Someone just got a whole lot of money, $1.78 million to be exact. Nice Ride MN, the Minneapolis bike sharing program launched in 2010, had already announced a planned expansion into North Minneapolis, however thanks to money from several different sources, the expansion this spring is going to be a lot bigger.
The largest contribution for the expansion came from the Bike Walk Twin Cities program, who administered $1 Million dollars under the Transit for Livable Communities Organization (federal dollars). This contribution triggered the release of $500,000 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (thank you big tobacco), and totals one-third of the pledged $1.5 million in matching grants from that group. $250,000 was chipped in by the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, which means that they are going to want to see Nice Ride stations all along University Ave to link up with the light rail line connecting Minneapolis with Downtown Saint Paul. The last $30,000 came from the Macalester College High Winds Fund, which invests in the community surrounding the college (located near Snelling and Grand in Saint Paul).
The combined contributions are going to mean about 50 new Nice Ride stations this year, which nearly doubles the 65 that started the program started with just a year ago. With the success of the program last year, people and organizations seem eager to chip in money to get the program to their area. 2011 will be a critical year for the program and we are anxious to see it continue to grow and hopefully succeed.
Where would you like to see some stations go up?