Company plans to establish bike rental program in New London

New London — A New York-based company plans to provide an incentive for people in the city to get out of their cars.

The city has approved a vendor permit and five-year license agreement with P3 Global Management to establish a series of six bike share stations across the city. This means rental bicycles will be available to commuters and visitors with the swipe of a phone app.

The plan is to have the stations in place by summer 2019 and expand as the need arises.

The bike rental program follows the pattern of Bike New Haven, which started running earlier this year with 100 bikes at two dozen locations and plans to expand to 40 stations. P3 Global has partnered with other sponsors at nine locations nationwide from Hoboken, N.J., to West Palm Beach, Fla. The company is preparing to launch the program in four more cities.

City Planner Sybil Tetteh said the company initially approached the city with the idea for 12 stations. While that still may be possible, Tetteh said some of the proposed locations did not have the space for the 6-foot-by-30-foot stations. A typical sidewalk is only 5 feet wide and the stations likely would impede pedestrian traffic.

Tetteh said the Office of Development and Planning worked to come up with locations in public right-of-ways that have ample space to fit the racks.

The locations of the bike stations approved by the City Council earlier this month include: outside the 112 Broad St. courthouse, Ocean Beach Park, the south side of the Water Street parking garage, Converse Place outside Harbor School, the municipal parking lot on the North side of Tilley Street and Bank Street at Shaw Street.

Rates for the rides are $1.25 for 45 minutes, $8 for a 24-hour period, $20 for a monthly pass and $90 for an annual pass. Lower rates are available for lower income riders, students and seniors.

Following the completion of a New London Downtown Transportation and Parking Study, Tetteh said she expects the city to take steps toward creation of more pedestrian-friendly areas across the city. A shared bike lane, or sharrow, already is established on Bank Street and another planned for Howard Street, she said.

Pedestrian Advisory Committee Chairwoman Terry Horton said the idea seems feasible, considering the uptick in employees at Electric Boat and residential developments cropping up across the city. She also has noticed more bikes on the road in recent years.

“Personally, I think the bike sharing thing is a great idea,” Horton said.

Horton said the city also ought to consider providing additional safety measures, such as the marked and dedicated bike lanes you find in New Haven.

Mary Lynch, the marketing and sponsorship manager for P3 Global Management, said New London and its dense urban area seemed a logical fit for the program.

P3 will maintain the stations and the bike fleet, according to terms of its contract with the city. Lynch said the company looks for local bike shops to partner with. The city has reserved the right to remove or relocate racks if needed.

Editor's Note: This version corrects the spelling of City Planner Sybil Tetteh's name.


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