Raleigh Bikeshare Debate Intensifies
"An ongoing debate over the merits of a proposed taxpayer-subsidized bike rental program in Raleigh has gotten a little more heated," reports Paul A. Specht.
First, a little background: "The Raleigh City Council is considering a proposed 'BikeShare' program that would place 300 bikes at 30 stations around Raleigh, mostly downtown and at local universities. Council members, who discussed the proposal during their Feb. 23 meeting, are split on the matter."
A controversy has arisen regarding the example provided by Charlotte's bikeshare system. Councilmember Kay Chowder, who opposes the Raligh bikeshare proposal, "said Charlotte’s program generated less user-fee revenue than expected and that higher-than-expected sponsorship costs prompted sponsor Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina to pull out," according to Specht.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina emailed The News & Observer to refute that claim, citing its recent renewal of its sponsorship of the Charlotte system through 2017.
It's important to note that the Raleigh City Council is considering whether or not to approve a federal grant that has already been approved, according to an editorial by Danny Kadis, which makes the case for Raleigh to approve the bikeshare system.