'The city's ready for it': Advocacy group wants to bring bikeshare to Edmonton
Bikeshare Alberta rallying government, business, community groups for support
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A new advocacy group hopes to bring bikesharing to Edmonton.
Bikeshare Alberta launched a campaign Thursday with support from business leaders, post-secondary institutions and community organizations.
“The city’s ready for it,” said the group’s co-founder Kieran Ryan.
“We’ve put in these bike lanes, as a city we have a lot of the other things – we have Uber, we have Pogo and car sharing – and bikesharing is kind of the next step.”
Bikeshare Alberta is not sure how the system would roll out or what it would cost at this point, but has spoken with government officials and technology providers. Ryan said there are bikeshare operators in other North American cities that are interested in serving the Edmonton market.
Co-founder Tim Querengesser, a former Metro Edmonton editor, said bikesharing would get people cycling who aren’t already, and would help people connect to parts of the city that are too far to go between on foot.
“You think of the river valley, you think of Ritchie Market, you think of 124 Street, you think of all these things that we have that are just a bit too far to get to on foot for most people. Bikeshare really makes that a walkable thing,” he said.
Montreal’s bikeshare system ran for 213 days in 2017 and saw 4.8 million trips.
Querengesser said bikeshares in smaller cities like Hamilton prove it could also be successful in Edmonton.
Downtown Business Association Executive Director Ian O’Donnell said it would be a good way to boost ridership on Edmonton’s bike lanes.
“I think it’s important that if we’re going to invest in a bike system, this is a component of that,” he said.
“The more efficiently people can get around downtown and in central Edmonton, the better.”
MacEwan University is also backing the idea.
Spokesperson David Beharry said many students and staff members use the downtown bike grid, and a bikeshare program would fit into the school’s campus cycling plan.
“As an institution that brings thousands of students, faculty and staff downtown every day, we are fully supporting creating a bikeshare program,” Beharry said.