Boulder B-cycle hopes to add 13 more bike-sharing stations on or near the University of Colorado campus by 2020 — with nearly half of those possibly coming in the next year.
The additional bikes at CU are part of B-cycle's overall expansion plan in Boulder, which will increase the number of bike-share stations in the city from 22 to between 49 and 67 stations by 2020.
In order for the bike-sharing program to be successful in Boulder, B-cycle director James Waddell said, it has to be successful at CU.
"We feel that employment density and residential density are the keys to making bike-sharing work," he said. "I sit here and I look and go, 'Where's the density?' There at the University of Colorado. It's the tipping point."
Adding more stations near CU and around Boulder will help more riders during "the last mile" to their home, work or school, Waddell said.
"This is an alternative for the day when you don't have your bike," Waddell said. "For the day you might want to take public transit. It's a first-mile and last-mile solution."
There currently are three bike-share stations on or near CU's campus, Waddell said. The three stations are at 19th Street and Boulder Creek, at Broadway and Euclid Avenue and at Broadway and University Avenue.
At least three of the new CU-centric bike-share stations should be installed early in 2014, Waddell said. Another four could be added later in 2014 or early in 2015. The final six stations are projected to be installed sometime between 2015 and 2020.
The new stations will be installed at locations such as 28th Street and Boulder Creek, 21st Street and Arapahoe Avenue, Broadway and Baseline Road and 13th Street and College Avenue.
The new stations will be paid for by federal grant money and by CU. B-Cycle has offered some of the stations to CU at a discounted rate.
B-cycle also offers students a discounted annual membership at $40, down from the regular $65 annual membership. Waddell said B-cycle is currently creating some other discounts and incentives to encourage the CU community to utilize the bike-sharing system.
CU 'should be a national leader'
Out of 22 stations in Boulder, the three current stations serving CU rank eighth, 14th and 19th for number of rides taken in the last year.
Just 61 of Boulder B-cycle's 1,500 annual members are affiliated with the university, a number that Waddell said he hopes will increase with the addition of new stations around campus.
In order to increase the usage of B-cycle bikes overall, Waddell said, the system needs more stations to make bike-sharing a convenient and feasible way to get around.
More bikes in more places means users can realistically use the system to get close to their destination, he said.
CU has a long way to go before it reaches the level of bike-share usage at the University of Wisconsin, which uses the Madison B-cycle program.
In Madison, the university population accounts for more than two-thirds of all B-cycle annual memberships, and 11 of the city's 33 bike-sharing stations are on or near the campus, Waddell said.
"We think that the University of Colorado really should be a national leader in any kind of alternative transportation options, mobility options," Waddell said. "Anything we can do to reduce vehicle trips as a city, it's a pretty collective effort from everybody."
Brandon Smith, manager for CU's sustainable transportation program, said the additional bike-sharing stations also will complement CU's existing bike and alternative transportation infrastructure.
CU has a semester-long bike rental program, Smith said, but the university can't keep up with the demand for bikes.
The 200 bikes available to rent are snatched up in two days, Smith said, so bike-sharing is an alternative for many students, faculty and staff.
The same goes for CU's Buff Bikes program, which includes 90 bikes for CU students, faculty and staff to rent for 48 hours.
That program isn't offered to the non-CU community, though, Smith said, which can be problematic for students with family in town or for prospective students.