Just in time for the chaos of early September, the Democratic National Convention (DNC) host city of Charlotte, N.C. welcomed their metro area bike share program on Tuesday evening.
The program, called Charlotte B Cycle, consists of 20 stations across the city with 200 bikes, and is a project of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s “Get Outside North Carolina!” initiative.
“The hope is that it would be available to use during the convention and after,” Jennifer Hodorowicz, a North Carolina Blue Cross Blue Shield spokeswoman, told The Daily Caller.
Charlotte Center City Partners spokeswoman Moira Quinn explained that the hope is not only that convention attendees use the new bikes, but that the program will help alleviate some of the difficulties commuters might face during the convention. Meanwhile, they hope residents will grow more comfortable with alternative forms of transit.
While the new program (and de facto lure for MSNBC host Chris Hayes to venture well past the Mason Dixon Line) is ready in time for the DNC, Quinn said that the convention did not drive the timing of its launch — the “Get Outside North Carolina!” initiative was the primary driver.
Nevertheless, the bike program — similar to the bike shares launched during the 2008 Democratic and Republican conventions in Denver and Minneapolis/St.Paul respectively — is likely to be seen as a remnant of the convention after its conclusion.
Charlotte Democratic Mayor Anthony Foxx has laid out four so-called “legacies” for the convention to leave a positive impact on the city, including “Youth Employment and Civic Education,” “Healthy Children, Healthy Families,” “Building A Broader, More Inclusive Economy” and “Energy, Technology, Sustainability.”
Dan Murrey, the executive director of the Charlotte in 2012 Convention Host Committee, told TheDC that the bike share fits in perfectly with the legacy goals.
“We were thrilled to see the bikeshare program installed in uptown. We have been advancing convention legacy projects in the region that promote healthy children and families as well as community sustainability,” Murrey explained in an email. “This program aligns perfectly with those goals, and we will encourage our guests to take full advantage of this healthy and sustainable mode of transportation the week of the convention.”
The B Cycle program is the first bike share program in North Carolina and one of the largest in the southeast.
First lady Michelle Obama’s press office did not respond to questions regarding whether she will be taking part in Charlotte’s new, healthy, sustainable mode of transportation during the convention.