Mayor Greg Fischer announced that with the financial backing of nine local businesses, Louisville’s bike share program will launch this spring and will be called LouVelo.
LouVelo is owned by Louisville Metro, which has contracted with CycleHop, a leading operator of major municipal bike share programs throughout North America, to run the program. The LouVelo network will begin with 300 bikes positioned at 28 bike share stations in downtown, Old Louisville, NuLu, near Waterfront Park, and points in between.
Another 15 stations are under consideration to expand the network. The city is working with the University of Louisville with an aim to place multiple stations on the school’s Belknap campus by fall 2017. Plans for expansion into other neighborhoods, such as Russell and the Highlands, are also being developed.
The service makes bicycles available for short-term use. The bikes can be picked up at one station and returned to any other station in the system, which makes it easy for people looking to get from one location to another during the work or school day without driving a car, and those riding for leisure, recreation or just touring the city.
LouVelo sponsors include Norton Healthcare, JP Morgan Chase & Co., UPS, Main & Clay, Genscape Inc., The Brown Hotel, KentuckyOne Health, Atria Senior Living, and The Eye Care Institute.
“These great community partners know that quality of life is a critical factor in maintaining and growing a talented workforce in Louisville,” Mayor Fischer said. “LouVelo is one of the many things we’re doing to enhance quality of life in our city.”
“We are pleased to be a sponsor of the bike share program,” said Russell F. Cox, president and CEO of Norton Healthcare. “LouVelo’s goal of offering bicycles across the community aligns with our mission to improve the health of our community.”
The Mayor noted that bike sharing is part of the Move Louisville long-term multimodal transportation plan, which calls for accommodating all users of the city’s transportation system — pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and public transit riders — in the best ways possible. It’s also a great way for people to reduce their carbon footprints and increase wellness while serving the routine objective of getting from one place to another.
LouVelo is another way that Louisville is growing its network of cycling facilities, such as bike lanes, that are making it easier and safer to get around the city on two wheels.
Dave Nelson, Chief Operating Officer of CycleHop, said “We are excited to offer a new mode of public transportation to the residents and visitors of Louisville. Providing healthy, sustainable and fun transit alternatives is at the core of CycleHop’s mission. We are very grateful to Mayor Fischer, our sponsors and everyone in Louisville Metro who has made this mission a reality.”
An official launch will be announced soon. Riders will then be able to buy daily, monthly or annual passes. Until then LouVelo is offering a $99 Founding Member plan that includes an unlimited number of 60-minute rides for a whole year. A station map and signup details are available at www.louvelo.com. LouVelo can also be found on Twitter and Facebook under LouVeloBikes.
Startup costs to develop the LouVelo plan and to purchase and install bikes and stations were funded through a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant of $1.1 million matched with $273,000 from Louisville Metro. Operational costs for the program will be covered though user fees, sponsorship, and an annual appropriation from metro in the amount of $50,000.