Access to a popular bike-sharing program is about to get easier, especially in the city’s Downtown and for those making a trip to a new beer garden on the East Side.
Madison B-Cycle is adding more racks at the top of State Street, Library Mall and at Olbrich Park. The fleet of 350 bikes in the city will not grow, but the additional rack stations are designed to reduce travel time between what will be 40 to 45 rack stations primarily on the Near West, Downtown, Near East and East sides of the city.
“We have plenty of bikes to support the additional locations,” said Morgan Ramaker, executive director of the B-Cycle program. “This should make it a little bit easier to find bikes. It helps that balancing of bikes being in the right places happen a little bit more naturally.”
B-Cycle, a program of Trek Bicycle in Waterloo, was launched in 2011 to provide access to bikes for short trips in the city. The program has more than 2,500 members who pay $65 a year and thousands more who use the program each year for $6 a day. Trips are limited to 30-minute increments but a $15 monthly membership allows for 60-minute rides, according to the B-Cycle website.
A nine-dock station is being added at State and Carroll streets, as is a 10-dock station in the 100 block of West Mifflin Street, the area known as Philosopher’s Grove. Library Mall at the opposite end of State Street will get a 10-dock station, and an 11-dock station will be installed near the new beer garden at Olbrich Park Beach. Street construction around Capitol Square has forced the temporary removal of a station at Hamilton and Main streets, but a temporary replacement location for the seven-dock station on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard could become permanent, Ramaker said.
The new racks, installation of which should be complete by next week, are designed to help the network increase so ultimately it will be no more than a five-minute walk between stations.
“These are some great spots that are super-convenient for visitors and for residents,” Ramaker said. “We’re getting to that level of density that we think makes sense for the Downtown area.”