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Published May 11, 2012, 09:25 PM

Results of Grand Forks Bike Rental Survey Mixed

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Results are in from a Grand Forks bike rental survey. Hundreds of people around the city weighed in on what has become a controversial topic.

By: Stacie Van Dyke, WDAZ

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Results are in from a Grand Forks bike rental survey. Hundreds of people around the city weighed in on what has become a controversial topic.

Results of the survey were mixed, but overall slightly more people are favorable towards the possibility of rental bikes coming to Grand Forks.

It's an idea the city has been working on for more than a decade, brought back to light by City Council member Tyrone Grandstand.

"I saw it in real life in Madison, Wisconsin and I found out they have it in Des Moines, Iowa, and Boulder, Colorado," Grandstrand said.

Our bike sharing program would be similar to one in place in Minneapolis. Users would swipe a credit or membership card to rent a bike at racks around town. The survey was to gauge interest in the program.

"I think something's going to happen, I really do. Just because now we're able to say it looks like there are people that would do this," Greenway specialist Kim Greendahl said.

"We've had other controversial topics that we've done surveys on that and we're lucky to get 25 responses," Grand Forks planner Roxanne Achman said.

But this time, more than 300 people responded. People say they're most likely to use the rental bikes on the Greenway's more than 60 miles of trails.

The biggest reason in favor of the bikes was to have them available for friends or family visiting the city, but many worried about the use of taxpayer money to fund the service.

"We would start looking at transportation dollars like buses and dial-a-ride, those type of things," Greendahl said.

"People pay a user fee like once a year, like 50 dollars. It's self-sustaining. If more people bike to work, we save money on infrastructure, we spend less on roads and fixing roads, so in the long run this could be really beneficial and save us a lot of money," Grandstrand said.

Many agree a bike sharing program would also be great for downtown businesses.

Greendahl is currently trying to get funding from local businesses. City officials say it's a topic that will likely be brought up at meetings throughout the summer.

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