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Bikeshare: A System for Everyone

by Juli Kaufmann and Nancy Ketchman

A complete transportation system is accessible to everyone.   This has been a guiding principle of Midwest Bike Share since its inception and integral to our strategic plan.  Well before the first Bublr Bike stations were installed in downtown Milwaukee, Bublr Bike board members and staff made it a priority to reach out to neighborhood residents, business owners, and elected officials throughout Milwaukee to introduce bike share, get feedback, and incorporate suggestions about pricing, station locations, and more. With cycling increasing across all demographics, it makes sense to place bike share stations where people are cycling and where people want to be cycling…which is everywhere.

While the majority of bike share systems in the U.S. are increasing outreach to communities typically underserved by bike share systems, they usually do it after the launch of their system.  Bublr Bikes has tipped that approach on its head by connecting broadly with residents and stakeholders well before the first system-connected station was installed in Red Arrow Park.  Access for everyone is our fundamental priority.

In May, Nancy Ketchman, Bublr Bike’s outreach representative, and Juli Kaufmann, a member of Midwest Bike Share’s Board of Directors, began meeting with community residents in a variety of forums: Business Improvement District (BID) meetings, one-on-one with community stakeholders, presentations to neighborhood associations, and appearances at local events (such as Layton Boulevard West Neighbors Mobile Bike Hubs and Sixteeenth Street Community Health Center’s Southside Bicycle Day). Many additional efforts are scheduled and will continue into this fall, including Walnut Way Conservation Corp.’s 2014 Harvest Day, the Hank Aaron 5K Run/Walk, and public presentations at libraries throughout Milwaukee (such as the Center Street, Washington Park and Central libraries).

Whenever possible, these outreach sessions showcase an actual bike share bicycle so that all fellow Milwaukeeans can experience the bike – ride it around the block, kick the tires, check out the details. A survey was also created (available in both English and Spanish) so that residents can provide feedback about bike share. Will you use it? Is it affordable? Where would you like a station in your neighborhood?

Responses so far, both at community events and via survey responses, have been very positive.  Both residents and business owners from all across Milwaukee are eager for bike share to expand to their neighborhoods and see it as a great way to get around Milwaukee with transportation that is environmentally friendly, affordable, healthy and, yes, just plain fun.

As Bublr Bikes expands throughout Milwaukee, we will continue to collaborate with community members to ensure that the system is affordable and accessible to every Milwaukeean. That’s what we consider a complete transportation system.  That’s also our way of better connecting all of us to each other.

For a complete list of community events in August and September, click here:Community Events 2014 Aug Sept Bublr Bikes.