Town puts wheels in motion to add bike share

The program has formed congruence with other developments throughout the township.

Gloucester Township launched a bike share program on Aug. 16. The 10-unit kiosk is located on West Church Street and Washington Avenue, next to the Gloucester Township Health and Fitness Trail.

The dinging of bells and ticking of brakes have been resounding throughout Gloucester Township.

The sounds are a testimony to the township’s new bike share. Since its launch on Aug. 16, the program has provided both recreationally and environmentally beneficial transportation to the community.

“We’ve seen an increase week upon week,” Mayor David R. Mayer said. “We’re seeing an increase in usage and more and more people are utilizing the app.”

The kiosk, located at the corner of West Church Street and Washington Avenue, houses 10 glistening white cruiser bicycles, each adorned with brown leather seats and silver bells.

The maintenance of the bikes and parking station is managed by Gloucester Township Public Works.

The rental is free of charge, encouraging local residents to exercise and soak in the final few weeks of summertime. Participants must download and sign-up with Movatic, a smartphone app, that grants access to and gives availability of the bikes. The bikes’ locations are monitored through the app.

The 10 bikes are protected with solar-powered Bluetooth locks. Although they’re free to use, bikes must be secured with credit cards.

The program was purchased through the Camden County Open Space Grant, which preserves parks, natural areas, historic sites and farmland, not only for their scenic value, but for their use and enjoyment, according to Camden County’s website.

“The program certainly augments all our other recreational activities,” Mayer said.

These resources include Timber Creek Dog Park, Veteran’s Park Track and the Gloucester Township Pool.

Aside from recreational development, the bike program’s installation works in tandem with other advancing aspects of the township. As Gloucester Township undergoes financial gains, it’s important the township’s greenery germinates simultaneously.

“There always needs to be balance in the community,” Mayer said. “As we’re seeing commercial and economic growth, we have to balance that out with open space.”

That balance will, in due course, lead to the expansion of the Gloucester Township Health and Fitness Trail, formerly known as the Blackwood Railroad Trail.

The route, which is about 2.7 miles, has received additions each year since 2010. Running parallel to the Black Horse Pike, it weaves all the way up to Brown Avenue at Atlantic Avenue and Main Street at Glenloch Lake in Washington Township. Over the next year, the township plans to expand the bikeway to Landing Road and Lower Landing Road in Blackwood. The township has even proposed to extend the route to Evesham Road, near Runnemede over the next few years, growing to a total distance of 4.4 miles.

Although the bike share is only in its infancy, Mayer hopes that as the trail lengthens, the program will innately evolve, acquiring more bike units and parking docks over the next couple of years.

“The bicycle kiosk adds another dimension to the bicycle path,” he said. “And depending upon usage, if we see greater usage, we’ll try to add more.”