Traffic in Cool Springs and Franklin may be less of a bother if you can coast past it on a bike, which is part of the reason the Transportation Management Association is implementing a bikesharing program for the Franklin/Cool Springs area.
Earlier this year, the TMA Group was awarded an “active transportation” grant of $2.65 million to put in place a bikeshare program in the corporate corridor in Cool Springs and the downtown Franklin area. The bikes will be available for 24 hour use and be placed in highly popular areas of Cool Springs and Franklin.
“It was determined that this kind of project would definitely be something that would be beneficial to this area, and that we had enough of the really good mix of the economic development engine that Cool Springs is and the retail component. Also, the retail in downtown Franklin as well as the tourism,” said Debbie Henry, Executive Director of the TMA Group.
Bikes will be set up in docking stations with a payment and information kiosk nearby. Those interested can do the bikeshare for a day, or become a member and pay for use of the bikeshare program for a month or a full year. Members will receive a smart card that works with all docking stations for the amount of time that has been paid for by the user.
“We are currently reviewing the rates of neighboring bike share systems. Most systems offer a 24 hour rate, a weekly rate, a monthly rate, and an annual rate; I anticipate our system will be very similar,” Henry said.
The bikes are fairly high tech with their ability to communicate with the docking stations and a built in GPS tracker in case a bike is lost or stolen. They also have changeable gears, adjustable seats and baskets for carrying goods.
“You can use the bike system multiple times through the day, or you can use it once a month one month and then use it countless times the next month, but it’s convenient, it’s there for your use. You don’t have to worry about the maintenance. That will all be taken care of by us,” Henry said.
The bikeshare program is planned to be implemented over four years time. The first phase will set up 15 docking stations with 11 stations along Cool Springs corporate corridor and four stations around the downtown Franklin area. This should happen within the next year or so.
For the second phase, in year three, TMA plans to add eight stations and 80 bikes, the locations of which will be determined by information gathered in phase one about where the next set of stations will benefit the most people.
“We wanted to have that flexibitily and the main thing was putting the number down and having a projection of quality. When all is said and done we hope to have 23 stations and 225 bikes,” Henry said.
Each bike costs about $1,300 to get onto the streets, so the first phase of the bikeshare program will cost about $200,000 for the set up of 150 bikes at 15 stations, with 10 bikes at each station. The rest of the grant will go towards further implementation, maintenance and future improvements.
“The vision for this has always been that we provide a very convenient, efficient, environmentally friendly bike transit system for the community, which enhances the accessibility and connectivity as well as of course the health and quality of life, and then the tourism experience,” Henry said.
Some of the locations for the proposed first 15 stations are Harlinsdale park, Williamson Medical Center, Pinkerton park, Ovation, Whole Foods, 5-Points, and Columbia State Community College.
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