Gearing Up: Mayor announces new boulevards at Bike Share launch

Originally published in The Burg.

October 5, 2017 - Community members joined city officials this morning for the official launch of the Harrisburg Bike Share, where the mayor also announced a new initiative to encourage motorists to share the road with cyclists.

Speaking from the atrium at Strawberry Square, Mayor Eric Papenfuse said that the city will establish its two bike boulevards in the spring on low-speed, low-traffic streets. A boulevard on Aberdeen Street will connect the Capitol complex and the Harrisburg Transportation Center, and another on North Street will extend from the Capitol to Riverfront Park.

The city will paint both roads with “sharrows,” road signs indicating a shared lane for cyclists and motorists. The signals do not designate the roads as bike-only lanes.

Other than the road signals, the bike boulevards will not receive additional traffic control mechanisms or construction.

Though they may be a small step, the boulevards are part growing bike infrastructure in Harrisburg, Papenfuse said.

“Soon, we will have an interlocking system of bike lanes and bike boulevards in the city,” he said.

He added that the city hopes to create bike lanes on 2nd street when it is repaved and painted for two-way traffic, a project still a few years away.

Harrisburg’s Bike Share has been in operation since last Friday. The program comprises 55 communal bicycles docked at 11 stations throughout the city’s Midtown, Uptown and downtown neighborhoods.

Ryan Riley, president of Communities in Schools Pennsylvania, the organization spearheading the program, said 145 new members have collectively taken 205 trips with the Bike Share since last Friday.

Riley also reported that two docking stations are forthcoming at the Harrisburg Transportation Center. All nine others are already installed and operable.

The Bike Share is sponsored by the Dauphin County Commissioners, Strawberry Square and Highmark. All technical support and bike maintenance is managed by Zagster, a startup that operates more than 100 bike shares across the country.

Riders must pay to use the bikes, which they can unlock through the Zagster phone app. A $25 annual membership gives riders free access to bikes for periods shorter than two hours and then charges $2 for each hour after that. “Pay as You Go” members will be charged $2 for each hour they use a bike.

Users who register in October can get a $10 discount on annual memberships by entering the promo code “rideharrisburg” in the Zagster App.