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Great news for visitors

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Great news for visitors

www.startribune.com/local/95738134.html…

I often suggest bike rental with no decent (consistent) option for such rental. This would seem to make the idea of renting a bike to tour around key sites so much easier.

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1. Re: Great news for visitors

I think it's a GREAT idea, and for only $60/year I'd be tempted to do that at least for the first year.

I have very limited storage at my condo to store a bike, so if there's a location downtown, I'm game.

I have read about the bike programmes they have in Paris, but if your card doesn't have a chip in it, it's hard for USA travellers to rent.

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2. Re: Great news for visitors

Those bike stalls were everywhere in Paris. But yeah, no uniformity in credit card security meant we were not privy. Which was fine. My wife is not much of a rider -- at least not in a place where she has no idea where she's going.

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3. Re: Great news for visitors

I found my first bike kiosk. They must have just put it up sometime today, since it wasn't there this a.m.

It's across from St. Anthony Main Theaters, under the 3rd Avenue / Central bridge. There weren't any bikes there yet, and the posters weren't up, but the pay machine had the website: www.NiceRideMN.org.

The site shows the map of all the initial kiosks, and it looks like there are a tonne of them.

http://www.niceridemn.org/map_soon/

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4. Re: Great news for visitors

Hopefully phase 2 kiosk location takes us south of Lake Street -- with closer access the Minnehaha Park and Fort Snelling trail and the Minnehaha Parkway trail over to Nokomis to Harriet. Not that you couldn't snap up a bike near Calhoun Square there and head over but I see them adding some in the south and northeast next time.

For the No. 1 biker's city in the US, this is fantastic. Hopefully cuts some car traffic and lets visitors have an easy way to see the sights. I mean, the ride from Harriet to Minnehaha Park is a treasure of urban park greenery and architecture. Now visitors have a way to enjoy it.

Edited: 08 June 2010, 13:58
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5. Re: Great news for visitors

I see I have a kiosk withing 20 paces of my office building's front door at Cedar Riverside. That will allow me to ditch parking fees when I head over to lunch on the UM campus where my wife works -- or over the Riverside hospital in business. Or down to the Hennepin/6th kiosk for a Twins game. All free rides as they'll be under 30 mins.

Leave the car in the lot. This is outstanding.

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6. Re: Great news for visitors

I have seen the one at Cedar & Washington (perhaps same one as MNtoathens Cedar Riverside one?). From what I saw there, plus this article, I'm really of mixed thoughts and opinions.

Strictly practical concern...the system puts a $250 security deposit on the credit card you use, according to the pay box. I fully understand why they'd do that as the system needs to know they have a way to recover the cost if you don't return the bike. That said, how long does that deposit hold? Is it like hotels or car rentals, where the extra security hold sits on the card for 2-7 business days? That is a problem for people using debit cards, where it's "real" money being held as opposed to just available credit on a true credit card. Hopefully people who avail themselves to the service will keep this in mind and not start bouncing checks because they mistakenly used a bike and then wrote checks on an account that had a freeze on their cash.

On other concerns...I have actually started seriously thinking about biking to work 3 days a week as a means of getting exercise, to the point of this last weekend doing a trial run to time it out. My current day job is primarily office and with too much access to food - not a great combination for the waistline and gut of a guy who loves his beer and food. Therefore, while I have my own bike, I can have an appreciation for people using bikes and seems like an interesting concept.

My concern is how this is funded. If it were entirely funded by private dollars, I say so be it. Private company makes the investment and profit should there turn out to be a profit. If they lose money, that was the chance the company took. However, that's not the case and my concern is this may have more to do with ideology than practical need in the marketplace. Yes, I'm showing a little of my political thoughts here - which I am reluctant to do on this forum as this is not the place for politics. It's a place for travel discussion. However, having personally seen the racks (if still waiting for actual bikes) made it "hit home" a little more for me.

In the end, if this is a means of encouraging tourism and travel in Minneapolis, I will probably stomach it. I just wish it was purely privately funded...

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7. Re: Great news for visitors

I think I read that it's credit cards only, no debit cards.

I also read it's $60 a year, and then an hourly charge, but first 30 min is free. So you ride from kiosk to kiosk and swap out old bike for new bike to get a new free 30 min.

