JEFFERSONVILLE — Since 2017, LouVelo has allowed people to check out a bike and travel throughout Metro Louisville. Soon, the bike share service will extend into Jeffersonville.
Next week, the City of Jeffersonville is adding three LouVelo docking stations. Cyclists will be able to drop off or check out a bicycle at the Big Four Bridge, the corner of Spring Street and Riverside Drive and on Riverside Drive near the Sheraton Louisville Riverside Hotel. The city hopes to install them by Monday.
The service provides people with short-term access to its bikes through a pay-as-you-go fee or a membership. After checking out a bike at one of about 30 bike share stations, cyclists can return it at any other station in the system. There will be seamless access between Jeffersonville and Louisville's LouVelo services, according to Jeffersonville Long-Range Planner Chad Reischl.
"It's another opportunity to park over here and ride a bike over to Louisville," he said. "You can avoid traffic and tolls and get exercise at the same time."
The three bike share stations cost about $100,000. The Jeffersonville Urban Enterprise Zone, which allows businesses to reserve part of their tax expenses for city improvements, will cover the cost.
The City of Jeffersonville has been considering the expansion of LouVelo for about a year, Reischl said. Although the service will be open this winter, the city plans to present a grand opening in the spring as the weather warms.
Jeffersonville is contracting with CycleHop, the bike share operator that runs LouVelo, to operate and maintain the city's stations. With the addition of the new stations, the program will also add 16 new bikes, bringing the service's total up to 321.
The program will keep people active and provide alternative forms of transportation, Reischl said. For example, if someone is visiting the area, they could check out a bike through LouVelo instead of renting a car.
"Over the years since the 1950s, that choice has really been the car," he said. "Now we’re in the 21st century, and we’re thinking about other choices. It’s not just about the car — it’s also about bikes, scooters, walking and other means."
Mayor Mike Moore expects the expansion of the bike sharing program to bring more people from Louisville into different parts of Jeffersonville. While it will also be an option for Jeffersonville residents wanting to explore the area, he believes it will be of particular interest to Kentucky residents or people visiting the area for travel or work.
Visitors who normally would just stay downtown after crossing the Big Four Bridge might be more likely to go a mile or five miles into the city, he said, and he predicts the service will have a positive economic effect as people visit shops and restaurants throughout the city.
"It's another opportunity for people to explore Jeffersonville and all that we have going," Moore said.
Matthew Glaser, general manager of LouVelo, said in an emailed response that the bike share program will further link Indiana and Kentucky as cyclists cross the Big Four Bridge. It is sustainable, healthy form of transportation that is often more convenient than driving, he said.
"I personally love using LouVelo to bypass the hassle of parking downtown," he said. "I find most times it's quicker and cheaper to use bike share than my car."