Construction on eight local Bublr Bikes stations will begin in August, giving Wauwatosa residents fast access to a new network of alternative transportation.

The bike share system is the latest effort made by Wauwatosa to foster a bicycle-friendly environment. The city unveiled green bike lanes along North Avenue in East Tosa in 2014 and city officials have created a permanent bicycle and pedestrian committee to help implement bike and pedestrian facilities.

Equipment has been ordered for a bike share system that would allow commuters, tourists and recreational riders to rent bicycles from various Bublr Bikes stations in the city. The system, which already operates in Milwaukee, would be compatible with those in Wauwatosa.

'It's very exciting,' said Executive Director of Bublr Bikes Kevin Hardman. 'We envision a regional system.'

Hardman, a Wauwatosa resident, said the city is the first suburb outside Milwaukee that would implement Bublr Bikes. West Allis and Shorewood are also considering the stations.

'We are doing this because we want to put on the ground a very effective form of public transportation,' he said. 'It's hugely exciting for us.'

How it works

Through the Bublr Bikes system, riders use their credit card to purchase a single ride at a station. Single rides cost about $3 for up to 30 minutes of use, but monthly and annual passes also can be purchased.

The project aims to provide an alternative mode of transportation suitable for short-distance trips by providing riders the ability to pick up a bicycle at a self-serve bike station and return it to any another station within the system's service area.

When riders have completed their trip, they can return the bicycle to any Bublr station. Up to four bicycles may be checked out per credit card and riders must be at least 14 years old. The bikes will look similar to those in Milwaukee, which can be recognized by their bright blue coloring. There could be about 10 bikes in Wauwatosa that have city-specific signage on the bicycles' baskets.

The first phase would include seven bike stations and 75 bicycles. The project initially called for eight stations, but planners had to scale back after learning construction costs would be higher than expected.

In Wauwatosa, first-phase stations will be installed at:

· City hall parking lot, 7725 W. North Ave.

· West North Avenue and Swan Boulevard near Colectivo Coffee

· Southwest corner of 83rd Street and North Avenue

· West North Avenue and 72nd Street

· West North Avenue and 69th Street

· Harts Mills parking lot, Village of Wauwatosa

· Ludington Triangle, intersection of Ludington Avenue, 83rd Street and Milwaukee Avenue

The project's second phase will go through the approval process at City Hall in the coming weeks, said Assistant Planner for Wauwatosa Jennifer Ferguson.

About the project

The bike stations will be installed in two phases; the first phase is funded through a $400,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The second phase, which includes 80 percent in contributions from a federal grant and 20 percent in contributions from the city of Wauwatosa, costs about $533,000.

The second phase — slated to be in construction in 2017 — would install up to 11 stations, accounting for another 75 bikes.

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