May 08, 2019
The City of Cedar Rapids recently announced the first bike share program, which will feature electric-assist bikes and later this year, electric scooters. With the inclusion of a fleet of 150 e-bikes, with 90 bike rack stations throughout Cedar Rapids’ core districts, leaders of each Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District (SSMID) are collaborating to support the new program.
Funding for free bike helmets and educational safety videos, currently being filmed and created by Iowa BIG students, were made possible through contributions from each district including the Downtown SSMID, the MedQuarter SSMID and the Czech Village/New Bohemia SSMID as well as the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.
“As a partner with all three of Cedar Rapids’ core district SSMIDs, the Economic Alliance strives to bring collaboration among all district leaders on long-term strategic plans as well as tactical priorities,” said Doug Neumann, Executive Director, Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. “This bike share program became the perfect opportunity to execute on that collaborative spirit.”
This is the second time in the core districts’ histories that all have worked together on a single project. The first collaboration was the 2016 Flood Threat sandbag assistance and sandbag removal efforts, and now the support of the City’s bike share program.
Bike share stations and several new on-street bicycle facilities were provided by a generous match grant from the Wellmark Foundation in support of the new program. The full fleet of custom green e-bikes will arrive later this summer. Approximately 20 stations will be operational by May 13, and the locations of each can be found at cityofcr.com/bikeshare.
“The opportunity to increase a community-wide healthy habit like biking, paired with the opportunity to increase the interconnectedness of all the core districts, aligned perfectly and positively with the MedQuarter,” said Phil Wasta, Executive Director, MedQuarter.
Each District’s logo and branding will appear on the free bike helmets to be given away at the City’s May 13 Bike Share Kick-Off Party, as well as on select bike racks throughout the districts.
“The Czech Village/New Bohemia District appreciates the forward-thinking and proactive City staff who have worked hard to bring this new opportunity to our district,” said Craig Byers, Commission Chair, Czech Village/New Bohemia. “The City of Cedar Rapids deserves a lot of credit and we were proud as a Commission to be able to support the effort.”
“As Downtown sits in the middle of all core districts, we’re thrilled to showcase our vibrant district and continue being the connector for bikers to travel to, and between the MedQuarter, Kingston Village and the Czech Village/New Bohemia districts,” said Jesse Thoeming, Executive Director, Downtown.