PLAINFIELD, NJ - Increased transit-oriented development in Plainfield may spark a need for short rides to the city’s two train stations and city officials think LimeBike is the answer.
One of the bright green bikes was on display at Monday’s City Council meeting and after LimeBike representative Maggie Gendron answered a bunch of questions, the council agreed to vote on a one-year contract, with no cost to the city, at the March 12 regular meeting.
Concerns ranged from safety of both riders and pedestrians to possible theft and vandalism, but a majority of the governing body was willing to give the program a try. First Ward Councilwoman Diane Toliver voted “no” to putting the resolution on the agenda.
Gendron said Plainfield will be the first municipality in New Jersey to use the LimeBike, which differs from other bike programs in that it doesn’t use docking stations. Users need an app to locate a bike and pay $1 per ride. Each bike has a GPS system and usage data will help fine-tune where best to place the bikes. Although Plainfield’s population of about 50,000 would usually require 500 to 750 bikes, the pilot program will begin with 200 to 250 bikes. The number can be increased if needed, Gendron said.
While geared toward transit-oriented development, bikes will be available throughout the city. Gendron said the program will generate five or six jobs, to retrieve and repair bikes, and the company will also be looking for a warehouse for major repairs.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) up for a vote next week allows either party to withdraw on 30 days’ notice and the company will carry up to $5 million in liability insurance.
Councilman Cory Storch said he was “very impressed” with the program and felt bikes downtown would alleviate parking problems. But he said driving in New York City recently made him aware of traffic safety issues.
Toliver quizzed Public Safety Director Carl Riley about possible safety and congestion problems, but Riley said it was “too soon to tell.”
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