When will bike sharing be available in Midtown?

Eric Rogers pedaled down to MainCor last week to give Midtown a glimpse of Kansas City’s new bicycle sharing program, and let folks know when bicycle sharing will be available south of downtown. He demonstrated the rental bikes that are now available downtown and are soon to be available in more locations south to UMKC.

Last July, Kansas City became the 15th US City to join B-cycle, which provides a network of bike stations where members can rent a bike and use it for short trips across town. B-cycle is part of BikeWalk KC.

So far, the B-Cycles are only available downtown, but the push to bring the bike-sharing program to Midtown has already begun. Eric Rogers, Executive Director of BikeWalk KC, told the audience at the MainCor Business Luncheon the first phase of the bike-sharing program began downtown with 12 stations and 90 bikes. But in order to be successful, the program needs to expand to 40 stations and 200 bikes.

The B-cycle program wants to add stations downtown on the West Side and at 18th and Vine first, but then it will start filling out  Midtown including stations in Westport, The Plaza and at UMKC and Rockhurst Universities. Eventually, B-cycle wants to include the area from the Missouri River to Waldo.

Rogers says the locations for Midtown have not yet been chosen, and his organization is looking for sponsors and ideas for Midtown as it seeks grants to help fund expansion. Ideally, he says, B-cycle stations will be on sidewalks or easily accessible from the street and a few will be near parks.

It might surprise bike riders across the country, but Rogers says, ”Kansas City is not flat. It is probably the most hilly city where bike sharing is happening.” He says some serious bikers are even riding up the Main Street hill. Rogers also says that BikeWalk KC, a membership organization pushing to make Kansas City a safer and more accessible place to walk and bike, provides classes and training to help people learn about riding in an urban environment.

“It’s not as scary as you might think,” he says.

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