The City of Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. have issued a Request for Proposals (PDF) to initiate the process of hiring a qualified transportation firm that will study the potential of a citywide bike share system and develop a strategic business plan that positions the proposed system for success.

This initiative is the first formal step in the planning and eventual implementation of the comprehensive bike sharing system recommended by GR Forward, the community plan and investment strategy adopted in December 2015 as an amendment to the City's master plan by the Grand Rapids City Commission.

"Building a 21st century transportation system is a top GR Forward priority," said DGRI Mobility Manager Bill Kirk. "Riding a bike can be a quick, convenient, healthy and affordable option for getting around a city the size of Grand Rapids. We envision a bike share system as one part of an increasingly robust multi-modal transportation system that provides Grand Rapidians with more choice and freedom to get where they need to go."

GR Forward's initial research and analysis concluded that growing demand for a bike share system exists in the GR community and - at minimum - Downtown Grand Rapids can support a system. GR Forward's high level recommendations included:

  • Study the feasibility of a network of 35-40 stations located every 1/4 or 1/2 mile in Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Explore an innovative membership structure that provides equitable access for all Grand Rapidians, with special emphasis on low-income and unbanked populations.
  • Design an organizational and management structure that prioritizes community partnerships, leverages diverse funding sources and ensures efficient operations and exceptional public service.

The community's goal is to launch a citywide bike share system by 2018. Toward that end, the successful transportation firm is expected to deliver:

  • A complete analysis of the demand for and feasibility of a citywide bike share system.
  • A recommendation for the optimal ownership and management structure for a citywide bike share system.
  • A strategic fundraising and business plan for a citywide bike share system that includes the following:
    • A sponsorship strategy to enhance the financial stability and sustainability of a citywide bike share system.
    • A business pro-forma complete with revenues, costs, staffing recommendations and structure recommendations.
    • 2, 5, and 10 year cost estimates for operating and capital expenditures.

RFP responses are due October 20, 2016.

All interested consultants are encouraged to email DGRI Mobility Manager Bill Kirk and register their intent to respond to this RFP.