LAKE CHARLES — The Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana has hired Bantam Strategy Group in partnership with Toole Design Group, two experienced bikeshare firms, to study the feasibility and implementation of a multi-city bikeshare system serving the City of Lake Charles and City of Sulphur.
Bikeshare systems are advancing in mid-size and small cities across the country, offering another transportation option as some people opt to pedal as a healthier alternative. Bantam Strategy Group will be working through a six- to eight-month process which includes several layers of quantitative and qualitative factors to determine the feasibility of a regional bikeshare system.
The parish partnered with other public entities and the Community Foundation so that we can have a thorough plan to make informed decisions,” said Judd Bares, President of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury. “Programs that add to the overall quality of life in Calcasieu Parish are important to all of us at the Police Jury, and ensuring that we do our due diligence before embarking on programs ultimately saves dollars while creating opportunities to enhance that overall quality of life.”
Work started this month with the initial phase will focus on the City of Lake Charles and City of Sulphur which includes McNeese State University in the planned service area. Some of these efforts include a website with interactive mapping, community outreach meetings, and several layers of GIS analysis to determine the fleet size and service area. Additionally, Bantam will be evaluating the various bikeshare business models available and outlining a practicable system business pro-forma.
“Research shows that biking for transportation and recreation is linked to a myriad of health benefits, including lower rates of obesity, high blood pressure, stroke and cancer,” said John O’Donnell, Director of the Partnership for a Healthier Southwest Louisiana.
“To tap into this health potential, bike share stations should be located close to grocery stores, parks and other community resources to encourage active transportation, and neighborhoods with poorer health should also be given priority when siting station locations,” he added.
The collaborative funding partners are the City of Lake Charles, City of Sulphur, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Juliet Hardtner Fund of the Community Foundation.
“Connecting people regardless of socio-economic status to places and communities in Lake Charles and Sulphur with an accessible and sustainable transportation option is the mission,” said Lindsey G. West, President and CEO of Bantam Strategy Group. “We are excited to partner with the Community Foundation, the Parish, both Cities, McNeese, and other local partners to accomplish this community-driven initiative.”
To learn more visit www.bayoubikeshare.com and follow the Southwest Louisiana Bikeshare Facebook page.