Bike share moves forward


Sustainability at UW-Whitewater

Whitewater Student Government President Tom Kind sits on a Spin ride-share bicycle

Nicole Aimone, News Editor

A move toward creating an environmentally sustainable mode of transportation for University of Wisconsin-Whitewater students – a fleet of gray and baby blue bicycles – has become unsustainable.

As a result, the university is looking into signing a contract with Spin, a bicycle-sharing company based in San Francisco, California, and the city signed onto that contract Tuesday night at the Common Council meeting by a 6-0-1 vote. Ald. Lynn Binnie (Dist. 4) was not in attendance at the meeting.

“The city is kind of piggybacking onto the campus’ agreement,” Brad Marquardt, director of the Public Works department, said.

Under this agreement, Spin would work with the Parks and Recreation department to locate the bikes each night to be returned to a central location.

Under the contract with Spin, users would locate and pay an hourly rate for bikes with the use of an app off of their smartphones. Once a user no longer needs the bike, they can just leave the bike wherever they are, and the next user can come retrieve the bike. The bikes’ wheels lock up when not being used.

Users with an email address ending in will pay $.50 for each half hour spent with the bike, and those without will pay $1 for every 30 minutes the bikes are in their possession.

The council voted to remove the exclusivity clause from Spin’s contract.

The issue of Spin in relation to other bike rentals in the city was brought forth by Ald. Stephanie Goettl (Dist. 5). She discussed if while having Spin present in the city other bike share companies would also be allowed to do business.

“I’d like to see our local businesses still be able to, if they’d like to, do this,” Goettl said.

While the idea of a bike-share was embraced at the meeting, the amount of space needed to store them – and the lack of available bike stalls currently in the city – was raised.

Resident Lisa Dawsey Smith suggested that the city and campus work with local business when installing the bikes so that business owners can understand how this program will impact them.

Whitewater resident Dan Courier, expressed his concern that the city is in need of more bike racks to service the amount of bikes coming from campus and bikers who visit the surrounding nature trails.

The council discussed a possible location for the bikes that would follow city rules and could not be parked in the right-of-way areas that would inhibit the function of the downtown area.

“We are kind of trying to find an area that would be not intrusive to put the bikes but still be accessible,” Ald. Carol McCormick (Dist. 1) said. “We were talking about the lake, but you don’t want to block the lake, so it’s still under discussion.”