Plans in place for new bike share program in downtown Rochester
The spokes appear to be aligning for a bike share program to launch locally.
The Twin Cities-based nonprofit Nice Ride Minnesota presented plans on Tuesday to the Rochester Park Board to install rental stations at three different locations in the downtown area: Peace Plaza, People's Food Co-op and the old Fire Station #2 on Silver Lake.
The parks department is in the process of repurposing the now-vacant fire station into a center for health and wellness. The preliminary idea is to have Nice Ride become an anchor tenant of the building.
"Through building strong relationships with Mayo Clinic and downtown area hotels, we’ll make it easy for visitors to rent a bike for rides downtown, along the river and around Rochester," said Nice Ride's Anthony Desnick via email.
Desnick said he wants the program to be a catalyst for new bike infrastructure "that will make it easy and safe to walk and ride a bike downtown."
Nice Ride has been in discussions with multiple government departments, as well as Mayo and DMC, regarding funding. The group would need one year-round employee and one seasonal worker to operate the program.
We Bike Rochester, a grassroots bike organization, would provide programming like group rides and bike maintenance classes. According to organizers, there would be reduced fees for local residents wanting to rent a bike.
Participants of Leadership Greater Rochester, a chamber of commerce program, will be responsible for developing a sustainability plan for the fire station. The year-long initiative was also announced at Tuesday's meeting.
In a July interview with the Med City Beat, parks director Paul Widman said the building's proximity to the waterfront and trail system make it a "prime location" for outdoor programming. You can watch that clip below.
At this point, there's no clear timeline for the project.
About Sean Baker: Sean is the founder and editor of the Med City Beat. Under his direction, the site has transitioned from a small news blog to one of the most widely-read publications in the city. Prior to launching the site in 2014, Sean spent about two years producing television news in Green Bay and Rochester. His office is above a brewery, so please excuse any typos. Twitter.