|Friday, Jun 22, 2012|
On June 4th, the National Park Service celebrated the installation of 30 new bike share stations in downtown Saint Paul along the Mississippi River and within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MISS). National Park Rangers lead the celebratory bike ride from downtown Saint Paul, across the river, to Harriet Island Regional Park. Partners joining the National Park Service included Nice Ride MN, City of Saint Paul, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota (BCBS), MnDOT, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, BCBS CEO Ken Burdick, and over 80 members of the general public to announce the first-of-its-kind bike share program in a national park.
The National Park Service contributed $480,000 towards development of the bike share system, which now totals 146 bike share stations and over 1,300 bikes within riding distance of the park. Each new station displays the National Park Service arrowhead and includes the Ranger on Call tour program, a mobile multimedia tour delivering wayfinding and interpretive information to park visitors and bike share riders.
The National Park Service, through a 2012 grant, will provide an additional $843,140 from the Federal Highway Administration's Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Program (TRIP). Funding will be used to install more stations along the river in Minneapolis next year. The release of Nice Ride bike share stations ties in closely with the park's alternative transportation efforts to expand multimodal access to the river. This includes bus, light and high speed rail, bike trails, water access as well as improvement to bus pads, signage, and ADA accessibility. The park's Mississippi River Companion will be updated with detailed maps illustrating these modes of transportation.
Nice Ride, a company that launched two years ago with stations in Minneapolis, manages the bike share program. There have been over 350,000 rides since the program began.
"The National Park Service is extremely pleased to partner with Nice Ride Minnesota to launch the bike share system in Saint Paul", said Superintendent Paul Labovitz. "It will increase non-motorized access to the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, providing visitors and residents the opportunity to get to the river without a car."