Minnesota Nice

A nice write-up of NiceRide in the MnDaily by Jessica Lee, quoting Nexus researcher and MURP/CE graduate student Jessica Schoner and streets.mn blogger and Geography graduate student Bill Lindeke:

Study finds Nice Ride boosts biz:

“Nice Ride planners also look at the area’s accessibility to recreational bike routes and the area’s population density.
‘The study definitely showed a positive relationship between the number of trips to the station and the number of food-related businesses nearby,’ said Jessica Schoner, the chief author of the report and a University graduate student. ‘The proximity of food-related businesses was a really good predictor of how well the station was doing.’
As of late August 2012, the IDS Center downtown and the station at St. Anthony Main were the two most popular kiosks with a combined 13,000 rentals, according to a Nice Ride report.
Nice Ride estimated 2012 was the best year yet with 275,000 rentals.
Two stations on the University campus were ranked in the top-10 most popular in 2011, according to the study. Dosset said he works ‘really closely with the University’s transportation department to select the locations that would be best.’
Schoner said the Nice Ride season of April through November is almost opposite of the academic school year and that affects the research.
‘I think if we were to look at the system at a finer level, maybe by month, we would see the [University] having a much bigger impact in terms of their overall usage,’ Schoner said.
Alexander Matson, economics senior and president of the University’s Cycling Team, said the Nice Ride bikes ‘have provided a topic of conversation here at the U.’
‘They are a much easier way to bike rather than having to worry about the logistics of riding or the stress of possible theft,’ Matson said. ‘I don’t know many hardcore cyclists that use the Nice Rides, but they definitely raise awareness and get people on bikes.’
Accounting senior Charles Kranz, another member of the cycling team, said that Nice Ride bikes ‘serve their purpose,’ but he thinks it’s better to own a bike.
‘I see them getting used around campus and throughout the Twin Cities a good amount,’ Kranz said. ‘In my opinion, people who are serious about biking will probably just buy their own bike for getting to class and stuff.’
Geography doctoral candidate Bill Lindeke agreed, saying that Nice Ride bikes are ‘starter bikes’ for people who are uneasy about tackling the city’s busy traffic and complicated routes.
‘One of the big barriers people have about riding a bicycle around the city is it’s scary; it’s intimidating,’ Lindeke said. ‘You see people wearing all this equipment, and you don’t really understand the bicycle
Lindeke specializes in non-motorized transportation. For his research, he interviewed people riding the Nice Ride bikes and talked to planners from the system as part of his study on bicycle advocacy that began last spring.
‘People I’ve been talking to see them as gateway bicycles,’ Lindeke said, ‘like that whole idea of a gateway drug. You start with these.’”