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Cincinnati to introduce bike sharing program

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In the summer, Cincy Bike Share Inc. will introduce 200 bikes for the new bike sharing program Cincy Cycle throughout the Cincinnati downtown area.

The program will install 20 stations on various street corners. Station locations will be determined based on where people live, work and shop as well as the frequent travel between those places. Public input will also help determine where these bike stations will be most effective. Locations that are likely to have a station include Fountain Square, Washington Park and Findlay Market.

Bike sharing adds vibrancy and green consciousness to urban areas as they both complement other modes of transportation and promote a healthier lifestyle. Those who live and work downtown will now have better mobility for short trips that are made too long by walking and too cumbersome by driving.

In 2012, Cincinnati's Department of Transportation and Engineering conducted a feasibility study for possible locations for a bike share. They found that redevelopment and the ease of access throughout the downtown area and nearby neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine made these prime spots to implement this kind of program.

Jason Barron, executive director of Cincy Bike Share, is currently trying to raise money and find corporate sponsors who will fund the program. It will cost about $1.4 million to launch Cincy Cycle, and an additional $500,000 every year to operate.

An annual membership for Cincy Cycle will be available for $75 to $85. Nonmembers will be able to purchase a bike for a day for $7 to $8.

This program is expected to be implemented in three phases with the first phase being downtown and in Over-the-Rhine. The second phase will introduce another 150 bikes in uptown Cincinnati near the hospitals and the University of Cincinnati. The final phase will bring the bike share program across the river to Northern Kentucky.

The risk of bike theft is also low. Other cities like Chicago, New York and Denver with bike share programs report very few thefts. The bikes also come with locks and GPS chips to monitor their movement in the event of a theft.

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