Greenville to some kind of regional committee meeting that needed to approve the federal money used in their grant last week. Supposedly County Council members Willis Meadows and Fred Payne blocked it. Has anyone heard about this?

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I was told Upstate Forever brought a proposal to fund a bike share program in downtown Greenville to some kind of regional committee meeting that needed to approve the federal money used in their grant last week. Supposedly County Council members Willis Meadows and Fred Payne blocked it. Has anyone heard about this?

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Companies, entities, and organizations that have sent letters to the City of Greenville in support of the bicycle master plan include Greenville Forward, Greenville Youth Commission, General Electric, Hubbell Lighting, Riverplace, Greenville Technical College, Greenville Hospital System, and Miracle Hill Ministries. Take a look at pages 8-15 of this document to read these letters of support: http://www.greenvillesc.gov/CouncilAgendas/minutes/2011/OCTOBER/Formal/10-10-2011/DraftMinutes.pdf

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I was told Upstate Forever brought a proposal to fund a bike share program in downtown Greenville to some kind of regional committee meeting that needed to approve the federal money used in their grant last week. Supposedly County Council members Willis Meadows and Fred Payne blocked it. Has anyone heard about this?

I found an interesting update on the B-Cycle bike-share stations from the Palmetto Cycling Coalition.

Bike Share Updates in SC Communities

Bike share systems are growing like wildfire, nationally and statewide. These are systems to allow bicycles to be shared to the public at large. They are a great solution for many SC communities working to improve their bikeability, transportation and recreation options, and overall quality of life.

(...)

Two other South Carolina communities are also embracing bike shares as ways to make their communities more bike friendly, accessible, and livable. Upstate Forever was successful in being granted Federal funds to begin implementing a bike share program in the City of Grenville. The University of South Carolina is also working to implement a bike share program on their campus, to also service areas within the City of Columbia. Both the USC and Greenville systems are expected to be complete in the fall of this year. Read more about these developments on our blog. ic_blog_16.png

I think bike share is pretty pretty much a lock in Greenville! Now if you could just convince B-Cycle to pain the bikes green...

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I found an interesting update on the B-Cycle bike-share stations from the Palmetto Cycling Coalition.

I think bike share is pretty pretty much a lock in Greenville! Now if you could just convince B-Cycle to pain the bikes green...

GREAT! I know you have to join the sharing program. Does anyone know how the system works? Is it a flat rate for a month or year, or is it setup per bike rental? I'm curious as to how this will affect the multiple bike rental options downtown.

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You can buy a 30-day or annual membership, but you can also just buy a 24-hour pass. In Spartanburg, the cost is $5-daily, $15-monthly, or $30-yearly. So obviously the longer membership is worth it, if you use the bikes frequently. Each pass includes 1 hour of use, with each additional 30 minutes being $1 extra. So, the bikes are intended to be used for relatively short trips. Check out the Spartanburg B-cycle website for a more thorough explanation of the system.

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Awesome! I've often wished there was a bike-share system to use in Greenville when I've visited. I hope they can collaborate with Spartanburg to have memberships work for both systems. They do that in Denver and Boulder. It would be very useful and increase the use of both systems, IMO.

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This certainly is good to see ... it's been a long time in the making, but it's good to see the effort that these folks have put into getting B-Cycle finally pay off. I can think of no other city (aside from Denver and Boulder) where the B-Cycle is a better fit...and that includes several cities that already have it.

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Now if we can only get the Swamp Rabbit connected around the country club...

The Swamp Rabbit runs right between the country club and G Tech...good luck convincing any of the residents there that it would be a good thing to have the trail run through the neighborhood. Last time that was discussed it seems the only ones who spoke up opposed it, apart from Mayor White.

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B Cycle to launch in May 2013 and will be here for at least five years thanks to Greenville Hospital System funding.

Bikes will be stationed at the Hyatt Regency, the Greenlink Transfer Station on McBee Avenue, Greenville City Hall, Fluor Field, the Sterling Community Center and County Square. The first 60 minutes of each ride are free to Greenville B-Cycle members. Daily, weekly and annual membership plans will be available ranging from $5 to $60.

Initially, Greenville B-Cycle will offer 28 adult-sized bicycles at these six stations for users to pick up or return, with expansion throughout Greenville planned over the next few years.

News video: http://www.wyff4.com/news/local-news/greenville-news/Bike-sharing-program-coming-to-Greenville/-/9654794/17658624/-/6vapl1z/-/index.html

Edited by gman430

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Upstate Forever has submitted an application for approval of bike sharing stations in downtown. The four locations will be:

1. Fluor Field (South Main @ Markley St)

2. City Hall (South Main @ Court St)

3. Landmark Building (North Main @ Beattie Pl)

4. Bus Station (McBee Ave @ River St)

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