The city of Bexley continues to explore the possibility of installing bike-rental stations as part of a joint effort with Columbus, Grandview Heights and Upper Arlington.
Last summer, Bexley joined the three other municipalities to apply for an approximately $1 million grant from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission to expand Columbus' existing CoGo bike-share system. The system allows people to rent bicycles from parking stations for short trips, unlocking them with a credit card.
The expansion would allow for the installation of 26 CoGo bike-share stations and "includes four stations in Bexley," Mayor Ben Kessler reported at a March 7 council meeting.
The city of Columbus signed on to the CoGo program in July 2013 with 30 stations and expanded last year to 46 stations, for a total of 365 bicycles available for rent. Riders can purchase a 24-hour ride pass for $8, a three-day pass for $18 or an annual membership for $75.
The purpose of the expansion is to not only enable residents to commute to and from work and allow users to patronize businesses, parks and local attractions, but also to provide connectivity within Bexley and between cities, said Bill Dorman, Bexley's service director.
"There's people in Columbus who are using (the CoGo bikes), but there are other people who would use them, particularly in Bexley, Upper Arlington and Grandview Heights," he said.
If MORPC awards the grant, the city of Bexley would be responsible for a total of $36,000 toward installing the four CoGo stations, Dorman said. The city could cover much of its cost by seeking additional grants and corporate sponsorships, according to a group of graduate and undergraduate students in the city and regional planning program at the Ohio State University's Knowlton School of Architecture.
"We believe bike share will be successful in Bexley because of the (city's) traditional grid street network," said Evan Hertzog, a student in the OSU program who addressed council.
"Also, your integrated land use, both commercial and residential, and your proximity to downtown. Bexley's already an active community, so we feel like it will be well-received. And such it's such a compact location, it will be easy to get from station to station," Hertzog said.
The students gathered public input about where to place the CoGo stations in Bexley by asking passersby to place pins on maps placed at City Hall, the Bexley Public Library, Bexley High School and the Columbus School for Girls.
Based on public input, feedback from Kessler and Dorman and research from Columbus and other cities that have CoGo stations, the students came up with six possible locations to install stations: City Hall, the library, Capital University and two East Main Street businesses -- Johnson's Real Ice Cream and roll: bicycle shop.
Dorman said representatives from the municipalities that applied for the MORPC grant will ultimately decide where to place the stations based on mutual need.
"We'll all get together to make sure the locations make sense and we're providing adequate coverage," he said.
Kessler said he will discuss the students' research with CoGo and come up with a formal proposal to present to city council for approval at a date to be determined.
Once funding has been secured and details have been worked out, the bike stations are projected to be installed in 2018.