Austin’s bike share program is finally really beginning to roll. This is a monumental achievement for Austin’s urban core.
Later this year, the first 10 stations with about 100 bicycles will be in operation. The remaining stations will follow in Spring 2014. In total, the system will have approximately 400 bikes, 600 docks, and 40 stations.
This bike share system, long passed off as a novelty, will become integral to City of Austin decisions regarding mobility and transit policy in the urban core. I’ve been advocating since 2010 that the return on investment is huge. For distances of less than one-mile, these are cost-effective systems of getting urban-Austinites and visitors where they want to go. The system encourages users to spontaneously decide to “go further” than they would have otherwise gone on foot – an amazing recreational amenity for our city.
The city just launched a new website (http://www.votebikeshareaustin.com) soliciting feedback for where the public (that’s you!) would want to see bike share kiosks placed around the city and and a number of public engagement events are scheduled – including one today at City Hall. The nifty little website (produced out of the Open Austin collaborative) lets anyone suggest a location and others vote on the location.
Below is a screen grab showing where people have suggested locations. I’ve highlighted a few “no-brainer” locations with green dots.
Very exciting stuff.
Lance Hunter says
I think the areas that will benefit the most from this program will be the low-lying zones near downtown. East 6th (actual East 6th, not dirty 6th) already sees tons of bike traffic, but this could help convince more people to head all the way out to the coffee shops, bistros, and studio spaces that are on the further end of that street. East Cesar Chavez could see a similar increase in traffic. This will also be an easy way to hop over to Whole Foods (and the new Trader Joe’s).
I think it will be less beneficial to anything north of 7th street or south of Riverside. That’s when the terrain starts to get hilly and makes for a more difficult ride. Hell, the South Congress hill is so notorious that Homeslice Pizza’s hold music talks about how they’ve got bike parking reserved for those who survive the hill. Then again, it’s not like South Congress is hurting for traffic.