Long Beach debuted its new bike-sharing program Thursday, which would allow residents with a membership to use and rent bikes placed around the city.

The program will start in downtown Long Beach with about 100 bikes, and an expansion across the entire city, with 500 bikes in 50 stations, is planned by summer 2016.

The bike-sharing program would act as an alternative mode of transportation to access multiple locations around the city.

"We imagine expanding to be able to get to the universities and to the beach," said Nate Baird, Mobility and Healthy Living Program Officer for the City of Long Beach.

To initiate the project, Long Beach partnered with CycleHop, a company that bills itself as "the largest 'smart bike' bike share program operator in North America." The city also received a federal grant.

Membership options will be available online beginning Mar. 19 and will include various package options ranging from a $7 daily pass to a $15 or $20 monthly pass that would include 60 or 90 minutes of ride time. Yearly plans and discounts will be offered to large organizations and institutions within the area.

The bikes will feature eight speeds and adjustable seats to adapt to different sizes and levels of fitness.

The project is just one of many ways the city is trying to promote biking as transportation.

"Bike-Share is just one more great component of a bike friendly city," Baird said. "It is part of our vision of becoming the most bike-friendly city in the nation."

The city also plans to add on to its recently-opened bike lane on Pacific Avenue and its 3-mile Beach Bike Path.

"This really adds a lot to our existing biking structure. It's going to be a great way to get around the city," Baird said.

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