City-parish getting $593K in federal dollars for BikeShare program

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify the cost of phase one of the BikeShare program  and complete capital cost. 

The city-parish is slated to receive $593,904 in federal funds from the Transportation Alternatives Program to finance its planned BikeShare program, which aims to increase mobility and create another transportation option in the parish.

TAP funds help pay for alternative transportation projects, including on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities. The funding will cover 80% of the cost for phase one of Baton Rouge BikeShare and will be funneled through the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

To receive the dollars, the Metro Council must authorize Mayor Sharon Weston Broome to enter into an agreement with DOTD, which is up for introduction at the council’s Oct. 11 meeting. A public hearing is scheduled for Oct. 25.

BikeShare aims to launch in mid-2018, with phase one and complete capital cost of the full project will cost $3 million over a five-year period, says Lindsey West, Baton Rouge BikeShare director. The timeline is tentative.

The city-parish also is contributing a local match of $260,000 set aside last year under former Mayor Kip Holden. Corporate sponsorships, which will be unveiled in coming weeks, and system revenues will make up the roughly $2.1 million difference and sustain the system, West says, adding the program will not be a line item in the state or city-parish budgets.

The one-time TAP allocation will be used to purchase 820 bikes as well as the program’s technology and docking stations. The corporate dollars and user revenues will pay for five years worth of operational costs for phase one of the program.

The first phase includes placing 510 bikes at 51 stations downtown, at LSU, and Southern University. The program expands to Mid City and the Baton Rouge Health District in phases two and three, respectively.

Citizens can use the bikes for about $6 per day or around $75 per year.

—Alexandria Burris

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