Bicycles should be available for rent in the River District and other parts of Danville later this month, according to city officials.
The bikes have arrived and are being assembled at Bicycle Medic.
Danville Parks and Recreation Director Bill Sgrinia said he hopes the city’s new bike share program will be up and running — with bicycles available at locations in the River District and other areas — in about two weeks.
There will be five racks holding five bikes each to start, Sgrinia said. Rack locations will be at Main Street Plaza, the Crossing at the Dan (with two racks), Dan Daniel Memorial Park trailhead, and the area behind Biscuitville on Riverside, he said.
The first hour of use per rental will be free, with a possible charge of $3 per subsequent hour, Sgrinia said. The free first hour offers a strong incentive for people downtown to be physically active. The idea is to promote health and wellness, Sgrinia said.
“We want to encourage people to use the bikes,” Sgrinia said.
Users would create an account and rent the bikes by entering a credit card number through an app, “Zagster.” It can also be downloaded online at zagster.com
The app will show where bike stations are located.
Danville City Council approved the proposal for the bike share program in February. The annual cost for the program will be about $45,000.
The cost for the program’s first year was proposed to be paid for with a transfer from unallocated money from the special revenue fund.
City officials are seeking sponsorships to help pay for the program, Sgrinia said. Anyone interested in being a sponsor can call Sgrinia at (434) 799-5200.
City Manager Ken Larking said the stations still need to be installed. The city has one or two sponsors for the program so far, Larking said.
The program is not expected to pay for the service, Larking said. City officials hope sponsors pay the bulk of the cost.
“This is a nice addition to our city, the River District and the Riverwalk Trail,” Larking said.
A report released in May recommended safe and continuous bicycle routes and improved conditions for pedestrians in the River District.
EPR, PC in Charlottesville recommended ways for Danville to enhance safety and ease of travel for pedestrians and bicyclists downtown.
The report, presented to City Council in May, proposes changes including traffic signal equipment to guide bicyclists and pedestrians through signaled intersections and bicycle commuter stations featuring parking locations, racks and bicycle maintenance stands providing tools for basic repairs.
The report also recommends safe and continuous bicycle routes in the River District, with “wayfinding” information to major destinations.
“It’s to make walking and biking in downtown Danville more safe,” Drew Draper, principal planner with EPR, said of the report’s recommendations in May. “It’s to complement what the city is already doing.”
The report also recommended public education activities and programs to develop a “more robust” bicycle and pedestrian culture in the city. They could include teaching skills and etiquette for safe bicycle travel and enhance rider safety and confidence.
City residents told consultants Danville has “an underdeveloped bicycle and pedestrian culture,” with drivers “failing to respond safely to bicycle and pedestrian travelers,” according to the report. Also, residents who provided comment expressed a perception of “limited community energy directed to encouraging activities such as bicycling, walking and running,” according to consultants.
EPR also found there is limited “wayfinding” information available to attract visitors to trails, or trail users to other River District destinations.