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8. Re: Great news for visitors

wouldbe,

I think your questions are warranted, and to be honest, I think you and I align generally on spending. The reason I found value in this program is that it allows the city to capitalize on infrastructure we've already invested in. Squeezing more out of your existing investments, so to speak.

Most notably:

1. Light rail. One of the major problems with light rail is parking. Aside from the park and ride lots at 28th, Fort Snelling (neither much of a help to people in Minneapolis) and Lake Street (small lot it a pretty vulnerable area with crime), there is no option to drive to a light rail station and park. Streets nearby most stations are permit only to prevent exactly that.

I think the biking program facilitates use of light rail and public transportation in general. Getting to bus and train stops -- usually for free if you're in the city (once they expand kiosk locations past phase 1 at least) at an important time when we're preparing for expansion -- specifically the line to St. Paul thru the UM campus. I think the fact that there are bike stalls near the light rail stops is addressing this issue. And the fact that 30-minute and shorter rides are free encourages use. And cuts down on cars on the road, which is good for roads and good for air quality and good for helping ease traffic gridlock.

2. Bike trails. It's no secret that Minneapolis is a national leader in bike trail miles per capita. With more (like the Minnehaha greenway) to come. I think it's more than (where I agree with you) a caving to the ideology of the biking elite in this city. I think the city saw real value in tapping into those population segments who don't bike as much as they might to get to work or the train or to parks or to stores or to friends houses' etc. I don't think this is a bike for recreation/enjoyment push. I think it's a push by the city to make it so easy to bike to the store or work that people have no reason to say no any more. And that is good for the city and squeezes more out of the investment this city made in bike trails.

As for the amount of the investment .... that is a touchy subject. I'm against much of the free spending seen in this state to preserve little pockets of eliteness, as I like to call it. One example is the Shubert Theater restoration. That baffles me. How does that serve the greater public. You can even argue the same for the new Guthrie (as much as I love it). If we're really examining dollars here, I have some real questions about just how bad the old theater was (which I loved dearly).

This I see as a program that has a clear benefit to the city -- at a pretty minimal cost to the city directly. The BCBS investment is a third of the cost and the federal tax money bothers me much less than the local tax money. That federal money was destined for such projects somewhere -- meaning it was going to be spent one way or another. Might as well be here.

I know I'm simplifying complicated issues here. But I'm geniunely excited for this program and how it will affect me -- because I'm a self-centered egotist (ha). But if I'm going to enjoy the benefits (at least some ease in traffic -- with more to come once new LRT line is built, less use of my car and cost of gas, ease of getting to Twins games from Cedar Riverside, etc.) then I have to think thousands of others will adopt for the same reason and multiply the benefits.

By the way, I'm actually just south of Cedar Riverside. So the real location is Franklin and Minnehaha. So not the same kiosk, but I have no seen the one at 7 Corners you must have seen. Another good location. I am liking the placement.

Also, IO think DowntownMpls is right on the credit card vs. debit card issue. Although I can't confirm that is the case -- it's what I recall hearing on MPR.

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9. Re: Great news for visitors

Hey MN,

The ideological pragmatist in me almost certainly agrees with your points (though the rabid purist in me wants to argue...not necessarily with you personally but to the issue) I definitely can find more value in this as opposed to various other expenditures (Shubert is definitely one of them, $7M just to move the building?). In fact, the purist in me still isn't fond of public money for a Target Field - and that's from the mouth of a baseball and Twins fan. I will say it appears there is quite a fair amount of private money invested, which helps the issue.

Let's hope the program works well and is another small item that lends itself to a more vibrant city.

On the debit card issue...probably a good thing overall. Too many times I've seen people not think about a hold being put on their debit card/checking account and then getting upset or stuck when checks start bouncing. Ultimately, it's their own responsibility but not always a well-known thought. I can also tell you that banks are never as fast to release holds on cards as they are to put the hold on the card!

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10. Re: Great news for visitors

THE BIKES ARE THERE !! as of Thurs 06/10 at 6 a.m.

I walked past the St. Anthony Main kiosk this a.m. and the bikes were there, the signs up, and looks like the machine is up for business.

It does indicate no debit cards, and only MasterCard & Visa - no other card logos were indicated.

I think the kick-off is this a.m. with the Mayor along Nicollet Mall.

I tried to notice the three Nicollet Mall kiosk locations on my walk, but they didn't stick out. I'll try to seek them out.

I haven't ridden a bike in YEARS and I think I'll try this weekend.