This week the Town of Greenwich issued an RFP for a bike share program. Qualified Bike Share firms are invited to propose a turn‐key program aimed primarily at helping teens, but would be available to the general public.
The idea is to launch a financially self‐sustaining, automated on‐demand system that would provide an alternative to personal vehicles.
Many have either heard of CitiBike, or perhaps ridden one in New York City, where it is possible to hop on and off the blue cruisers from stations almost anywhere in Manhattan and some surrounding areas.
The RFP in Greenwich was made on behalf of the Junior League of Greenwich, who evaluated ways to assist teens impacted by the pandemic.
“We discovered that a major stressor for many teens is lack of accessible public transportation,” said JLG president Karen Richard. “Bicycling – and access to safe, well-maintained bikes – will help fill this unmet need and provide independence to these adolescents.”
First Selectman Fred Camillo partnered with the League to send out the RFP, calling it an excellent idea.
“A bike share program in Greenwich is in keeping with our desire to offer more biking opportunities in a safe and convenient manner,” Camillo said. “The concept is also environmentally beneficial as encouraging people to walk, hike, bike, and rideshare will lessen the vehicular impact on our roads and in our neighborhoods.”
The RFP, issued on behalf of the office of First Selectman, specifies a goal of launching this spring with at least 30 “traditional pedal bikes” in spring 2022. Proposals are due by February 1.
“The goal is to start small and add locations as needed based on demand,” Richard said.
Vendors are asked to recommend an optimal system size and density based on their expertise, especially determining “high volume areas for teenage activity.” The town will review bike stations with the winning bidder.
According to Pedal Greenwich, there will be challenges for a potential vendor. Bidders have to shoulder all the costs and Greenwich is a small market, with a challenging streetscape for cyclists. But Pedal Greenwich also notes that the Jr League has an admirable track record of delivering community amenities through public-private partnerships, such as the Greenwich Pool in Byram Park and the skate park.
The Jr League sees this as a transit and mobility opportunity, enabling teens to hold a job or take part in after-school activities, that will also provide stress release through outdoor exercise.
Pedal Greenwich founder Bob DeAngelo agreed. “It is an especially great idea for teens going to and from Greenwich High School and other places they frequent,” he said.
Mr. DeAngelo has advised the Junior League on how accessible streets and roads are for cyclists, which is sure to be a factor in whether it is a success.
For example, Greenwich High School is not particularly easy for cyclists to get to safely because of its location on East Putnam Ave.
Pedal Greenwich has begun raising the issue with groups planning construction for three different projects along a 2000 foot stretch of the road by the high school: the new GHS entryway, a bridge just east of the school set for replacement, and a new apartment building proposed for 5 Brookridge.
“We believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to also create a protected, mixed use path for bikes and pedestrians parallel to Route 1 there, so students and others can safely get to and from neighborhoods east, west, north and south,” Pedal Greenwich said. “This and other targeted infrastructure improvements would go a long way toward making good on the promise of a bicycle share program.”
Pedal Greenwich are advocates for bike and pedestrian safety. Their vision is a town where safe, friendly and connected neighborhoods enhance everyone’s quality of life.