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Midwestern Cities Race to Adopt, and Grow, Bike-Share

Pittsburgh was the newest city to announce its bike-share plans this week, when it confirmed the city would add a 500-bike system by the spring of next year.

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But nearby Columbus, Ohio, will beat them to the punch. Ohio's capital city is planning to add 300 bikes this summer. Meanwhile, Indianapolis is planning to roll out its system next month.

The truth is you would be hard-pressed to find a large Midwestern city that hasn't taken formal steps toward adding a bike-share system.

Both Cleveland and Detroit are studying bike-share. Cincinnati completed a bike-share study late last year, and is now seeking proposals from contractors. Milwaukee is assembling money for a system. Chicago hopes to add 3,000 bikes this spring.

And of course there's the grandaddy of them all: Minneapolis' Nice Ride. Launched in 2010, this system currently boasts more than 1,200 bikes. Late last year, the system surpassed half a million trips.

Midwestern cities have been inspired by some of the more spectacular examples on the coasts, according to Eric Rogers, executive director of BikeWalkKC, the nonprofit organization that manages Kansas City's bike-share system. Kansas City was a little ahead of the pack when it launched Kansas City B-Cycle, with 200 bikes at 12 stations, last summer.

"The last few years a lot of cities, especially in the Midwest, have seen good examples from places like Chicago and Portland and New York and D.C. of a lot of innovative facilities that are out there: cycle tracks, bike boxes, bike-sharing," he said. "There's so much more knowledge out there now that it's easier to develop a solution and pursue it."

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