- Associated Press - Saturday, April 26, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A committee of University of Nebraska-Lincoln students has proposed a bike-share program in the city to help alleviate crowding on buses that shuttle students between campuses and to reduce the school’s carbon footprint.

The UNL Environmental Sustainability Committee is pushing the idea, in which riders could buy memberships or day passes to gain access to bikes they can ride between stations and kiosks, the Lincoln Journal Star reported (http://bit.ly/1hy6UWT ) Saturday.

Committee members Reed Brodersen and Thien Chau studied popular bike-share systems in Madison, Wis.; Minneapolis and a new one in Omaha to see how it might work in Lincoln.

Madison’s system, B-cycle, has 35 stations and 350 bikes that can be used through annual or monthly memberships. In 2013, people took 81,662 bike trips over 269 days in Madison. The 15,360 unique users included 1,843 annual members. Madison plans to add five stations and 50 bikes this year.

Chau said a similar system in Lincoln would complement the city’s bus system, allowing students to use established trails connecting UNL’s traditional and east campuses and other parts of the city. The bike-share program also could be a point of entry for more Lincoln residents to get into recreational biking, Chau said.

“We really want to see this integrated into the city as a whole, to give more access to downtown, the Haymarket and businesses there,” Brodersen said.

UNL’s student senate expressed support for the idea in December. Now, Brodersen and Chau are taking their proposal to university administrators and city leaders.

Last week, committee members and Bike UNL promoted the program during Bikefest and passed out surveys to gauge student interest.

Brodersen said 80 surveys have been returned. The committee hopes to hear from 300 students.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com

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