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Aaron Lad
by on October 10, 2017
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ROYAL OAK — A bike share system for Royal Oak could be in the works. City Commissioners directed staff to gather public input on the idea after a preliminary study found that programs have been successfully started in other nearby communities.

“Dearborn residents and visitors have embraced our bike share program with enthusiasm,” said Mary Laundroche, a spokeswoman for the city. “In the first two months of operation, the number of rides surpassed expectations, and the bikes just keep getting used more and more in our downtown areas and beyond. It’s been especially appealing to Millenials.”

The MoGo bike share in the greater downtown Detroit area has 430 bikes at 43 stations and started up in May.

In Port Huron four bike share stations with 20 bicycles were rolled out in July and are operated by Zagster. The cost of the program was about $36,000. The Michigan Department of Transportation kicked in a $12,00 grant and other costs are shared by the city’s Downtown Development Authority and partnerships with the St. Clair Community College, the Blue Water Conventions and Visitors Bureau, and a law firm in the city, according to the report provided to Royal Oak officials.

“Port Huron has a very effective program and is about half the size in population as Royal Oak,” said Royal Oak City Commissioner Jeremy Mahrle. “I know Oakland County is (also) interested in investing in countywide bike-share programs.”

James Krizan, assistant to City Manager Don Johnson, outlined some of the benefits and challenges of launching a bike-share rental program for city commissioners this week.

“We’re definitely on our way to creating a robust bicycle culture here,” Krizan said of city plans to create more bike lanes.

“I think it’s pretty cool and we should be exploring it,” said Mayor Michael Fournier.

Royal Oak plans to add bike lanes on Campbell Road from 10 Mile to Fourth Street, which already has lanes from Campbell to the downtown. The main north-south bike route would start on Washington Avenue and run to Euclid Avenue, just north of Crooks Road. The route would then run east and west on Euclid to Main Street, which would have lanes leading to Normandy at the city’s border with Clawson.

City commissioners voted Monday to have the Royal Oak’s traffic committee conduct public discussions on bicycle sharing and come back with a recommendation for commissioners.