An avid biker, Jessica Howard’s typical trek takes her on an 8-mile ride through almost all of the Franklin trail system.
But before the apartment complex she lives in started a program that allowed her to borrow a bike for free, getting out on her route that includes Blue Heron Park, Franklin Greenlawn Cemetery and Franklin College was difficult.
She lives on the third floor of her apartment complex, which makes keeping a bike difficult, she said. But last month her apartment complex, City View Farms, began a bike-share program that makes biking accessible for her again, she said.
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In recent years, public and private bike-share programs have gotten more interest.
Greenwood began a bike-share program with eight bikes in the spring of 2015. An Indianapolis bike-share program, Indiana Pacers Bikeshare, has 250 bicycles available to rent in downtown Indianapolis.
City View Farm apartments in Franklin began a bike-share program with four bikes to give its residents the chance to use local recreational opportunities, property manager Amy Richardson said. Residents can borrow a bike for free for four hours, she said.
The goals of each program are the same: introduce healthy lifestyles to residents at little or no cost and give them an easy way to explore their communities.
Now, students at Franklin Community High School, who have begun to get involved with the city council through a newly formed leadership council, are advocating for a public bike-share program in Franklin.
Downtown Franklin and the city trail system already have become popular spots for biking, said Emma Beavins, a junior at the high school
Since many downtown shops are spread out, bikes would make them more accessible to shoppers, she said.
For the proposal to become a reality, it would need to receive approval from the city council, which would also need to find a funding source.
Greenwood began a bike share program in 2015 with eight bikes available to rent out of the community center. The program was funded with a $4,000 grant from the Johnson County Community Foundation.
Unfortunately, the program had to be put on hold due to renovations to the community center, but will pick up again next spring, Greenwood Parks and Recreation Director Rob Taggart said. Renovations to the community center began in April and are expected to wrap up at the end of the year.
The program was a popular one with residents while it was up and running, he said.