University Hospitals has signed on as the title sponsor of Cleveland's new bike share program debuting this July in time for the Republican National Convention. The bikes will be red and carry several UH logos when they appear this summer.
The move was a major step forward for the program which named Cyclehop last fall to install and manage the bike share program in Cleveland. The deal put forward $446,000 in mostly federal money to get the program off the ground.
"It makes a lot of sense for a city our size and our place in the world," said Mike Foley, Cuyahoga County Director of Sustainability. "It really makes sense for us to have a good solid bike sharing system in place and that's what we got with this new system coming in this summer."
Bike Cleveland Director Jacob VanSickle said the goal is get the system up and running in early July in time for the RNC in 15 to 20 locations downtown.
"And then to really expand it beyond there and having a title sponsor like University Hospitals on board will really help us build that momentum to expand this system so we can serve as many neighborhoods, as many residents as possible," VanSickle said.
"So we'll do a limited launch in July for the RNC then a full launch of 250 bikes, 30 stations by Aug. 1."
"Locations will be focused around downtown surrounding neighborhoods as well as University Circle and surrounding neighborhoods and our goal is to really grow out of those core areas into the neighborhoods as we expand the system," he said.
Riders will rent the bikes paying either by the hour or paying monthly or yearly rates. Unlike other bike share systems these bikes are equipped with GPS systems won't necessarily have to be docked back at a supporting station.
"It really gives flexibility in where you can park the bikes because all of the bikes have GPS units on them so you'll able to pick them up at City Hall and ride it anywhere and lock it up at any rack," VanSickle said.
"What you'll be charged is a little bit more for locking it up there but when you pick it up you get a credit. So it really helps expand the system to more neighborhoods then we'll currently be able to serve with the funding we have now."
The GPS system will also help in the planning of future stations.
"If we see a lot of bikes being parked at a specific spot we'll know we should probably build a station there. It will also help with future bike infrastructure planning if we see a lot of bikes going down a specific road and there aren't dedicated bicycle facilities we'll know maybe we should add some bike lanes or protect the bike lanes in that area," he said.