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A cyclist rides on the Tammany Trace. A study is currently being conducted that could be the basis for a bikeshare program in St. Tammany. 

The Northshore Community Foundation has hired Bantam Strategy Group in partnership with Toole Design Group, two experienced bikeshare firms, to study the feasibility and implementation of a regional bikeshare system serving St. Tammany Parish.

Bikeshare systems are advancing in mid-size and small cities across the country, offering another transportation option as some people opt to pedal as a healthier alternative. Bantam Strategy Group will be working through a six- to eight-month process to determine the feasibility of a regional bikeshare system.

Its efforts will include a website with interactive mapping, community outreach meetings and several layers of GIS analysis to determine the fleet size and service area.

Slated to start work in May 2018, the initial phase will focus on Mandeville, Covington, Madisonville, Slidell, Lacombe and Abita Springs. The Tammany Trace, which will be a focus area of the study, is a spine connecting most of these communities; however, the objective of this study is to assess the viability of bikeshare serving the citizens, businesses and attractions in the core of each municipality.

“Connecting people regardless of socio-economic status to places and communities in St. Tammany Parish with a high-performing, accessible and sustainable transportation option is the mission,” said Lindsey G. West, president and CEO of Bantam Strategy Group. “We are excited to partner with Northshore Community Foundation, (St. Tammany) Parish and other local partners that have come together to accomplish this community-driven initiative.”

The Northshore Community Foundation’s efforts to conduct such a study raised questions last year when Parish President Pat Brister’s administration asked municipalities and the St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission to contribute $25,000 each to the study, which was to cost $170,000.

The Tourist and Convention Commission voted against contributing to the study. Citing three bike rental businesses that operate in the parish, it said state law prohibits it from doing anything that results in competition among local retail businesses or enterprises.

Mayors throughout the parish expressed support for the program at the time, however, some saying that because bike rental businesses were not present in their towns, that a bikeshare program would benefit their communities.

To learn more visit www.tammanybikeshare.com or follow the St. Tammany Bikeshare Facebook page.

U.S. 11 Bridge inspection forces closure

There will be a complete closure of the U.S. 11 overpass over the NO & NE Railroad in Slidell on May 24 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. (weather permitting) while crews perform a routine inspection.

Covington police chief honored 

Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz has been selected to receive the Bureau of Governmental Research’s Excellence in Government 2018 Innovation Award for his work in initiating and implementing the Operation Angel Program, which allows complying drug addicts to seek rehabilitation  rather than be incarcerated.

BGR is a non-profit, independent research organization dedicated to informed public policy-making and the effective use of public resources in the New Orleans Metropolitan Area.

Lentz was nominated for the award by Parish President Pat Brister. Parish Superintendent of Schools Trey Folse also participated in the interview process with the selection committee, and recommended Lentz for the award.

The Excellence in Government Awards, a biennial program founded in 1994, recognizes government employees and private citizens for outstanding performance and creative problem-solving that significantly improves local government.