Bike share program could expand to Carbondale next year, Glenwood discussions continue
A free bike-share program supported by the intergovernmental organization that operates the valleywide bus system is on track to expand to Carbondale in 2023.
Glenwood Springs could be right around the corner.
The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority board of directors last week heard an update on the various recommendations to begin implementing the regional “First and Last Mile Mobility Study” (FLMMS), which was completed in June.
The plan, which outlines everything from expanded bus services valleywide, bus station and other infrastructure improvements, electric-pedal assist (e-bike) incentives and a possible car-pooling app, is up for adoption by the board next month.
In May, however, a major component of that broader plan, the Roaring Fork Regional Bikeshare Study, was adopted by the RFTA board.
It calls for expanding the existing WE-Cycle program farther down valley to Carbondale next year.
Currently, the free bike service operates in Aspen, Snowmass Village and Basalt, including the Willits commercial area and surrounding residential neighborhoods. It allows people to check out a bike from one of the bicycle stations and use it to get to and from transit stations and other destinations, and return it to any of the multiple stations located in the service areas.
A draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) regarding the continuation of the bikeshare program from 2023 through 2028 has been making its way around to the various RFTA member governments.
The Carbondale Board of Trustees, at its June 28 meeting, indicated its interest in participating but is evaluating the costs and potential in-kind contributions to support the program.
Other local governments in the Roaring Fork Valley are at various stages of consideration, including Glenwood Springs.
“Discussions with city staff have been initiated and recommended timing and process steps for presenting the draft MOU to the City Council will be forthcoming,” according to a RFTA staff memo presented to the board at its July 14 meeting.
WE-Cycle was co-founded by valley resident Mirte Mallory, who serves as the organization’s executive director. Over the past several years, she has been working with RFTA and its member governments to expand the service throughout the valley.
“The service is free to the public and operates seasonally with 284 bikes across 55 stations,” according to a description of the program included in last week’s RFTA board packet. “During the 2021 season, the system provided 50,573 rides to nearly 6,000 unique riders.”
In 2020, WE-Cycle also implemented an e-bike pilot project in an effort to encourage additional ridership and test the use of more e-bikes in the system.
“The pilot found usage among the six e-bikes was three times that of the non-electric bikes,” according to the report.
Last year, the system had 26 e-bikes and added two solar-powered e-stations to its fleet.
“We are hoping to have the MOU ready to go by November, so we can finalize things and get it into the budget (for 2023),” RFTA CEO Dan Blankenship said at the July 14 meeting.
The broader FLMMS also includes plans to build more secure bike parking facilities at bus stations, so that people are more inclined to ride their personal bikes to and from the bus, Blankenship said.
“We want to create an environment that provides more incentives for people to use the bus,” he said.
Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or email@example.com.
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