Monday, August 18, 2014

Kansas City B-Cycle expansion going slowly; new stations hopefully by the end of the year

Posted By on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 1:25 PM

click to enlarge BIKEWALKKC
  • BikeWalkKC
At the beginning of this year, bike-share program Kansas City B-Cycle announced an expansion strategy for 2014 that would include eight new stations in the Westport and Plaza areas, with more on the way in other parts of the city, like Brookside, Waldo, and 18th Street and Vine.

That has not yet come to pass. 

Sarah Shipley, director of communications for Kansas City B-Cycle, says the delay is due to the usual challenges of nonprofit bureaucracies. B-Cycle is run by nonprofit BikeWalkKC and largely funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield, but is also trying to use federal funds to partially offset the costs of bike-share stations.

"It's a learning curve for everybody," Shipley says of the program. "We've been caught up a little with the Buy American Act, which requires us to have American-made steel on the bikes. And in other cases, the forms required for some of the things we're trying to do don't even exist because what we're doing is a new idea. So we're looking to states where this has already been adopted and trying to bring those practices here." 

The program started with 12 stations, all in the downtown/Crossroads/River Market area. Since then, one has been added near the Kauffman Center, and Shipley says the first Plaza station, near the Polsinelli building and Hotel Sorella, is set to open soon. She hopes that the 12-15 other stations (which will largely fill in geographic gaps between downtown and the Plaza) will be going in the next few months. "But if we don't get them set up before November, we'll probably wait until spring to put them in," she says. 

Despite the delay, Shipley says BikeWalkKC is pleased with the numbers so far. (The River Market and the Barney Allis Plaza stations are the two most popular, she reports.) "We're really happy with the enthusiasm for the program," she says. "It's just a matter of getting more stations so it makes more sense to use them, and we're trying to make that happen as soon as possible." 

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