Pedal PowerAug 22, 2014 09:00AM ● By David Williams
“The addition of these new stations is another step toward a comprehensive bike-sharing system for the city of Omaha,” says Ben Turner, who manages the B-Cycle program.
B-Cycle began in 2011 on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Omaha and in Aksarben Village. It expanded downtown last year. There are now 11 B-Cycle stations housing 57 bicycles, all of which can be returned to any B-Cycle kiosk. The three-speed bikes have a built-in locking mechanism and boast fenders, lights, and a handlebar basket. Passes may be purchased on a daily, 30-day, or annual basis.
There’s a certain nerd-chic air to the signature blue bicycles that are an increasingly common sight on Omaha’s urban streets, and Turner says that the program aims for as many as 75 kiosks to be placed around town and in Council Bluffs, many in collaboration with area businesses looking to better serve their employees…and the environemnt.
Bike-share programs, Turner says, provide many benefits to the community.
“It’s active transportation,” says Turner. “It improves air quality to have fewer cars on the road. It improves the physical fitness and wellbeing of those who ride.
Sales go up for retailers near one of the stations. And it’s been demonstrated that businesses in cities with bike programs can more easily attract and retain the best talent. Business looks to cities who care about sustainability.”
Daniel Lawse is a B-Cycle rider who knows more than a little bit about the topic of sustainability. On any given day, his multi-modal commutes to and from his Gifford Park home may include any combination of walking, hopping a bus, biking, or ride sharing.
Lawse is co-owner of Verdis Group, a sustainability consulting firm whose offices are in No-Do’s TipTop Building, the site of a B-Cycle kiosk. Verdis Group purchased B-Cycle passes for all of the company’s employees, one of whom walks to work.
“We support a culture of sustainability,” says Lawse, who also provides Metro bus passes to his team. “B-Cycle is a natural. It’s great for getting around to daytime meetings without having to use a car.”
The program, he adds, is an important addition to a city that is increasingly thinking green.
“This is an exciting time to live and work in this city,” Lawse says, “and B-Cycle is one more great addition to Omaha’s sustainability infrastructure.”