BI­CY­CLES

The Kansas City Star - - News -

BikeWalkKC, through its Kansas City BCy­cle sub­sidiary, cur­rently op­er­ates bike share pro­grams in parts of Kansas City, North Kansas City and at Longview Lake and is de­vel­op­ing a sys­tem of bike share kiosks at sev­eral John­son County parks. The pro­gram al­lows users to grab a bike from a hub, elec­tron­i­cally rent it for a few hours or a day and then re­turn it to the same lo­ca­tion or an­other hub within the bike share net­work.

The Olathe re­port also rec­om­mended the use of “smart bikes,” which con­tain global-po­si­tion­ing sys­tems to avoid the need for ex­pen­sive kiosks and hubs.

The City Coun­cil has been con­sid­er­ing bike shar­ing since last De­cem­ber, when it ac­cepted a grant through the county Parks & Re­cre­ation District that would have helped pay for the ini­tial or­der of 30 bikes.

Park of­fi­cials in­vited the pub­lic to sug­gest bike rental lo­ca­tions and pos­si­ble bike routes through town. Based on that feed­back, the re­port es­ti­mated around 3,400 peo­ple a day would rent bike rides in Olathe.

How­ever, it also de­ter­mined op­er­a­tional and main­te­nance costs for the pro­gram would to­tal around $36,000 a year. Ef­forts by BikeWalkKC and the county park district were un­able to find com­pa­nies or other en­ti­ties will­ing to help cover that cost, which is not in the city bud­get, Meadors said.

He added that the bi­cy­cle grant ex­pires at the end of the year, mean­ing the city was run­ning out of time to make a de­ci­sion.

“It’s not nec­es­sar­ily in the best in­ter­est to rush in be­cause of a dead­line on a grant,” Meadors said.

He said it is pos­si­ble that the city could reap­ply for the grant or a sim­i­lar one next year if it finds the right spon­sors. But of­fi­cials said there’s also con­cern that in­ter­est in bike share pro­grams is de­clin­ing in fa­vor of pro­grams of­fer­ing other rentable ve­hi­cles, like elec­tric scoot­ers or skate­boards.

“As you’re learn­ing from KCMO, they’re not so much go­ing into bike share any­more,” said Brad Clay, deputy parks di­rec­tor. “Now, what do they want to do? They want to do the scoot­ers be­cause it’s low main­te­nance.”

In other busi­ness, the coun­cil on Tues­day sched­uled a pub­lic hear­ing on Dec. 18 to con­sider ap­prov­ing a STAR bond project plan for the pro­posed $271 mil­lion re­de­vel­op­ment of the for­mer Great Mall of the Great Plains lo­ca­tion at In­ter­state 35 and 151st Street.

De­vel­op­ers are seek­ing more than $69 mil­lion in pub­lic in­cen­tives for the Men­tum project, a mix of apart­ments, re­tail space and of­fices based around a 4,000-seat arena that would pro­vide space for ice hockey, con­certs and other events.

STAR bonds al­low de­vel­op­ers to keep fu­ture sales tax rev­enue gen­er­ated on a site to help pay for cer­tain con­struc­tion costs.

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