Growth in metro bike share stations puts Offutt in reach

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  • By 55th Wing Public Affairs

With more than 10,000 personnel coming to and from the installation daily, more and more people are looking for alternatives to avoid traffic.

One such way is by cycling and with the Omaha metro bike share operator increasing its program to more than 75 stations in the metro area, there soon could be even more cyclists making the journey to base.

“We now have about 78 stations and around 500 bikes, including 300 classic and 200 e-bikes,” said Benny Foltz, Heartland Bike Share executive director. “We are consistently evaluating our station footprint and trying to locate bike share stations where it serves the public the best.”

Bike share stations allow anyone to park and check out a bike through a daily, monthly or annual membership program. There is a 50% discount on annual memberships for military members or any Department of Defense identification card holders.

“You can use the kiosk to check out a bike or you can download and use an app,” Foltz said. “The app also allows you to see how many and where the e-bikes are located.”

Recently, a station was added just three miles away from base at 36th Street and Raynor Parkway in Bellevue, near Twin Creek where the West Papio and Keystone trails meet.

“The new station in Bellevue has been incredibly popular,” Foltz said. “It has all e-bikes and provides access to the trails.”

Foltz said since their introduction in 2019, e-bikes have become more popular than classic bikes through their bike share program.

“E-bikes have really been a game changer in the bike share world,” he said. “No longer is bike share only about exercise and recreation, it really is a public transit service available to anyone.”

E-bikes function the same way as a classic bike and can be used as such.

“The overall goal is to replace all of our classic bikes with e-bikes,” Foltz said.

With usage up 35% in October, Foltz said they plan to add even more stations in the metro.

“Our 2022 plan is to install 12 more bike share stations at (bus) stations, as well as a station along the First Avenue trail in Council Bluffs,” he said. “We also are exploring new stations along north and south 24th Street.”