Bike Share Comes to Raleigh
Last week the Raleigh City Council voted to bring bike share to Raleigh. As soon as a year from now, we’ll have 30 bike share stations in a corridor that includes downtown Raleigh.
This is a big step that brings health benefits, economic benefits, access and equity to neighborhoods with limited transportation options, and it is a “last mile” strategy to support transit, which our community is about to invest in.
Please thank Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane and Council Members. AHA is thankful to key partners who led with us: WakeUP Wake County, Councilman and AHA Board member Bonner Gaylord, County Commissioner Sig Hutchinson, and many organizations including Downtown Raleigh Alliance, American Heart Association, Regional Transportation Alliance business coalition and others. See the letter signed by AHA and 17 other organizations, and this letter from RTA.
At the end of the discussion last Tuesday, Gaylord moved that the City:
- Ask NC State for capital costs associated with its 5 planned stations,
- Ask Wake County for half of the local share of capital costs,
- Form a committee to sell additional sponsorships,
- Reevaluate after 3 years.
The vote passed 7-1. While consultants had projected 2 years to roll out the bikes, city staff says one year is possible.
Bike Share Station Placement
The bikes are funded for transportation – so they’ll be placed in areas of highest density, close enough together to be part of the transportation system. See Raleigh Bike Share for info. (Note it has not been updated but includes the data gathered and presented to the Council from last year.)
Heat maps from the demand analysis are interesting. The last 2 pages of the presentation show recommended areas for station placement.
Key Points from the Process
- Raleigh has federal funds available (“congestion mitigation” air quality money), which CAMPO had earmarked to pay 80% of the capital costs (the cost to buy the bikes and docking stations and install them) – $1.6 million. The City needed to come up with the remaining 20%, or $425,000.
- The federal funding would have expired if the Council did not act now.
- Wake County, led by Commissioner Sig Hutchinson, wants to contribute to the capital costs, from tourism dollars it has available; an increase in taxes is not needed for this. This lowers Raleigh’s capital outlay.
- Bonner Gaylord brought bike share up again – it was “dead” after the timing was not right for the city a year ago.
- The concept discussed by the council a year ago was splitting the operating costs for the 30 stations by 3 funding sources:
- 1/3 or $220,000, to be paid by users when they subscribe or rent bikes
- 1/3 raised by sponsorships
- 1/3 funded by the City of Raleigh
- Over the last 10 months, Karen Rindge of WakeUP, Gaylord, Commissioner Hutchinson and AHA Director Sara Merz worked to secure signature sponsors; $250,000/year for 3 years has been informally committed.
- Further, supporters believe station sponsorships will raise substantially more dollars – likely covering a large part of the cost. The YMCA of the Triangle has offered to enter a multi-year agreement to sponsor a bike share station at the Alexander YMCA, in the heart of the corridor to be served by bike share.