Cycling continues to prove popular in Salt Lake City. The Downtown Alliance and GREENbike recently announced today that Salt Lake City’s non-profit bike share program, set a national ridership record for the 2015 season. Ridership eclipsed 100,000 rides this weekend over the seven month season.
The bike share program’s network has grown at a brisk pace. The program launched in April of 2013 with 10 bike share stations and 55 active bikes system. In the over two years since, the program consists of roughly 200 bikes and 25 stations in the downtown and the Central City neighborhood.
According to Robin Hutcheson, the director of Salt Lake’s Transportation Division, GREENbike has helped improve downtown connectivity by allowing residents and visitors to make small trips across downtown. Hutcheson argued that programs like GREENbike encourage downtown visitors to park just once for the day by using the bike share to make short trips without a car.
According to the Downtown Alliance, of the 70 automated bike-sharing systems in the U.S, no other system that directly charges users for service has reached as many rides so quickly, and with as few bikes.
The Alliance estimates that over the past seven months, on average, each bike has been used over 500 times. When GREENbike added five new stations, plus additional bikes and expansion of existing stations this May, ridership increased by almost 300 percent winning them an award at a national bike share conference in September.
“Our 2015 goal was to increase ridership and hit 66,000 rides by the end of December,” said GREENbike director Ben Bolte in a press release. “By the end of the first week in November, we already exceeded that goal by 52 percent with our 100,000th ride. This explosive growth clearly illustrates what we’ve said all along: more stations equals greater convenience and greater convenience equals a lot more riders. If we were to substantially expand the system, the possibilities are near limitless.”
According to the Downtown Alliance, to date, more than 50,000 daily and annual users have removed more than 1,300,000 vehicle miles from local roads, helping community air quality, decreasing traffic congestion, reducing road maintenance costs and burning nearly 19,000,000 calories in the process.
The City has invested in making downtown safe for cyclists by adding two cycle tracks, or protected bike lanes, on 300 South and 200 West in downtown in the past year. In October, the City officially opened the second protected intersection in nation, at the intersection of both cycle tracks.