Bike sharing program expands to north Minneapolis

The nation’s largest bike sharing system is about to become even larger. On Friday, Sept. 3, the Minneapolis City Council approved the use of $228,500 in federal Recovery funds to improve biking infrastructure in north Minneapolis by expanding the Nice Ride Minnesota system into the area.

An expanded system would help connect north Minneapolis neighborhoods with Downtown and other parts of the city that currently have the Nice Ride system in place. The funding will be used to conduct a community engagement process with north Minneapolis residents, business owners and key stakeholders, and identify locations and purchase equipment to bring at least five new Nice Ride Minnesota kiosks to the North Side.

Nice Ride Minnesota began providing wheels to bicyclists in June, and in August Nice Ride celebrated its 50,000th bike trip. There are currently 700 bikes available at 65 kiosks located throughout downtown Minneapolis, the University of Minneapolis campus and in a number of nearby areas. Subscribers to the Nice Ride service can check out a bike, pedal around town, then return the bike to any of the other kiosks. An annual subscription to Nice Ride costs $60 ($50 for students) and includes coupons worth up to $500 to local retailers and eateries that operate within the service area. Monthly and 24-hour subscriptions are also available.

The North Side expansion is supported by the Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support through the Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, with funding made possible by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Nice Ride Minnesota is a nonprofit organization created to bring public bike sharing to the metro area. It receives major financial support of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota and Transit for Livable Communities’ Bike Walk Twin Cities program.

For more information on Nice Ride Minnesota, including a map of kiosk locations, go to www.niceridemn.org.

Published Sep 3, 2010