On Monday afternoon, I was privileged to attend a planning charette for the purpose of mapping out a bike sharing system for Greater Lansing. More than 20 of us, not including facilitators from the University of Michigan, attended the charrette including representatives from several cities and townships, area residents, the business community, non-profits, and some transportation agencies. Sadly missing were representatives of the Michigan Department of Transportation, the County Road Commission and members of the local media.
Mapping the future station sites incorporated results from a bike share survey that received more than 1,050 responses, aerial photographs, data showing existing bike parking, transit stops and stations, ZIP Car stations, and a plethora of additional information. During the event a new concept to describe our effort to link bike sharing with these various transportation choices into multi-modal nodes was utilized – “Hub Taxonomy.” Preferred locations for a bike share station should be placed at a site where it could take the most advantage of existing transportation resources and where the most mode choice options would be available to one using the system. This included transit stops and stations, Zip Car stations, established bike parking, off-road multi-use trails, taxi stands, the AMTRAK station, and inter-city bus stations. The concept is similar to the hub and spoke system used by airlines, but tailored to enhancing multiple and complimentary transport options.
All in all, the charette was interesting, informative, and very productive as each of the four working groups provided important contributions to the plan. The hope is to have the initial phase of the bike sharing program in place approximately one-year from now, The first phase will largely concentrated on station locations between Michigan State University and downtown East Lansing on the east along the Michgan Avenue and Kalamazoo Avenue corridors to downtown Lansing, the State Capital complex and Lansing Community College on the west.
Old Town and REO Town (located just north and south of downtown respectively) are likely candidates to be part of phase one, as well. This would result in an east-west axis between the two downtown areas and a north-south axis from Old Town to REO Town through downtown Lansing.
Phase two would include the AMTRAK Station, Eastwood Town Center, and several other sites which are situated outside the core areas.
Congratulations to Capital Community Bike Share, Walk & Bike Lansing, and the University of Michigan’s SMART (Sustainable Mobility and Accessibility Research and Transformation) program for this successful event. Hopefully, a year from now yet another transportation mode choice will be available to area residents and visitors alike.