UBike rack at UVa

Curious about the bike sharing experiment at the University of Virginia?  You are not alone.

A group of students studying transportation and land use at the University of Virginia has developed a proposal to gauge support for a community wide bike share program in the City of Charlottesville.

The “Bike Share-lottesville” initiative is designed around the same concepts as the recently launched UBike program.  The students hope to promote biking as a transportation choice with a program allowing rental of bikes at an hourly, daily or annual rate.

The group has developed a survey to measure the support of a bike share program outside of the University.

“Most of us are already engaged in the student population,” said UVa student Zachary Hanson. “We want the population of people taking the survey to reflect City and County, not just UVa.”

UBikes at UVa may be ridden anywhere as long as they are returned to UBike hubs, which are located throughout Central Grounds and the UVa Health System. This system is available for all local community members but the biking routes are limited to the university area.

Hanson said bike sharing has come a long way since the city’s failed experiment 10 years ago to make yellow bikes available for free Downtown.

The group wants to support a more dependable system with access along the West Main corridor to the Downtown Mall.  They see bike sharing as complementing the existing public transit system to provide access where the buses do not travel.

Another goal is for the bike share program to be financially sustainable and easily accessible to residents, workers, visitors and tourists.

“A main objective is promoting equity and ensuring that different neighborhoods have the same level of access to a bike share program,” said Hanson.

Hanson said it’s not clear if it will be implemented but the city is essentially a prospective client and may be interested in having a bike share program.

“We are going to collect the results from the survey to make it easy for people to see how Charlottesville views bike sharing,” said Hanson.

The survey is anonymous and the group encourages community members to participate by April 22.

The survey can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BPFVYMR .