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Green Bay may soon get a new bike-sharing system

(WBAY)
Published: May. 7, 2018 at 6:19 PM CDT
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Lime Bike has a green light.

On Monday, Green Bay’s Improvements and Services Committee endorsed an agreement between the city and bike-sharing company Lime Bike as the city tries again to have a bike-sharing program.

Lime Bike is a system allowing people to find and rent bikes using their smartphones. The company operates what it calls "smart bikes" around the country. Users locate a bike on their smartphone and scan a code to unlock it.

Avid Green Bay cyclist Jacob Juliot says a bike-sharing system is needed. He’s used a Lime Bike before on a trip he took to Dallas in March.

"I used a Lime Bike for maybe about two-and-a-half hours or so. It’s a pretty convenient way to get around, a little more affordable than say Uber, and it’s also biking so you get a lot of freedom," said Juliot.

District 9 Alderman Brian Johnson, who’s also a part of the committee, says the bike rentals cost $2.00 an hour, $1.00 for a half hour -- and half that price for college students. Johnson says he’s been active in advocating the idea of the Lime Bike system because it would help ease transportation in a community due to its accessibility.

"Spring is coming," said another avid cyclist, John Ihde. "People want to get outside and enjoy themselves and get back into shape. It’s good for those who can't afford a good bike or if you only need one for a day or a weekend, you know. I think it's a feasible thing to try to implement."

Juliot says a "dockless" system like Lime Bike does have its downsides.

"A lot of clutter. The bikes could be left anywhere. Sometimes I noticed Lime Bikes up in trees, I noticed some being stowed at subway stations, off to the side and vandalized," Juliot says.

Ten years ago, the city's Green Bike Program proved unsuccessful. Initially using the honor system, bicycles were lost, stolen and thrown into the river.

Lime Bikes would essentially eliminate those problems, because it keeps track of who rented the bike last.

Regardless, Juliot feels a docked system, like what's used in Madison or Milwaukee, is a better option. "A dock system just seems to be better organized, less clutter. It would also have people from the dock sharing system come and maintain the bikes,” said Juliot.

Johnson says he still feels a dockless system is the way to go for a city the size of Green Bay.

With the Improvements and Services Committee's approval, the agreement now goes to the full city council.

If the agreement ultimately gets put in place, anywhere from 250 to 500 Lime Bikes would be scattered across Green Bay.

Johnson says since the agreement is with a privately run entity, there are no costs to the city.

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