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Nice Ride grows with $1.78 million in 'phase two' funding

The local nonprofit organization Nice Ride Minnesota recently announced that it's collected $1.78 million to deliver 50 new bike-sharing stations to Minneapolis and St. Paul as a part of its "phase two" plan.

The program got going last June with 700 bikes between 65 stations throughout Minneapolis, according to program information. Over 100,000 trips were taken in its first season.  

Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which was a phase-one sponsor, has released $500,000 of the $1.5 million it promised on the condition that others match it, according to Nice Ride information.

Transit for Livable Communities (TLC), which funnels federal dollars to local walking and biking initiatives through the Bike Walk Twin Cities program, was also a phase-one sponsor. It gave $1 million this time around. 

The Central Corridor Funders Collaborative contributed $250,000, while another $30,000 came from Macalester College's High Winds Fund.

Bike-sharing stations can currently be found in and around downtown Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota campus, and Uptown, according to Nice Ride information.

North Minneapolis is already slated to get eight new stations, while others are planned for University Avenue in St. Paul, although exact sites are still being pinpointed, according to Nice Ride executive director Bill Dossett.  

The goal is to get 130 stations, Dossett says, adding, "This is a good start." 

In the placement of bike stations, Nice Ride is striving for regional equity, while also trying to make them convenient for workplaces and transit connections--paying close attention to where the public wants to have them.

This year the program will do a lot of low-income outreach. The idea is to "make it easy for a lot of people to use bikes," he says.

Many stations are scheduled to open around April 1, depending on the weather, he says.   

In Minneapolis, Denver and Washington, D.C., all of which have implemented similar bike-sharing programs, "The result has been immediate," he says. "All three have had very good success."

Source: Bill Dossett, executive director, Nice Ride Minnesota
Writer: Anna Pratt

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