SCOTIA -- The village of Scotia has joined the Capital Region bike-share program.
Mayor Tom Gifford announced that the CDPHP Cycle! bike-share program will provide bikes at the village docks in Freedom Park and at the Village Green at 140 Mohawk Ave. The bikes can be rented at either location through an electronic membership, and ridden in Scotia and Schenectady.
Gifford said obtaining the bike-share spots -- the only two located outside core cities -- has been a two-year effort, starting when he was a village trustee.
"Our Complete Streets program for making the village more friendly for biking and walking will be boosted by the presence of these bikes," Gifford said in an email to village residents.
The regional bike-share program is operated by the Capital District Transportation Authority, with corporate sponsorship from the CDPHP health plan. The system is in its third year in Schenectady, Saratoga Springs, Albany and Troy, and expanded last year into Cohoes.
The Scotia bike racks are different from other locations in the system in that the village provided them, and they are the standard bike-rental racks found in the rest of the system. Even so, the bike-share program will keep the racks supplied with bikes, even if they were dropped off elsewhere. Gifford said Scotia is part of the greater Schenectady area, which has the bike-share program.
"The way I argued it to CDTA is that going back to the trolley days, this has been an extension of the line from Schenectady," Gifford said.
People who want to rent a bike need to register at www.cdphpcycle.com. An account number and PIN number are then entered into the bike's locking system, and the bike can then be ridden at a rate of $5 per hour. Bikes can be returned to any bike-share rack, or locked to a street sign or other permanent fixture within the system's boundaries.
"The businesses are excited about it, they think they may get customers coming in that way," Gifford said. "At docks, it could be rented to people coming in off the water to see the village, or residents may rent them."
Jonathan Scherzer, CDTA's director of marketing, said the two racks are a test to see how much demand there is in Scotia. The bikes are being shifted from elsewhere, but none of the established rental racks is being closed, he said.
"We will use this as a pilot project, starting small at the outset," Scherzer said. "What we're trying to do is test and see whether there's an appetite there in Scotia."
The system has 350 bikes spread among 80 rental stations, and is seeing an overall ridership increase, as it also did last year, Scherzer said.
Gifford said the village is working hard to be more bike-friendly, with plans for a bike trail around Collins Lake and to revitalize the bike trail between the village and Freeman's Bridge Road, which is largely unused due to its deterioration.