Metro Louisville’s bicycle-share service LouVelo will soon be available in Jeffersonville, with three docking stations opening across the Ohio River in early December.
The stations will be located at the Indiana base of the Big Four bridge, at the corner of Spring Street and Riverside Drive and farther west on Riverside near the Sheraton hotel on what Jeffersonville’s head of long-range planning, Chad Reischl, called restaurant row.
The total cost of the three stations was just under $100,000, and will be paid for with taxes collected under Jeffersonville’s Urban Enterprise Zone system, which allows businesses to earmark a certain portion of their tax outlay for nearby improvements, Reischl said.
“There’s over a million people crossing the (Big Four) bridge every year,” Reischl said. Before, people using the LouVelo bikes would have no place to dock across the river. Having the stations “allows them the opportunity to stay a little longer, to go to a restaurant, to see what Jeffersonville has to offer.”
LouVelo will maintain the bikes and stations, which are being shipped now from manufacturer PBSC Urban Solutions of Montreal, Canada, Reischl said.
The city had originally hoped to start the service in late September or early October, but a parts holdup forced a delay. “The timing isn’t great,” Reischl said, and though the service will be available through the winter, a grand opening won’t come till the weather warms.
LouVelo General Manager Matthew Glaser said the arrangement with Jeffersonville took about six months to put together. The addition of 16 bikes will bring the system’s total to 321.
The expansion across the river comes as LouVelo — begun in spring of 2017 — faces a drop in ridership from a year earlier, according to the latest Metro government data. Two dockless electric-scooter services, Bird and Lime, also have been launched this year.
To stoke interest, Glaser said LouVelo was building a platform to allow participating hotels to offer free bike access to guests. In March or April of next year the service will be available on the University of Louisville campus, he added.