Sustainability Action Agenda: Austin’s Bike Share Program Will Help Ease Congestion and Improve Air Quality
Are you ready to rethink your ride? A bike share program is coming to Austin in December! Initially the service will focus on the downtown area, with 11 stations and 110 bicycles in operation. By next spring, the remaining 30 stations and 300 bikes will be installed.
As many of us battle the ever-increasing traffic congestion on downtown streets, driving is not the most convenient way to get around the urban core – biking is.
“One advantage that bike sharing may have [over bike renting] is for people that are already in and around downtown,” says Shilpa Bakre, Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau Senior Communications Manager. “They can simply walk to one of the kiosks and hop on a bike right away.”
Austin was awarded a $1.5 million federal grant in the summer of 2012 to fund implementation of a bike share program. In July of this year, Council approved a contract with B-Cycle to purchase the equipment needed to operate a bike share system in Austin. Bike Share of Austin, the City’s managing partner for the program, will maintain the bikes, including transporting, marketing, and securing station sponsorships.
“I believe bike sharing is the single best addition we can make to augment Austin’s existing transit system. Nothing else is as inexpensive and quick to implement,” says Craig Staley, Director of Bike Share of Austin.
Bikes will be equipped with always-on front and rear lights for safety purposes. The docking stations and kiosks will be powered by a combination of solar, A/C, and batteries.
Throughout the summer, the Public Works Department offered ways for residents to submit input on program specifics. Facebook, Twitter, blog posts, public meetings, and the City website were used to collect votes for proposed station locations as well as color preferences for the bikes. All in all, the public cast more than 6,000 votes and suggestions. On November 13, Bike Share of Austin will announce the color of the bicycles and locations for the first 11 stations.
Biking offers many benefits – improved health and fitness, reduced traffic congestion and air pollutants, decreased stress and less time wasted sitting in bumper to bumper traffic. Are you ready to ride?
Find out more about the sustainability initiatives being tracked as part of the Sustainability Action Agenda and decide how you will take action to secure a bright, green future for Austin .