Nichole, 13, and Hailey Gill, 10, test out the comfort and adjustable heights of the bikes at the LouVelo Station at Big Four Landing in downtown Jeffersonville. | STAFF PHOTO BY TYLER STEWART
Nichole, 13, and Hailey Gill, 10, test out the comfort and adjustable heights of the bikes at the LouVelo Station at Big Four Landing in downtown Jeffersonville. | STAFF PHOTO BY TYLER STEWART
JEFFERSONVILLE — Throughout his life, Jeffersonville city councilman Dustin White would always think, “We need that in Jeffersonville” every time he saw a bike-share program in other communities.

“And, the last time I did it and I said that, I was like, ‘Well, I’m the councilman now, so I better try to do something about that,’” White said.

Fast forward to Monday afternoon, and White — who represents the downtown district — was all smiles as he joined Mayor Mike Moore and other Jeffersonville and Louisville officials in launching the LouVelo bike-share expansion into downtown Jeffersonville. 

"I'm elated," White said after the event. "The LouVelo bike share increases the healthy regional transportation options while utilizing the Greenway, Big Four Bridge and shared bike lanes around District 1."

LouVelo is Louisville’s official bike-share program, with more than 300 bikes in its program.

With this system in place on both sides of the river now, residents and visitors can check out and ride bicycles between any of the three new stations in Jeffersonville and any of LouVelo’s 34 stations in Louisville.

This expansion was made possible with funds from the Jeffersonville Urban Enterprise Zone to purchase the equipment. Maintenance of the system will be provided by Cyclehop through a contract with the City of Jeffersonville.

In November 2018, a team from the City of Jeffersonville and LouVelo installed three bike share stations in downtown Jeffersonville at Big Four Station, Spring Street at Riverside Drive and on Riverside Drive in Restaurant Row.

According to information provided by the city on its website, the project intends to further the connection between the cities of Louisville and Jeffersonville via the Big Four Bridge, by allowing seamless shared bicycle usage for residents and visitors on both sides of the Ohio River.”

“If you live here — go explore Louisville. If you live in Louisville, come explore Jeffersonville,” Moore told the gathered crowd. “We actually come out on the good side of that because there’s about 750,000 people over there.”

This grand opening celebration officially kicked off a program that is already proving successful, with the Big Four landing’s docking station proving to be the initiative’s shining star.

Matt Glaser, general manager for LouVelo, said there have been about 500 in-and-out usages from that location alone — with the majority of those uses happening over the past three weeks.

Moore believes that’s just the beginning.

“I do think you’re going to see a whole lot of these green bicycles roaming around the streets of Jeffersonville,” Moore said during the event.

Joining the Southern Indiana delegation at the ribbon cutting was Louisville councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith.

“I’m the councilwoman that represents everything you see on the other side of that big brown god called the Ohio River,” she said, as the crowd laughed.

Smith explained that the river has become a great asset, instead of a divider, for both Louisville and Jeffersonville.

“A lot of people think the river system of America separates cities from each other, and some people think it separates states from each other and some folks have thought it separated Kentucky from Indiana,” she said.

“I’ve always believed that river someday, if I could live long enough, would become the great connector. I think we’ve made it.”

Costs for riding the bikes range from $3.50 for 30 minutes for a pay-as-you-go option to a $99 per year annual plan.

Glaser stressed that the best way to get started is to visit the LouVelo website. It contains a map of bike locations, pricing information, a link to download the transit app, user tips and more.

However, for those who want to rent a bike on a whim, rides can be purchased at the kiosks available at each docking station. Information is located at the kiosk, or you can watch a how-to video ahead of time here.

Glaser stressed that LouVelo operates a round-the-clock customer service line since the bikes are available at all hours. He said if anyone has issues with the bikes or have questions, they can contact the customer service number at 502-373-2500.

“Bike share gives another way for additional tourists to visit Jeffersonville and enjoy our restaurants, pubs, shops and waterfront,” said Nathan Pruitt, Jeff’s planning and zoning director.

He said there have been no known issues with the bikes since they came to Jeffersonville. Glaser confirmed that, stating they’ve had no reported accidents since they began operating two years ago.

“We have only had a small handful of minor graffiti issues,” he said. 

Pruitt is confident these bikes will be widely used on the Ohio River’s north shore this year.

“We expect to see several thousand people use these bikes,” he said.

Moore said these bikes are just one more positive for Jeffersonville.

“I love seeing our city becoming more active and environmentally friendly,” the mayor said after the event. “Jeffersonville has become the community families want to live in.”

White agreed.

"We have joined the many cities around the world that provide this quality-of-life option," he said. "Now the citizens of Jeffersonville, as well as those who seek us out as a destination, can enjoy it as well."

Jeffersonville resident Judy Snelling is one person who is excited the bikes have come to town.

Snelling says she loves “everything” about the LouVelo bikes.

“The bikes are amazing,” she said. “It’s easy to sign up if you have a debit or credit card.”

Snelling has not yet rented a bike in Jeffersonville. Instead, she enjoys using them in Louisville’s downtown area.

However, now that there are three locations in her hometown from which to rent, she’s excited to try that option and explore both sides of the river on two wheels.

"I am excited that Jeffersonville now has this option," Snelling said. "I think this will provide residents and visitors so many more opportunities than ever before."

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