Guest Blog by Emily Alvarez, Planning Intern, City of Lakewood, University of Colorado Denver Master of Urban and Regional Planning Candidate
Chances are you’ve heard of bike share. Cities all over the world have been adopting city-wide bike share programs. In Phoenix, Arizona they have a program called Grid Bike Share that is operated by CycleHop and is expanding into the neighboring cities of Mesa and Tempe. Mexico City, Mexico runs its own program called EcoBici. What is probably more familiar locally is Denver’s B-Cycle program (which you can also find in cities such as Austin, Texas and Madison, Wisconsin). More recently, workplaces are starting to adopt this model. Employee bike share programs allow employees to hop on a bike for all of their during -the- day trips, or even ride home at the end of the work day, and ride it back in the morning.
The City of Lakewood model
To be co-managed by the City of Lakewood’s Sustainability Division (within the Planning Department), and the Employee Relations Department, an employee bike share program is underway and could potentially make its grand appearance mid-summer 2016. The City is working on an agreement with a local bike shop to procure and maintain the bikes, as well as to provide a maintenance program for employees using their own bikes to commute to work. The City’s Building and Facilities Division will set up the infrastructure including bike racks, and “fix-it” stations. The budget will be included in the Employee Relations annual Employee Wellness budget.
The idea originated in the Sustainability Division as a way to facilitate the support of healthy and sustainable lifestyle choices. The division recognized that in order to effectively shift individual choices away from cars, there needed to be an integrated multi-modal solution. Once everything is finalized, the bike share program will provide the city with a unique opportunity to encourage employees to be active and lead a healthy lifestyle, as well as encourage them to reduce their vehicle miles traveled (VMT), their gasoline consumption, and their single-occupancy vehicle trips. The bike share program will be integrated into a larger program that includes transit benefits, carpool, car share, facilities improvements, maintenance programs and other incentives.
Adding bikes to your fleet
Jumping into a workplace-wide employee bike share program can definitely seem like a daunting task with an up-front investment. To initiate the program, try partnering with a local bike shop to obtain your fleet and offer classes on bike maintenance and safety. This means promoting your local economy and forging collaborative relationships. There are also plenty of tools out there to support programs such as the 36 Commuting Solutions’ "Employer Bike-Sharing Toolkit”. Each workplace is different, and there may not be a one-size fits all approach, but a bike share program can be done! So, get your wheels spinning (in your head and on your bike) about what an employee bike share program could mean for you and your workplace.