Feasibility Study For Bike Share in St. Louis Underway
Is bike share a realistic expectation for St. Louis? Several cities have instituted bike share plans—most notably Washington D.C. and New York City—that have been highly successful and have silenced critics. Now, a Bike Share station could be coming to a street near you. A feasibility study is currently underway by Great Rivers Greenway District and partners at St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Metro and others.
Among the issues and priorities that are currently being discussed are system technologies, overall service area, station locations, fee structure and performance measures.
In both Washington, D.C. and Boston, bike share has shown itself to be safe and operations have proven to be operationally self-sustaining, with funds coming from a combination of corporate sponsorship, advertising and user revenues. Moreover, municipalities have been indemnified from liability by non-profit operating partners. St. Louis has the benefit of being able to draw from the experiences and success of these cities and others like them.
One strong lesson that has emerged from other cities’ experiences is the importance of rolling out the plan as expansively as possible right from the get-go. Essentially, by beginning with a large number of stations, users can deposit their bikes more conveniently and across a wider area, leading to more users and thereby making bike share an extension of the city’s public transportation system. Conversely, starting small can result in fewer people utilizing the system, creating less impact and making it more difficult to acquire funding and support for future expansion.
So what are the goals of the St. Louis bike share system? According to Great Rivers Greenway:
- Improve the quality of life in the St. Louis region
- Enhance the community experience for residents and visitors through safe and convenient bicycling
- Provide a time-efficient, low-cost opportunity to meet recommended amounts of daily physical activity
- Increase access to job opportunities and education for residents
- Bring recreational tourists to the St. Louis region
- Attract businesses and students interested in livable communities to the region
- Promote travel to local and regional landmarks, park, trails and shopping districts
- Expand low-cost transportation options and mobility for residents and visitors, including low-income individuals
- Improve vibrancy and safety of communities by increasing the number of “eyes on the street”
- Enhance the existing transportation system while improving air quality and reducing motor vehicle traffic
- Increase inter-modal mobility opportunities through access to existing public transit
- Further the region’s goals of environmental, economic and social sustainability
- Increase mobility independence for a wide cross-section of the region’s citizens
Do you think St. Louis is ready for such a plan? Share your comments below.
For more information on St. Louis Bike Share, visit the Great Rivers Greenway website.