Bike-sharing companies, which offer 24-hour access to bicycles for short trips around cities, have popped up in Europe, and along the East Coast; DC, Boston and New York City. If three CCS grads have their way, Detroit will be the next city to offer visitors and residents a network of two-wheeled transportation stations throughout the greater downtown district.
The Detroit Bike Project is the brainchild of Victor Quattrin, Stephanie Lucido and Jenna Przybycien. The three college friends have spent the past year working on the first phase of their plan, which they will submit to Hatch Detroit
by the Sept. 1 contest deadline. No matter what happens with Hatch, the three say they're committed to launching the company within the next year.
Their plan involves building park-and-ride bike stations in the Renaissance Center, Wayne State's campus, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Woodbridge, New Center, Grand Circus Park, Corktown and Eastern Market, as a public transportation alternative "Sometimes, there's a little distance between the main veins of Detroit," says Quattrin. "Nothing is really that walkable," says Przybycien, comparing Detroit's layout to that of more densely-populated cities like New York. "If someone parks downtown and wants to head up to Wayne State, it takes a lot of time to get there. Bike sharing allows you to see a lot more of the city, and to get places quicker, because it's so spread out."
With a swipe of a credit card, customers will be able to rent a bike from any station and take a spin through the city -- then drop it off at the closest bike rental facility upon completion.
The Detroit Bike Project will operate as a nonprofit, and they hope the promise of increased mobility from residents and visitors throughout the greater downtown will inspire local companies to lend their support, through advertising or sponsoring a bike station on their properties. They're also committed to purchasing bikes made from recycled materials. The team estimates they'll need $137,000 in investment dollars to launch the first phase of the program.
Lucido says the team is encouraged by the immediate feedback, all of it positive, from the first 48 hours of their viral campaign, which launched last week. "In the first 48 hours, we had 500 page views on our website and 150 likes on Facebook," she says. "We know this can work."
"Our goal is to not let them down, and make things happen," Przybycien says.
Become a fan of the Detroit Bike Project on Facebook
, and read more about the team's proposal here
Sources: Jenna Przybycien, Victor Quattrin and Stephanie Lucido, co-founders, Detroit Bike Project
Writer: Ashley C. Woods