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Zagster Bike Program Could Soon Expand Downtown

Zagster Bike Share partnered with Penn State Transportation Services in 2017 to launch a program aimed at making Penn State’s campus more bike-friendly. The goal was to make transportation around the area easier for students, faculty, staff, and visitors alike.

The initial launch of the program included the installment of 17 bike-share stations around campus. Users interested in renting a bike from one of these stations could simply download the Zagster app, select a bike, and unlock it from the biking station — for a small fee, of course.

Now, the University Park Undergraduate Association is hoping to bring the program downtown, as well. UPUA Borough Liaison Tom Dougherty has spearheaded the movement after noticing a lot of the Zagster bikes were randomly deposited downtown away from the bike share stations.

“I would see them in the Highlands sometimes, or even further out, and it would be sad to see them,” Dougherty said. “So we talked with the Borough and they said it would cost around $24,000 to implement this program.”

UPUA passed legislation approving $12,000 in funding earlier this week to bring Zagster downtown. While it’s still unclear where the other half of the $24,000 cost will come from, Dougherty wants to create partnerships with local business and groups to secure the remainder of the funding.

“Studies have shown that it increases foot traffic among local businesses and that’s great for our community,” he said, “but we’ll most likely be looking into other forms of fundraising as well for the remainder of [the money].”

The downtown Zagster bike share locations will start off as a pilot program to see if they attract community engagement. If successful, the goal is to keep the stations and cut down on the amount of random bike dumping throughout State College.

Currently, the plan calls for the implementation of three separate biking stations (one on the east side of downtown, one near Allen Street, and one on the west side) with five bikes at each station. The exact locations of these stations haven’t yet been decided.

Borough communications specialist Douglas Shontz is drafting a survey to send to all State College residents, which should be sent out in the next month or so. The survey will help determine public opinion on the bike share program and decide where residents want the stations to be placed.

Based on the results of the survey, locations for the Zagster stations will be determined — pending Borough Council approval, of course. Dougherty’s hope is that the new stations will be implemented downtown by the middle of the fall 2019 semester.

“Zagster has proven to be a benefit to Penn Staters, considering that it costs like $100 to buy a bike,” Dougherty said. “But you only have to pay 25 bucks to use a whole entire system of bikes. They’re great.”

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About the Author

Emma Dieter

Emma is a senior from the ever-popular "right-outside" Philly area studying labor employment relations and PR. She's also the Student Life editor for Onward State. She has been a Penn Stater from cradle and will continue to bleed blue and white, 'til grave. She loves trashy romance novels, watching Netflix, and crying over cute videos of dogs. If you ever want to talk more with her about how great she is, or simply have other inquiries, feel free to email her at [email protected]

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