In the two meetings I have had recently with Nice Ride (the Minneapolis bike share program) it has become clear to me that the current U.S. model for bike share is not succeeding in lower-income communities at the rate hoped for by bicycle advocates. The reasons for this are layered, including low-density neighborhoods and the current concept of bike share just not solving the transportation problems of certain residents.
Both the executive director and outreach coordinator are very open and honest about why Nice Ride is not hugely successful in North Minneapolis, despite its high profile and positive reputation. As one often skeptical of mainstream bicycle planning, I was pleasantly surprised by all the steps they took to integrate Nice Ride into neighborhoods with a lack of already existing “bike culture.” Nice Ride remains committed to serving North Minneapolis…including in new and exciting ways.
The people at Nice Ride are very open to hearing ideas that would reshape what Nice Ride looks like in North Minneapolis. Like, forget the green bikes and stations. What else can we do?
So you are reading that correctly: they actually WANT ideas. They do not have a plan. But they have funding and bicycles.
Because this is an anomaly in the bike world, I hope this news gets around fast. Nice Ride has specifically requested ideas from bicycle advocates.
Perhaps someone out there has a vision of how Nice Ride can bring bikes to North in a way that would actively serve the community.
You may comment here or contact Nice Ride directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
[[For background on the North side’s relationship with Nice Ride, please see this local NPR article]]