Clean Mobility Options Awards Will Bring Bike Sharing to Underserved Communities
CalBike applauds California’s Clean Mobility Options (CMO) program for its latest round of zero-emission transit grants, one-third of which are for bike share programs or include a bike sharing component. The program will distribute $18 million to provide cleaner and better transit options in underserved communities and $2 million for Native American tribal governments. One of the recipients is Downtown Bikeshare in Redding, administered by Shasta Living Streets, a fiscally-sponsored project of Calbike.
Shasta Living Streets delivers on a decade of vision and planning
Shasta Living Streets is delivering on a ten-year vision of a set of coordinated services and amenities that make biking a real option for people in Redding and the surrounding area. Although the region is home to hundreds of miles of gorgeous wilderness biking, the City of Redding didn’t offer good connections between those trails and destinations in town. Redding’s Sacramento River Trail has been named one of the four best biking trails in the U.S. by the Rails to Trails Conservancy, but locals and visitors couldn’t reach them by bike.
Shasta Living Streets hosted a grand opening in collaboration with the City of Redding and other partners on July 15, 2021, to celebrate the completion of the first safe, two-way protected bikeway connecting Downtown Redding to the Sacramento River Trail. A complete 5-mile Downtown Connector Loop Trail is planned, and when completed, the bikeway will take riders past the Shasta Bike Depot, which will be run by Shasta Living Streets. The Depot, which will be a hub providing a gathering place and services to help connect riders and help get more people on bikes, is scheduled to open in Spring 2022. Read CalBike’s full article on the Shasta Bike Depot.
The current plan is for the new bike sharing system to launch within a few months after the Shasta Bike Depot (though pandemic delays have added an extra layer of uncertainty to opening dates). In addition to bike share, the Depot will provide e-bike tours, long-term bike parking, in-person information, and community-building events.
Downtown Bikeshare offers Redding clean, active mobility options
The $1 million CMO grant will allow Downtown Bikeshare to deliver services including community engagement, planning, and launch plus 70 bikes, stations, staff, administration, and maintenance of Downtown Bikeshare operations for four years. Shasta Living Streets is partnering with the Redding-based McConnell Foundation to administer the CMO grant. Shasta Living Streets Executive Director Anne Thomas is thrilled that the grant gives her organization funding to work with residents to create a bike share system that truly serves the community.
“This grant focuses us on the downtown community and addressing what people need,” Thomas said. “We know that nonprofits managing bike share is a model that has proven to be effective. Now that we know we have the funding, we can work directly with the community on planning.”
The Shasta Bike Depot location near the core of downtown Redding is an ideal location for outreach. Downtown is an opportunity zone with many residents living in affordable housing. Thomas plans to have staff meet with residents in their buildings to discover how Downtown Bikeshare can best serve them and learn what they need to overcome barriers to using the system. The CMO grant will allow her organization to help people learn to ride, find the best bike routes, understand how to carry groceries on a bike, or whatever assistance they want.
Thomas applauded the CMO for recognizing that bike share systems can benefit smaller cities as well as dense urban areas. “What’s special about this funding is that the CMO administrators recognized the needs of underserved communities like ours and helped us with this money,” she said. Thomas sees Downtown Bikeshare as an essential transit option for residents. Bikeshare is, she notes, “the cheapest transit you could ever get” if communities recognize it as transit.