Light rail and bike sharing

Here’s an exciting Journey to Detroit video that explores the types of transportation choices we could have in this area.

Sometime in the not too distant future, John wakes up in suburban Chicago on a Saturday morning and heads to a White Sox game…in Detroit. Join him on a 300 mile journey to Detroit’s Comerica Park as he experiences the transportation options of the future: a neighborhood electric car share program, smart phone ticketing, high-speed rail, and connecting light rail. This clip is brought to you by America 2050 as part of its “A Better Tomorrow” project to visualize America’s future communities and transportation systems.

Notice that bike sharing systems at transit stops and hubs are among the transportation choices. There have been some preliminary discussion of bringing a bike sharing system to Detroit much like other big cities are currently doing. In speaking with NYC DOT Commissioner, she said she believes bike sharing systems will transform America’s large cities.

But what can make bike sharing systems work well is a connection to public transportation. For example, bike sharing could greatly improve the usability of the proposed M1 Rail on Woodward. Bike sharing could connect the M1 Rail to places like Corktown and Eastern Market.

Minneapolis, Minnesota recently studied public bike sharing an developed a non-profit business plan. It seems this plan could possibly be applied to Detroit.

Minneapolis will launch their “Nice Ride” bike sharing program this summer. They recently chose a vendor and will have 1,000 bikes in 80 kiosks — 65 of those kiosks by this June. It’ll be interesting to see how well their system works and how it could be replicated in Detroit.

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4 Responses to “Light rail and bike sharing”

  1. Joel Batterman Says:

    If I may change the subject slightly, have bicycle advocates weighed in on the position of the M1 light rail tracks? Judging from my experience in Portland, it appears that siting the tracks down the middle of Woodward would best allow for the future creation of bike lanes or cycletracks on the avenue (in addition to allowing more comfortable pedestrian crossings at stations. If the tracks are laid down the outer lanes, as I believe was proposed in the original private plan, this may prohibit the addition of bike infrastructure.

  2. kelli Says:

    Hey Todd, check out this article: — It definitely shows a side to bike sharing that I don’t think I’ve ever heard about elsewhere.

  3. Todd Scott Says:


    We’ve met with both the Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP), who is handling design issues, as well as MDOT. We’ve expressed our concerns (same as yours) about their alignment and on-road bicycle facilities. It’s apparent that their highest priority is having a successful light rail project. Accommodating bicycles isn’t at the top of their list and we’re not in the inner design circle. That said, the trains will have bike hooks for carrying bikes.

  4. Todd Scott Says:


    From what I understand, the advertising company that pays for the Paris system was re-negotiating their contract with the city during this time. They were trying to highlight this bike damage/cost issue in hopes of getting a better contract. I’m not sure if those problems are as big as they have been portrayed.

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