Metroplan’s board of directors recently received a request to approve a two-year bike share program in Little Rock and North Little Rock that is scheduled to begin this summer.

According to Metroplan, cities across the country are striving to be more bicycle-friendly in order to reduce traffic congestion and increase resident health, business investment, tourism, storefront visitation, and livability.

“Our community has already made important strides by expanding its trail network (e.g. the Arkansas River Trail) and installing bike/pedestrian walkways and bridges,” reads a release from Metroplan. Adopting a bike share program is the next logical step to making our city bicycle-friendly, according to a 2015 League of American Bicyclists audit.

Bike share programs have launched throughout the country with much success. Bike share will increase ridership, which will increase driver awareness and continue to support multimodal transportation,” continued the release.

Instead of a heavy capital investment into bikes and other equipment, a smaller approach with an experienced turnkey partner will allow Metroplan to best gauge our community’s demand for the

program and allow usage to drive subsequent investment.”

Metroplan for months has been looking for sponsors to help provide funding for the public-private partnership model.

“ Metroplan is seeking community partners to share program costs. Sponsoring organizations will have branding opportunities on the bikes, stations, mobile application, and the bike share website and mobile application,” according to the release. “Depending on the sponsorship level, your employees/members/students may be able to use the program at no cost to them. Our largest

sponsors will be able to select bike station location(s) to best serve their organizations. We anticipate several sponsorship tiers at and below $75,000/year.”

Founding Partners will receive special recognition for helping to get bike share off the ground,” added the release.

The initial launch will include 50-150 bikes (depending on sponsorship). “We will consider usage data to strategically expand the program in subsequent years,” added the release. Metroplan will hold contracts and coordinate the program with a third-party bike share provider.

The provider will have 45 days from the date they are selected to launch bike share in the community.

“We hope to launch in July 2017,” added the Metroplan release.