City officials are looking for station locations for 100 Bublr Bikes to be part of a new bike-share program in Wauwatosa. The state Department of Transportation approved $426,634 in federal funds for the Wauwatosa program Aug. 4, along with additional funds for stations in Shorewood and West Allis.
Midwest BikeShare, the nonprofit operator of Bublr Bikes, has already begun installing its first 10 bike-sharing stations in downtown Milwaukee. Within a few weeks, customers will be able to rent bikes from automated kiosks for $7 per day or $20 per month and return the bikes to any station.
Stations in Wauwatosa will come after the city secures 10 station locations and money for 20 percent of the cost the DOT funds don't cover.
"Our vision is that Bublr Bikes is not only something in Milwaukee but will stretch into the inner-ring suburbs and beyond," said Kevin Hardman, launch director for the program.
Alderman Jeff Roznowski, who helped write the grant application for the funding, said he is hoping some businesses and housing complexes will step forward to host the kiosks and help pay for the cost.
"This is going to be tremendous for Tosa to help our identity as a walkable city," Roznowski said. "It ties in very well with our bike and pedestrian plan and the new bike lanes in East Tosa."
After the bicycles are installed, they will be the responsibility of Midwest BikeShare to operate and maintain. Hardman, a resident of Wauwatosa, said he thought the bikes would fit in well in the community.
"This announcement's especially exciting for me," Hardman said. "It's just a great, fun, vibrant community, and bike-sharing is going to make a big difference there and go along so nicely with all these other things happening."
Hardman said the name Bublr Bikes, announced Aug. 5, is in homage to the local term for drinking fountains, as well as a hat-tip to the nearby Great Lakes and river system.
Midwest BikeShare hopes to have 1,000 bikes in its Milwaukee-area network within a few years. In order to meet that goal, Hardman said the group needs to raise another $3 million, in addition to the $3 million it has already raised.
More information on the bike-share program is at bublrbikes.com.
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