Seven communities looking into bike sharing program

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published February 20, 2018

 The MoGo satellite station is the smallest and cheapest of the three bike sharing options under consideration. It has seven docking points and three bikes, and it would cost $14,431.

The MoGo satellite station is the smallest and cheapest of the three bike sharing options under consideration. It has seven docking points and three bikes, and it would cost $14,431.

Image provided by the city of Huntington Woods

 The MoGo smart station for bike sharing has 16 docking points, seven bikes and would cost $27,631.

The MoGo smart station for bike sharing has 16 docking points, seven bikes and would cost $27,631.

Image provided by the city of Huntington Woods

 The MoGo kiosk station for bike sharing has a payment station, 15 docking points, seven bikes and would cost $34,456.

The MoGo kiosk station for bike sharing has a payment station, 15 docking points, seven bikes and would cost $34,456.

Image provided by the city of Huntington Woods

OAKLAND COUNTY — A bike sharing program could be coming to seven local communities in 2019 or beyond.

The cities of Berkley, Royal Oak, Pleasant Ridge, Ferndale, Madison Heights, Huntington Woods and Detroit have been talking about participating in a bike sharing program called MoGo. The program already runs in Detroit.

Recently, the Huntington Woods City Commission approved at its Feb. 13 meeting a letter of support for a Transportation Alternatives Program, or TAP, grant application that Ferndale is looking into applying for by the grant’s March 7 deadline. If the grant is awarded, it will be given to the program for a potential 2019 launch.

“The City Commission is interested in continuing to study it,” City Manager Amy Sullivan said. “We have not made a decision one way or the other whether it is something that would be needed in Huntington Woods. So we’re just continuing to take a look at the program, take a look at the costs, eventually get feedback from residents on their thoughts on the program, and then a decision will be made.”

Sullivan said the two things the city and  the commission want to learn more about are the costs and the interest among residents to have this service available in Huntington Woods.

“In other words, the old ‘if you build it, will they come’ philosophy,” she said. “I’m not sure yet whether residents will take advantage of the bike sharing program.”

The MoGo program has a person buy a pass online, on an app or at a bike station. A person can then take a bike from a station and return it when the rental time ends.

There are three different stations a city can select: a kiosk station that has a payment station, 15 docking points, seven bikes and would cost $34,456; a smart station that has 16 docking points, seven bikes and would cost $27,631; and a satellite station that has a kiosk tech panel, seven docking points and three bikes, which would cost $14,431. The operating costs are a monthly fee of $89 per docking point.

Sullivan said the one-time costs of the stations would be offset by the TAP grant, which would cover 70 percent of that total. The city would have to pay the rest or seek funding from another source.

“It is the operational cost; the monthly cost that would not be offset by the TAP grant would have to be covered by user fees or sponsorships,” she said.

Ferndale has been leading the charge for the program behind the scenes in looking at applying for the grant, though City Planner Justin Lyons said there isn’t much he can share at this point.

“Bike sharing’s been a priority for City Council throughout a few plans — a strategic plan, (the) Ferndale Moves! plan,” he said. “We’re always looking at new ways to get people to and from where they want to go. So we’ve started looking at a program, but at this point it’s kind of too early to share much. We’re exploring what it would cost and what grant opportunities there are right now.”

If the program goes forward, Lyons believes Ferndale would probably want a bigger station, but he stressed that it’s still too early to tell if anything will happen. He said that the city should know more by the summer, when the grants will be awarded.

In terms of asking cities including Huntington Woods to state their interest, Lyons said the Southeast Michigan Council of Goverments, which handles the TAP grant program with the Michigan Department of Transportation, awards points for a variety of reasons, and it is always supportive of regional partnerships. 

“Anytime we apply for a TAP grant, like we did for the neighborhood bike route a few years ago with Oak Park for their improvements at Nine Mile last year, we always look to partner, and we’re always interested in partnering with neighboring communities, because really when you talk about bicycling improvements, if you can only bike around one city, it doesn’t really do the network justice. It’s really more of a ‘let’s try and improve the regional network as a whole,’” he said.