Friday, July 19, 2024

City once again looking to bring a Bike-sharing program to Wilmington

Bike-sharing could be making its way to the City of Wilmington (Port City Daily/File)
Bike-sharing could be making its way to the City of Wilmington (Port City Daily/File)

WILMINGTON — The way people get around is changing. Thanks to apps like Uber and Lyft, ride-sharing has become commonplace all around the world, but another alternative transportation method is also gaining popularity in cities across the world — bike-sharing.

It’s an idea that has been discussed in the past by Wilmington leaders and proposed by members of the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (WMPO). In fact, in 2018 the City of Wilmington and the WMPO selected a vendor after the initial request for proposals — but plans never came to fruition.

On Tuesday, the City of Wilmington issued a request for proposals for a bike-sharing company to operate within the WMPO area.

According to the RFP, “The WMPO is interested in a bike-share program that would allow residents throughout the region, students, and tourists the opportunity to use the bike share for transportation and recreation options. WMPO envisions a program that would likely start in the more densely populated areas and/or areas with access to bicycle facilities and/or areas of high tourism.”

The City of Wilmington is the home to multiple bicycle facilities including the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail and the River to Sea Bikeway and over the past few decades, the attitude and desire for bike-friendly options has increased.

During previous discussions on the idea, city leaders heard about the two different options for bike-sharing — docked systems and dockless. The committee had originally agreed that docked systems are preferable to Wilmington because they have designated locations to be stored. Dockless systems allow riders to simply leave their bikes wherever they want.

When asked if the City of Wilmington would be considering scooter-sharing, which has been immensely popular across the country (but has also caused plenty of debate amongst residents, police, and politicians) Go Coast and TDM Coordinator for the WMPO Nick Cannon said Wilmington was only considering bike-sharing at the time.

The new RFP has the tentative proposal due date as March 12, 2020

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