By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank officials are exploring the possibility of allowing a bike-share vendor to offer its services in town, and inviting two neighboring towns to get in on the two-wheeled action, Business Administrator Ziad Shehady told the borough council last week.
Councilman Ed Zipprich said he and Shehady had met with representatives of a bike-sharing vendor interested in doing business here recently. [This sentence has been corrected: Sheha
Shehady said he had reached out to the governing bodies of Fair Haven and Little Silver to see if they would be interested in putting together a joint bid package under which all three would participate in a regional program. He said the idea is slated to go before the councils in those towns.
The council authorized Shehady to coordinate with Little Silver and Fair Haven and to prepare bid specs for approval at an upcoming meeting.
Shehady said the next step would involve creating bid specifications to allow other vendors to compete, because the program would involve putting bike racks and pay stations on public property.
Shehady suggested involving Red Bank RiverCenter, the downtown promotion agency, in drafting the specs so that the equipment is sited in the best possible locations.
Councilman Michael Ballard asked how the program would fit into a larger objective of making Red Bank “more bike friendly.”
Mayor Pasquale Menna said Monmouth County had done “a great job” in addressing bike safety on Bridge Avenue and, that discussions about bike safety on Shrewsbury Avenue were underway with the county.
“But I think the first step is to get the professionals in, and then proceed further,” he said.
Zipprich noted that in 2010, a citizens’ group called Safe Routes Red Bank developed a bike-and-pedestrian plan that “was adopted into the Master Plan, so the foundation is already set.” In addition, whenever the borough has repaved a road in recent years, the town’s engineering consultants have been asked to “incorporate a dedicated bike lane if it fits,” he said. “Otherwise, we have road ‘sharrows.'”
“I can’t think of any tighter spaces than Jersey City and Hoboken, and they’ve been able to successfully do it,” said Menna. “There’s a marriage between cars and bikes there, and I don’t see why we can’t do it in Red Bank.