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Published April 11, 2012, 10:10 PM

Greenway Enthusiasts Looking at Rental Bike Interest in Grand Forks

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Rental bikes may soon be a new option for public transportation in Grand Forks. The Greenway and Trail Users Advisory group has launched an online survey to gauge the public interest in a bike sharing program.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Rental bikes may soon be a new option for public transportation in Grand Forks. The Greenway and Trail Users Advisory group has launched an online survey to gauge the public interest in a bike sharing program.

The survey was launched on Friday and already 250 people have weighed in with their thoughts on a bike sharing program in Grand Forks. There have been a few negative comments, but overall many people have shown interest in making rental bikes available.

"I would absolutely love it, I'd be all over that," Steve Calhoun said.

Steve Calhoun and Zack Williams biked off the Greenway trails Wednesday afternoon and stopped by Amazing Grains for a break. Both men agree a bike sharing program would be great for area recreation, but could also help downtown businesses.

"I stop here every time I come down this trail on this side of town so I always stop and grab a snack or a drink. So I think it would bring tons of business," Williams said.

"I could see increased traffic here at the store of people coming to get a snack while they're in the middle of their bike ride or at the end of their bike ride," Amazing Grains Manager Betsy Perkins said.

If there is enough community interest, the bike sharing program would be similar to one in place in Minneapolis. There would be rental racks around town and users would simply swipe a credit card to rent a bike. Bikes can be dropped off at any rental rack.

"People sometimes said no they wouldn't use it but they could understand how someone else could use it. And I think that's really where we as a community have to say somebody out there would like to use this, especially the visitors, those college students," Greenway Specialist Kim Greendahl said.

The rental service would be financed through transportation grants or sponsorships. If the rental racks are brought to town, the Greenway group doesn't plan on using any local tax dollars.

"I think it would be a combination of funding. There's lots of opportunities with federal transportation dollars, especially with the rising cost of gas, there's lots of federal dollars out there," Greendahl said.

The survey will be online until 5:00 p.m. Friday. There is a link to that on the Greenway website at www.greenwayggf.com

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