The Metroparks of the Toledo Area was recently awarded funds from a series of grants to begin a bike share program in downtown Toledo. Eighty percent of the funding came through a Clean Ohio Fund grant. The Metroparks received an additional $263,000 grant through the federal Transportation Alternatives Program.
The grant describes a fleet of 100 bikes distributed among 17 stations. All the stations are within a rough box bounded by the Amtrak station and Middlegrounds Metropark to the south, the Toledo Museum of Art to the west, One Government Center to the north, and three locations on the east side of the Maumee River. The bikes are 3- or 8-speed models on a step-through frame, with built-in keypads that will lock and unlock the bikes. GPS systems will track where the bikes are within the system. TARTA will be in charge of bike maintenance and moving bikes around to keep the stations stocked.
The Toledo bike share system will be sustained in part by user fees and memberships as well as by corporate memberships and sponsors. The Toledo Mud Hens and ProMedica, local non-profit organizations, have already committed to ongoing funding in the form of corporate sponsorship. Further sponsorships are being sought.
“A bike service downtown will go a long way toward solving the ‘last mile’ problem that we see in public transit,” said TMACOG Transportation Planner Lance Dasher. “TARTA buses may get people close to their workplace but any distance over about a quarter of mile discourages ridership. A convenient bike can make transportation by bus much more attractive.”
A desire for better access to greenspace downtown has been cited in many public studies. The bike share stations will connect the new Middlegrounds Metropark, Owens Corning campus, Promenade Park, and the Great Lakes Museum on the Maumee River.