North Minneapolis may see some Nice Ride action

Earlier this week there was a bit of a dust up over the new Minneapolis bike share program Nice Ride Minnesota's lack of presence on the city's north side: State Rep. Bobby Jo Champion accused the program of falling into what he called the city's "practice of ignoring communities, even though we have good intentions of doing good work."

No true, said executive director Bill Dossett, who pointed out that none of the Nice Ride bike kiosks can be found anywhere south of Lake Street. As much as he would have loved to have blanked the entire city with those grab-your-attention-green bikes, he told CP today that the program had to be launched in the most densely populated parts of Minneapolis, including downtown. But he says the north side is being eyed for inclusion of Phase 2 planning in a few months -- including Broadway, Summit Academy and International Market Square.

The challenge, Dossett said, was that to make the system successful, entire neighborhoods need to be woven into the network, so that there are kiosks within fairly short distances of each other. He's flattered when folks call him up and request just one kiosk outside this business or that school or library, because it's a sign of Nice Ride's success. But outlying kiosks won't help the system as a whole.

And the system as it stands appears to be off to a good start since launching two weeks ago. Some 56 of a scheduled 65 kiosks are now up and functioning (map below). All 700 of the bikes have now been assembled. Only three have been damaged or gone missing. The bikes have been checked out 6,334 times. Almost 3,000 people have signed up for 24-hour passes, while 359 people have signed on for a year.

Below is the bike kiosk map. (Download the full-size version by clicking here.)

North Minneapolis may see some Nice Ride action

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