Innovative Community Partners Bike Library Program Opens in St. Paul
Amy Snyder, Sibley Bike Depot
Amber Collett, Transit for Livable Communities
(St. Paul, MN) -- On August 25th, the Sibley Bike Depot celebrated the first successful months of operation of the innovative “Community Partners Bike Library.” With support from Bike Walk Twin Cities and other funders, Sibley loans quality bicycles for up to six months to clients of more than 10 local social service organizations, including Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota. The bicycles are outfitted for safe transportation—with helmets, lights, locks, and more. Sibley works with the community partners and their clients to provide education about cycling and bicycle maintenance. So far, more than 100 bicycles have been loaned. The goal for the first season of operation is to loan 200 bicycles. Sibley works to create safe transportation opportunities while creating strong, unique partnerships in communities needing resources.“Sibley’s Community Partners Bike Library is the first of its kind in the nation. More than just providing a person with a bike, Sibley's Bike Library is a fully supported program where patrons gain access to classes in safe cycling and bike maintenance, group rides, and one-on-one commuter support,” said Jason Tazman, Sibley Bike Depot’s Volunteer Coordinator.
The Bike Library Program is already having a powerful positive impact by increasing access to reliable transportation. In partnering with social service agencies to implement the Bike Library, Sibley builds strong connections with other community organizations around the shared commitment to providing affordable, reliable, ecologically sustainable, and personally empowering transportation options.
Deb Tretsven from Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota spoke at the event saying, “The opportunity to partner with the Sibley Bike Depot’s Community Partners Bike Library program has been an excellent way to help our participants overcome their transportation barriers. The bikes have also served as a rehabilitative tool to aid individuals in creating a healthier lifestyle. Our participants have sincerely appreciated their connection with the Sibley Bike Depot, which was clear from the many smiles at orientation to the words of gratitude received in thank you letters. We appreciate the positive impact that Sibley Bike Depot has had on the lives of our participants and look forward to strengthening this partnership.”For Bike Walk Twin Cities, which provided $193,000 in funding, the opening of Sibley’s Community Partners Bike Library is part of an overall effort in Minneapolis and surrounding communities to increase bicycling and walking, and decrease unnecessary driving. Bike Walk Twin Cities also provided start up funding for the Nice Ride bike sharing program in Minneapolis and is funding infrastructure improvements to make streets safer and more accessible for walkers and bicyclists throughout the metro area.
“Many bicyclists take for granted the bike in their garage. The Sibley Bike Library is part of a bigger picture –they make sure that anyone can access to the tools they need to use the bike lanes and trails that are being expanded in the Twin Cities,” said Joan Pasiuk, Director of Bike Walk Twin Cities. Bike Walk Twin Cities runs the non-motorized transportation pilot program which helped fund Sibley’s Bike Library program.
The local community organizations taking part in the bike loan program include: Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota, Hope Community, La Conexion, LSS LifeHaven, Network for Better Futures, Northwest Youth and Family Services, Project for Pride in Living, South Metro Human Services, Pillsbury United Communities’ Waite House, Youth Farm and Market Project.The Community Partners Bike Library is a program of Bike Walk Twin Cities/Transit for Livable Communities with support from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, City of Saint Paul department of Planning and Economic Development and the Federal Highway Administration.