Go to Salem Riverfront Park some weekend and watch the many cyclists cross the Courtney Bridge and head off towards Minto Park. It looks like great fun; at least that is what Evan Osborne thinks. He is so convinced that he and others have formed a nonprofit corporation, Osborne Adventures, to bring bike sharing to Salem. The project, based in part on a similar program in
Corvallis, intends to encourage both recreational riding and commuting around the city.
Osborne and his group are negotiating with the city to place 6 to ten bike stations throughout the city core where customers can obtain a bike, ride it to one or more destinations and deposit it at the same or another station. To date Osborne has raised more than $30,000 in donations and the city council on June 26 earmarked $5,000 to help fund a number of stations. The council seemed particularly interested in having a station at the railroad depot and the Cherriot bus terminal.
The system will be based on an online app. The customer will install the app in a phone or computer and use it to access a bike and lock. After the trip is complete, the user will place the bike in a station and end the transaction. Osborne Adventures will calculate the fee and collect it automatically. The final fee schedule is not yet available.
The company plans to have an initial fleet of twenty bikes. Most will be standard cruisers but Osborne hopes to have at least one hand-powered model and also a side by side tandem. To date the program depends on volunteers but when operations begin there will be one employee to maintain the cycles and redistribute them throughout the day so all stations have an inventory. In the future Osborne hopes to hire a promotional manager.
The company currently has a Crowdrise fund with a $10,000 goal. The donation site can be obtained from the company’s website. The corporation is, according to Osborne, qualified under IRC Section 501 (c) (3) so donations are deductible.
The tentative starting date is in mid August – after the Minto Bridge dedication and before the Aug 21 solar eclipse.