Eisenhower Park may become the second location in New York state where residents can rent bicycles.
Following in the footsteps of Long Beach — the first New York locale to offer a bike-sharing program — Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano asked for proposals for the park from potential vendors on July 25.
“Recreational cycling has become increasingly more popular, as it provides everyone with an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while taking part in a healthy activity,” Mangano said in a statement. “Bike riding offers healthy and family-friendly fun, [and] we are committed to providing residents and visitors with a wide range of recreational activities in our parks.”
According to the request for proposals, the county is looking for a business to provide bike rentals and repairs and to sell bicycling-related accessories. The company should have “a history of community involvement, as well as extensive experience in the bicycle rental business.” The RFP also mentions the need for an additional rental facility at Cedar Creek Park in Seaford.
Companies have shown interest, according to Nassau County Press Secretary Katie Grilli-Robles, but have asked for additional information. She added that the county is working on a new RFP, which will be released soon.
A bike rental facility at Eisenhower Park is a “great idea,” said East Meadow Chamber of Commerce President Millie Jones. “So many people are focused on their health. A brisk walk in the park can now be a bike ride with little or no effort.”
Westbury resident Paulette German also lauded the program on Facebook, but added, “only with helmet rentals mandated.”
While many locals say they like the idea, some expressed concerns. Kerri Preemiememe, of Westbury, said she would worry about theft, and Judy Cohen-Rosenberg, of East Meadow, said she doesn’t want the county to spend money on luxury items. “The county should work out the Legislature’s stalemate on funding children’s services before a bike rental program,” Cohen-Rosenberg said. “Necessities before luxuries.”
The 930-acre Eisenhower Park was chosen as a good spot for a bike rental facility because it is one of the largest public spaces in the New York metropolitan area — larger than Central Park — and has some 20 miles of paved bike paths.
Cedar Creek Park has a 4.5-mile bike path that runs along the Wantagh State Parkway, and, the county added in as statement, the State Department of Transportation is planning an additional 4.5-mile path to connect Ocean Parkway and Captree State Park in the Town of Babylon.
Companies that respond to the RFP are encouraged to suggest additional locations in Nassau County parks where bike rental stations would be popular.
The Miami-based DecoBike — which opened its bike-sharing program in Long Beach in June — did not return calls seeking comment on whether it has expressed interest in the county’s proposal, but Bonaficio Diaz, DecoBike’s chief operating officer, told the Herald last month that the Long Beach program is a success.
If a rental program in Eisenhower Park were to mimic DecoBike’s in Long Beach, there would be multiple solar-powered bike rental stations throughout the park that would be accessible 24 hours a day. DecoBike users can rent bikes using credit cards, with fees starting at $4 for 30 minutes and ranging up to $24 for eight hours.
The DecoBike program, Diaz added, will also help curb carbon emissions.