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Downtown Cleveland Alliance launches bike rental program

Marc Lefkowitz  |  06/19/09 @ 11:38am

What's a world-class city without bikes coloring the downtown landscape?

Soon, Cleveland will join the ranks of Copenhagen, Paris, Washington, Detroit and Pittsburgh with hourly bike rentals, available seven days a week to tourist and office worker alike.

The Downtown Cleveland Alliance (DCA), which already shuttles its ambassadors around on bike, will launch and operate City Bikes from the parking lot adjacent to Lola on E. 4th Street. Walk up and rent a bike from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (locks and helmets included) and pedal over to the Rock Hall or to the art museum (via the Euclid Corridor bike lane). A two-hour rental will cost $15 ($12 for children).

The bikes-painted navy blue with a City Bikes logo-include three Raleigh seven-speed cruisers and 12 single-speed Biria bikes. Three children's bikes were purchased from the Ohio City Bike Coop.

DCA plans to launch the bike rental program by the end of this month. While they hope to make online reservations available by next year, for now, all payments will be through a wireless payment device (credit card only and you must leave a photo ID). DCA bike ambassadors will be available for emergency calls (216-621-6000). For more information about the program, call at 216-736-7799.

Will the bike rental correspond to any biking and walking tours of downtown Cleveland?

DCA hasn't initiated a discussion, says DCA staffer Sheri Bontranger, who coordinated the bike rental project, but recognizes that tours in other cities have been really successful. Gateway and Warehouse District's "Take a Hike Tours" with actors leading walking histories of Cleveland have also been successful and could be connected. Bontranger also recognized an opportunity to mark tourism maps with city bike racks.

City Bikes is one of three cycling related programs being led by DCA, which will operate the downtown bike station at Gateway. The group is also looking at how to improve cycling conditions downtown.

"We're interested in being more green," Bontranger says. "We've done a lot to reduce our carbon footprint, purchasing local products and getting involved in alternative transportation efforts such as the Steps (to a Healthier Cleveland) map. And we just received (NOACA Transportation for Livable Communities) grant to look at how to better connect Playhouse Square (where the Euclid Avenue bike lane ends) to Gateway in preparation for a bike station at E. 4th Street."

Finding preferred routes for cycling and improving conditions for biking and walking between major destinations downtown is the focus of the TLCI study, which is being conducted by City Architecture. A public meeting is being planned to solicit input on "existing development trends within the (Erie / Sumner ? Gateway / Playhouse Square) area as well as how attendees might begin to envision the future of the neighborhood and how they would like to utilize new pedestrian and bike connections that can be created." For more information, go here.

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