Kankakee County Launches Bike-Share Program

Staci Wilken Kankakee Bike-share
Staci Wilken, executive director of the Kankakee County Convention and Visitors' Bureau, rides one of the bikes in Kankakee County's new bike-share program. Wilken stopped by the Morning Shift on Monday to talk with Tony Sarabia about the program. John Dykstra/Daily Journal / Daily Journal/John Dykstra
Staci Wilken Kankakee Bike-share
Staci Wilken, executive director of the Kankakee County Convention and Visitors' Bureau, rides one of the bikes in Kankakee County's new bike-share program. Wilken stopped by the Morning Shift on Monday to talk with Tony Sarabia about the program. John Dykstra/Daily Journal / Daily Journal/John Dykstra

Kankakee County Launches Bike-Share Program

You’ve probably heard about bike-share programs like Citi Bike in New York, Indego in Philadelphia and, of course, Divvy in Chicago.

Bike share programs are well-established in big cities Divvy has nearly 6,000 bikes at hundreds of stations but they’ve recently arrived in medium-sized cities, towns and counties.

Last month, Kankakee County rolled out a program of its own. It consists of 50 bikes and ten bike stations in front of government buildings, a farmers market, a college campus and other busy locations in the area.

The Morning Shift talks to two bike share experts: Staci Wilken, executive director of the Kankakee County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau and Karl Alexander, an account executive at Zagster, a Boston-based bike share provider.

On the differences between Kankakee’s bike-share users versus those in major cities:

Staci Wilken: Would we be able to support this as a mode of transportation, as a major metropolitan area would? And we realized that no, we couldn’t. For us it was a quality of life enhancement and a leisure attraction for those who visit.

On improving access for people who don’t own bikes:

Karl Alexander: We conducted a survey [of] over 3,000 riders nationwide last year, and 51 percent of them said that Zagster was their only access to a bicycle on a regular basis. So really our goal is to engage folks who…haven’t ridden in a while.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

GUESTS: Staci Wilken, Executive Director, Kankakee County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau

Karl Alexander, account manager, Zagster

LEARN MORE: Bike-share hits the streets (Kankakee Daily Journal, 6/30/18)