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Re-Cycle: Bike share program could roll soon

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A bike share program in downtown Boise is moving forward. The effort includes the Central District Health Department and Capital City Development Corporation as partners. The project could put as many as 140 bikes at 10 stations throughout the downtown area.

"We're a bike-friendly city," said Karen Sanders, Downtown Boise Association's executive director. "It makes sense to offer bicycles."

With a green light, which could come as soon as May, Boiseans could rent a bike, ride to their destination, and then park the bicycle at another station. Ideally, the rental would be free for the first 30 minutes, with membership plans available, said Dave Fotsch, CDHD's public relations officer.

"Most systems have an annual membership between $55-$75 a year," he said. "We'll be somewhere in that range."

The bikes would be similar to those offered by B-Cycle in Denver. Those cruiser-style bikes feature a basket and a "relaxed-ride height."

"We want to start in downtown Boise," said Fotsch. "[Downtown] has the occupational and residential density to support that."

After conducting a study, researchers from Boise State's Community and Regional Planning Department suggested multiple locations for bike stations, with the aim of linking Boise's transit options.

"I see bike share as A: a great contribution to health and B: a great opportunity to connect these modes of transportation in a very convenient way," said Thomas Wuerzer, a researcher at Boise State.

Currently two grant proposals have been written by CDHD requesting funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration.

"The first grant, something we should hear back about sometime next month, would purchase all of the infrastructure [including bikes]," said Fotsch.