Lakeview Chamber Considers Sponsoring Bike Sharing Kiosks

By Sam Charles | Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The bike sharing program in Washington D.C. is the largest in the country. City officials hope to claim that title when Chicago’s bike sharing program launches next Spring. Credit: flickr/EuanFisk

In the wake of the city releasing new details of the coming bike sharing program, a local chamber of commerce is entertaining the possibility of sponsoring one or more kiosks in the area.

Heather Way, executive director of the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, said that helping to bring the new bike program to the area is worth looking into because it could potentially help the chamber reach its goal.

“Everything that we do, the underlying motivation is to bolster the local economy,” Way said. “So whatever we can do to get folks to Lakeview—shopping, enjoying themselves, spending time here, enjoying our neighborhood—we’re going to research and investigate anything to make that happen.”

At the fourth informational presentation for the bike sharing program, city officials said groups will have the chance to purchase individual kiosks for $56,000 each, with discounts if more than one are purchased. Each kiosk would feature 11 bikes for rent with 19 stalls to return already rented bikes.

Way said the Lakeview chamber would use money from Special Service Area 27 to purchase any bike sharing kiosks, but since the program is still in a planning stage, the number of potential kiosks the chamber would sponsor can’t be established yet.

“We need to do a little more research and see where the city-sponsored stations will be before we get to that,” Way said.

The Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, with help from 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack, found that the majority of people who ride the soon-to-be-eliminated #11 Lincoln Avenue bus do so to get around the immediate area, not to travel downtown, Way said. The bike sharing program, she said, could help offset the effects of the bus route’s elimination because the program is designed to ease traveling shorter distances.

“Bike sharing is something we need to look at to help supplement the loss of the [#11] bus service.” Way said.  ”[Commuters] were riding it to get around Lincoln Square, Northcenter, Lakeview and the north end of Lincoln Park. Bike sharing seems like a great supplement to that because it’s for shorter rides.”

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