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Capital Region Asked For Input On Bike-Share Stations

Lucas Willard

If you’ve been to Manhattan recently, you’ve probably noticed the blue Citi Bikes traveling along city streets. Now, CDTA is teaming up with CDPHP and a Brooklyn-based company to bring bike-sharing to the Capital Region. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard explains that customers will be able to choose where they’d like to see the bikes.

At the Saratoga Springs Recreation Center on Tuesday evening, Kris Moreau, Transportation Planner with company Social Bicycles, clicks through a web map of the city that shows numbers dotting the downtown.

“Right now we’re in Saratoga Springs, so you can see the map is populated with other bike-share station suggestions other members of the community have made,” says Moreau.

What we’re looking at is where users have voted to host bike-sharing stations. Social Bicycles is working with the Capital District Transportation Authority and CDPHP to bring the service to the region.

The model would work similarly to Citi Bike in New York City, currently the largest bike-sharing program in the world.

Moreau scrolls through the app, which is also on smartphones, explaining that users can suggest their own station locations, vote for others, upload photos, and provide comments.

She also points out the most popular spot downtown for the green bikes with a purple basket.

“So 14 votes for the Saratoga Visitors Center is currently the most popular station in Saratoga,” says Moreau.

CDTA marketing director Jon Scherzer says this year bike-share stations will pop up in Saratoga Springs, Albany, Schenectady and Troy.

“Given that we have the 160 bikes it should equate to roughly 20-some-odd stations. Some are somewhat limited on the scope and size of where you can go, but you want to walk before you run,” says Scherzer.

Scherzer says CDTA hopes to double the amount of bikes available next year.

The so-called CDPHP Cycle! bikes can be used by anyone who signs up and can be picked up and dropped off at any station. Using smart technology, the bikes can also track calories burned, calculate distance traveled, estimate your reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, and calculate money saved on gas.

With a launch set for this summer, the bikes would be installed as the tourism season ramps up. No firm date is set.

Todd Garofano, President of the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau, said one of the most frequent questions he gets in the summer is where visitors can rent a bike.

“There are a few places in town that do that now, but I think that on a more consistent and overall basis this actually solves that problem,” says Garofano.

The bike-share stations also fit into the city’s efforts to make the city more bicycle and pedestrian friendly, says Mayor Joanne Yepsen.

“One of the reasons why people come here is we are easy to get around and have multiple attractions in a small area, so bike-share is perfect for us,” says Yepsen.

Voters can submit their suggestions for bike-share stations across the Capital Region until April 30th. An informational meeting is scheduled for tonight from 6 to 7:30 at the Albany Public Library’s main branch at 161 Washington Avenue.

For more information visit: https://www.cdphpcycle.com/

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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