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Cleveland Launches a Bike Share Study

January 25, 2013 in News, Sustainability, Transportation

Over the next 6 months, Cleveland’s Bike Share Task Force will be taking a look at the feasibility of bike sharing and reviewing recommended business models for operating a system in the city. Building off of recent momentum in cycling and complete and green streets, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability issued a Request for Proposals in autumn 2012 and has contracted with Toole Design Group (TDG) as the lead consultant for this project.

Bike Share Task Force: In anticipation of the feasibility study, the Bike Share Task Force formed to provide a platform to advise the project and to assist with stakeholder engagement. The Bike Share Task Force consists of representatives from many organizations who see the potential benefits of bike sharing in Cleveland:

  • Mayor’s Office of Sustainability
  • ClevelandCity Planning
  • GreenCityBlueLake Institute
  • Bike Cleveland
  • Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
  • Cleveland City Planning Commission
  • Positively Cleveland
  • Midtown Cleveland
  • Ohio City Inc.
  • Downtown Cleveland Alliance/Cleveland Bike Rack
  • Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency
  • Cuyahoga County
  • University Circle Inc.

Consultants: The lead consultant, TDG is a leading engineering, planning, and landscape architecture firm specializing in multi-modal transportation.  TDG served as the author and principal investigator for Bike Sharing in The United States: State of the Practice and Guide to Implementation (2012), an independent study of current bike sharing programs in the United States, on behalf of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The purpose of the guide is to assist communities contemplating bike share with answers to common questions, guidance on conducting feasibility studies, and information on how to successfully launch and manage a program. www.bicyclinginfo.org/bikeshare

BrownFlynn is a sub-consultant that will lead the community engagement portion of the feasibility study. BrownFlynn is a women-owned sustainability and corporate social responsibility consulting firm

bikesharemap

Current bike share systems operating in the United States. Click for an interactive map.

Why Now? Bicycling in Cleveland is on the rise. The most recent American Community Survey indicated an increase of 280% from 2000 to 2010 of people commuting to work by bicycle. Numerous bicycle-related businesses and services have opened in the City, including a commuter bike parking station, The Bike Rack. This past September cyclists and civic leaders created Bike Cleveland, a unified bicycle advocacy organization serving greater Cleveland.

Also, the City has recently adopted two pieces of legislation that will increase safety for the growing number of cyclists:

1. The first Complete and Green Streets ordinance in the state that requires road projects to incorporate best practices in Complete Streets and Green Infrastructure.

2. The Bicycle Transportation Safety ordinance that includes provisions to make streets safer for biking and walking, including a 3-ft passing requirement.

Benefits of Bike Sharing: Bike-sharing in urban areas can positively affect how residents, employees, and visitors experience a city.  Bike-transit systems allow for more people to access cycling for short trips, replace vehicle use, cycle for fitness and recreation, and for tourists and residents alike to explore a city.

Project Details: The Bike Share study is divided into two sections: a feasibility study and, dependent on the results of the feasibility study, an implementation plan for a flexible and automated on-demand bicycle sharing system. The feasibility study will include locations and sitings, integration with the existing transit system, technical discussions, and best practices. The feasibility study will incorporate public engagement in order to gather data about public interest and public feedback pertaining to bike sharing in the City. We anticipate the engagement process will address the particular needs of geographic areas of the City and the transportation network.

If determined feasible, the Implementation Plan portion of the project will provide a concise and comprehensive plan for the launch of the bike share network, including:

  • realistic projected costs of implementation;
  • recommended business model and business plan;
  • timeline for implementation;
  • performance standards/evaluation criteria; and
  • operations and maintenance plan.

Cleveland is  looking forward to launching this project this month and determining if and how bike sharing can be a beneficial option for Cleveland’s citizens, commuters and visitors provide economic development opportunity and reduce our city’s carbon footprint.

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Alternatives Begin Fueling Transit in Northeast Ohio

January 18, 2013 in News, Transportation

A number of Northeast Ohio Transit Agencies have begun to look at alternative ways to fuel public transportation.  Last year, Stark Area RTA unveiled their new Clean Natural Gas system used to fuel a number of new buses at SARTA.

CNG is the Cleaner, Greener, Domestic and more Affordable option.

Cleaner:

Reduces health-harming air pollutants - 95% less particulate matter, carbon monoxide emissions and 80% less nitrogen oxide emissions.  (U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Labratory).

Greener:

Lowers greenhouse gas emissions by 26-29% in cars and light trucks and 23% in medium to heavy-duty vehicles.

Domestic:

98% of natural gas is produced in North America; reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

Affordable:

Costs 25-40% less than diesel fuel (1/3 of the cost of traditional gasoline), has maintenance costs equal to or less than gasoline or diesel vehiles.

SARTA will see a savings of over $300,000 per year by making the switch. 

 

This week, the Greater Cleveland RTA announced that it will be testing out a new hydrogen fuel-cell bus in Cleveland in tandem with the NASA Glenn Fuel Cell Bus 3.jpgResearch Center. From Cleveland.com:

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has teamed with NASA Glenn Research Center to bring the bus to town and keep it refueled at a bus garage in East Cleveland.

The setup is among only a few in the country, supported in part by a federal program testing the practicality of hydrogen-fueled buses.

They run cleaner, quieter and more efficiently than diesel-fueled coaches.

Lowering transit demand for diesel and other fossil fuels could help lessen dependence on foreign oil, advocates say.

And sparking demand for buses running on hydrogen fuel cells could boost a fledgling industry.

“Our partnership with NASA has made it possible to offer the first of this technology in Ohio,” said Mike Lively, manager of RTA’s Operations Analysis, Research and Systems Department. “We are excited to offer it to our riders and the Cleveland community.”

RTA acquired the distinctive, green-and-white bus for up to a year. It’s a no-cost loaner from United Technologies Corp., a Vermont-based company that makes fuel cells. The company is working with the Federal Transit Administration to test the performance, operating cost, reliability and safety of the buses. They cost a lot more than conventional coaches.

RTA’s bus seats 57 and will roll up to 80 miles a day. The transit agency will cover operating costs and has already paid NASA Glenn and its contractors $50,000 to install the fueling equipment.

Local advocates of alternative energy have pursued the hydrogen-fueled bus for several years.

The Cleveland Foundation supplied a grant that helped NASA Glenn and the Ohio Aerospace Institute ship in a hydrogen-fueling station once used in Vermont.

Crews also installed an electrolyzer from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The device separates hydrogen from water, allowing the gas to be stored at the fueling station and pumped into tanks aboard the bus.

NASA pioneered fuel cell technologies 50 years ago for manned space flight.

“We’re hopeful that we show to the community how straightforward it is to deal with hydrogen and how simple and effective it is,” said Valerie Lyons, chief of NASA’s power and in-space propulsion division.

Sierra Lobo, a NASA Glenn contractor, installed the fueling station at RTA’s Hayden Garage in East Cleveland. That facility already had equipment for compressed natural gas.

The station will feature 50 hydrogen sensors developed by NASA Glenn, Case Western Reserve University and a California company.

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