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Hans Koepsell, Deseret News
GREENbike will add eight new second-generation stations, expand nine existing stations, plus add another 109 lighter, second-generation bikes to the fleet in Salt Lake City, Thursday, May 5, 2016.

SALT LAKE CITY — The popularity of Salt Lake City’s bicycle share program continues to grow, and GREENbike SLC is growing along with it.

Ben Bolte, founder and director of the bike share program, announced Thursday that GREENbike has expanded nine of its stations and has added 109 new bikes to its fleet. In all, the program now offers 330 bikes at 33 stations.

“With this expansion, GREENbike has grown by a staggering 411 percent from when we launched back in 2013,” Bolte said at a news conference at the program's Google Fiber Station at Trolley Square, 510 S. 700 East. “Last year compared to this year, we’re 42 percent larger.”

In 2015, the nonprofit program expanded by 34 percent, with ridership increasing by nearly 300 percent over the previous year, Bolte said.

This year, the program has added new bicycles that are 10 pounds lighter, making them easier to maneuver for riders are all ages, he said.

“Every time we add a new station, the entire system gets more convenient,” Bolte said. “We’re hoping for 140,000 to 150,000 rides by the end of the year.”

There were 106,000 rides last year, up from 46,000 in 2014, he said. During the inaugural year, the program operated 10 stations with 75 bikes, he said.

Bolte said a strategic implementation plan for future growth is already developed, but it will require additional funding to execute.

“That is what we’re advocating for,” he said. “We know where we would put the next 75 to 100 of these stations … and we would want to put in a whole network at the University of Utah.”

As finances allow, the program will continue to expand, Bolte said. To that end, the Salt Lake City Council has pledged its ardent support for the well-received bike share program.

“When we consider the long-range goals for our city, GREENbike plays a critical role in helping us achieve those goals," Salt Lake City Councilman Derek Kitchen said. “GREENbike helps people get around town quickly and encourages an active, healthy lifestyle.”

The program also promotes clean air and helps the city continue its progressive approach to transportation and creating "complete streets" that accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists as well as motorists, Kitchen said.

“Salt Lake has invested in a world-class bicycle infrastructure that we should be proud of, and GREENbike allows people of all skill levels to take advantage of this,” he said. “GREENbike is getting people out of their cars and engaging with their city.”

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