Starting next summer, Boise will see bicycle docking stations and bike share bicycles popping up all around the city, including on Boise State campus.
A bike share is simply another method of public transportation. Bike docking stations will be placed in different areas around the city, where bikes can be stored and locked. When a member wants to ride a bike, all they need to do is take a bike from the docking station. Then they ride the bike to their destination and drop it off at another docking station that will be, plausibly, within walking distance of their final
Dave Fotsch, an avid cyclist, has been living in Boise for the past 22 years and is the current director of the Boise Bike Share project. Fotsch came up with the idea while working his job for the Central District Health Department, arguing that the bike share deals significantly with public health.
The bike share program falls under Valley Regional Transit, because it counts as a form of public transportation. If someone rides the bus from outlying areas into downtown Boise, but the bus stop is still a mile or two from their final destination, then the bike share program will make bikes available to ride the last few miles.
“When you have more bikes on the streets, drivers become more aware of bicyclists and so there are actually fewer accidents,”
The bikes will be available to anyone, 24/7, and year-long memberships are estimated to cost around $75. Bikes will be able to be checked out for 30 minutes for free.
The stations will also be no further than a quarter of a mile away from each other, so if a station is empty or full, the person can walk to the next.
“Certainly if you want to combine your commutes, you can throw your bike on your car and then drive into town and get around on your bike, but that’s kind of a hassle,”
Bike share systems have been implemented in different cities all around the country. Hailey, Idaho has adopted a bike share program with 18 bikes, but the idea is expected to expand into surrounding cities.
“Our overall goal is to make it a sustainable system so that it requires no further public money to support it,” Fotsch said.
Fotsch would like for Boise’s bike share program to inspire other cities to do the same.
“More and more cities like Boise are looking at it, because they see the benefits for air quality, for getting people moving, and for general quality of life,” Fotsch explained.
When the bike share program was in its early stages, Fotsch approached the people at Boise State’s department of Regional and Community Planning like Assistant Professor Thomas Wuerzer, Associate Professor Susan Mason and a graduate student (at the time) Riley
They created a multi-tier map, nicknamed the ‘the heat map’ including trip generators and trip attractors that would promote bike share trips. Areas that are ‘hot’ are popular areas for transport and areas that are ‘cold’ are not particularly destination hot-spots.
“Ideally, if you want to have lunch and it’s beautiful out there, but Ann Morrison Park is too far away walking distance from downtown well you could take actually one of the bike share bikes,” Wuerzer said.