Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Fort Collins was among 43 communities in 27 states awarded free technical assistance. The City of Fort Collins requested assistance to explore the possibility of establishing or expanding a local bikeshare program. Bikeshare is a service where bicycles are readily available for shared use, usually in multiple, popular locations around a city. The EPA’s assistance is in the form of workshops conducted by EPA staff and national experts on using bikesharing to create additional commuting options. This assistance is designed to provide communities with an overview of bikeshare types, system development, and lessons learned in North America along with key concepts like feasibility, system planning, business plan development, operations, and health, safety, and social equity considerations. After a tour of the community, the EPA team will develop a series of strategies to guide implementation or expansion of bikesharing.
Stacy Sebeczek, Director of the Fort Collins Bike Library notes, “With increasing demand for public transportation by bicycle, we are considering options for enriching our bikesharing program. The timing of this technical assistance couldn’t be more perfect. We love working with the City and other bikeshare stakeholders; our collaboration brings great cohesiveness to this program.”
During the workshop with EPA-funded, private-sector experts, participants will explore ways to make progress toward community goals for environmentally responsible, economically healthy development. Communities will conduct a self-assessment to determine which concepts are most relevant to review.
“This technical assistance can help us improve the existing FC Bike Library and transition to the next phase of bikesharing with a particular focus on complementing the spring 2014 launch of bus rapid transit in the Mason Corridor,” according to Amy Lewin, City of Fort Collins Transportation Planner.
To date, EPA’s assistance through the Building Blocks program has reached 141 communities. EPA selected this year’s recipients from 121 applicants through a competitive process in consultation with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Together, the three federal agencies form the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which coordinates investments in housing, transportation, and environmental protection to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently. In addition to Fort Collins, other selected communities receiving bikesharing assistance are: Denver, New Orleans, Bridgeport (CT) and Portland (ME).
“If we want a healthier environment and a stronger economy, sustainable practices must be part of community development across the country,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “The EPA’s Building Blocks program helps communities invest in sustainable growth techniques, so they can plan for a better future. The short-term, targeted assistance we are providing will help stimulate local economies, while protecting people’s health and safeguarding the environment.”
For more information on the City’s efforts in bicycling, please visit fcgov.com/bikelibrary