• B.A. Morelli
  • Sun December 14 2014
  • Posted Dec 14, 2014

State officials are recommending University of Iowa for a grant to help launch a bike share program on campus, which school officials say will help cut down its carbon footprint.

If approved, the $135,300 grant would pay for 76 percent of the cost for a bike share, which is a community bike exchange. UI’s proposal calls for 30 bikes parked at three different rack stations on the east side of campus that users could take out with a credit card or by paying an annual fee, depending on the vendor selected.

The recommended grant is part of the Iowa Department of Transportation plans for distributing eight grants worth $3.9 million through theIowa Clean Air Attainment program.The money comes from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program. The Iowa Transportation Commission is expected to vote on the recommendations at its next meeting on Jan. 13, although funds would not be released until October 2015.

Bike shares have become increasingly popular in urban areas and college towns, such as Des Moines, Madison, Wis., and New Haven, Conn., as a convenient and healthy way to keep people mobile.The effort fits into UI’s goal of a 10 percent reduction in carbon emission from university transportation and travel by 2020, said Liz Christiansen, UI’s sustainability director.

“We hope by encouraging more commuting by bicycle, we can get at that goal,” Christiansen said.

UI applied for a grant in 2013, but was not selected. Christiansen was pleased to see the UI project recommended this year, although mindful it hasn’t been finalized.

If approved, this program would be launched in fall 2015, according to the grant application. Christiansen said the campus hopes this is just the first phase and the bike share program expands to more locations as it gains traction.

In order to receive grant funds, the projects must improve air quality.

Hiawatha is recommended to receive $1 million to improve the Boyson Road interchange on Interstate 380.The total project cost is $2.5 million.


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