Downtown Austin bike-share locations revealed
The city of Austin and Bike Share of Austin have proposed 11 initial locations for the Dec. 24 roll out of Austin’s bike-share kiosks.
The 11 locations are distributed throughout downtown, with six of them creating a main thoroughfare along Congress Avenue running from the Capitol building in the north to East Monroe Street in the south.
Three stations spread from the east to west along Fifth and Sixth streets, enabling trips from Neches Street in the east to just past downtown’s Whole Foods Market in the west. There’s also a station along Lavaca at Republic Square and one more near the Long Center for the Performing Arts.
The stations are intended to promote short trips between the hubs and are concentrated downtown so commuters and riders can quickly hop between them.
Still, the smaller roll out means the program will serve only the most high-traffic corridors in Central Austin, mostly north of Lady Bird Lake.
For example, a ride to South Congress could mean traversing the bridge and busy avenue from Second Street down to West James Street. That’s about a mile, according to Google Maps, which does place the trip well within the trip range that other cities’ bike-share programs have seen. In New York, 54 percent of all tripsare under two miles.
Similarly, the bike station on Bowie Street near Whole Foods is a little isolated, with about half a mile and six blocks before riders hit the closest kiosk at Republic Square. That likely won’t be much of an issue for cyclists headed from Whole Foods to downtown and back, but it will restrict bike-share travel west of Whole Foods.
Many of those limitations will likely be solved by the addition of more stations – which is already scheduled to happen by March 2014 when Austin’s bike-share adds an additional 30 stations and 400 bicycles, according to a press release.
The bike-share program closed its public input for bike locations in September after receiving more than 6,000 votes online. The project has been funded by a number of sponsors, a $1.5 million in Texas Department of Transportation funding and $500,000 in locally provided matching funding. The project is cost-neutral to the city.
Nonprofit organization Bike Share of Austin LLC will manage and support the bike share program for the city of Austin. The city has contracted with B-Cycle to provide the bike share equipment and kiosks.
Robert Grattan Staff Writer-Austin Business Journal