ST. CHARLES – Starting next year, St. Charles residents might be given a new way to get around the area.
Aldermen are studying the possibility of becoming part of a countywide bike-sharing system that would launch in August 2020. Bike sharing is a bike rental service where users rent bicycles for designated periods of time.
The idea was discussed during the St. Charles City Council's Government Services Committee meeting on Monday. The Kane County Division of Transportation wants to launch at least 12 bike stations across the county by August 2020.
KDOT is working on getting memorandums of understanding from communities such as St. Charles that are interested in being part of the program. The memorandum does not create any financial or legal obligations.
According to the memorandum, the purpose of the bike sharing program is to "boost the county's transportation network and further advance Kane County's position as a high quality destination and place to live."
"Bike share will help connect residents, commuters and visitors to more of Kane County's businesses, institutions and attractions," the memorandum states.
The city of Aurora launched a bike-share program in 2016. Each station owner would be responsible for the capital and annual financial obligations of owning and operating a bike share station. Each station would cost an estimated $7,000 to $10,000 per year to own and operate.
Kane County plans to make a one-time $30,000 financial contribution that would be spread out among member communities that are part of the initial bike sharing program.
St. Charles Fourth Ward Alderman Lora Vitek said she thought the bike sharing program was a great idea.
"There are opportunities for sponsorships," she said.
Second Ward Alderman Rita Anne Payleitner wondered about the practicality of the program.
"Recreation use aside, will people take a bike from Mount Saint Mary Park to the train station (in Geneva)?" she asked. "That's what I'm wondering. I think it's a great idea. I'm just trying to think of what other use we have besides recreation."
Aldermen said they want to learn more about the proposal.