Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Another Effort Underway to Start a Bike-Share System in St. Louis

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Another Effort Underway to Start a Bike-Share System in St. Louis

Article excerpt

A new effort is underway to start a bike-share program in St. Louis similar to one already in place in numerous other American cities.

The Bi-State Development Agency, which runs MetroLink and Metro buses, recently applied for a $1.4 million federal grant to help set up the system.

The Great Rivers Greenway park district, which released a detailed study in 2014 on how a bike-share system here could operate, competed for a bike-share startup grant in 2015 but was turned down in favor of other ideas.

The rejection was from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, which will now consider Bi-State's request.

As with the 2015 proposal, the current plan would be rooted in the region's central corridor.

Bikes could be made available from downtown St. Louis to as far west as Clayton but details on the exact geographic boundaries have yet to be decided.

However, the potential footprint also extends as far north as Martin Luther King Drive and as far south as Chouteau Avenue. Later phases could cover other areas.

Bike-share programs allow users, mainly commuters and tourists, to rent a heavy-duty bike for relatively short trips. The shared bicycles are picked up and left at docking stations within a specified geographic area.

Users also might be given the option of paying an extra fee to leave bikes at racks in places other than official docking stations; people would use smartphones to locate them. Bikes would be equipped with locks activated by keypads or some other device.

Bi-State's current plan builds on the Greenway district's idea; in fact, the two agencies are cooperating on the new project along with other organizations.

Also yet to be determined are the locations of docking stations and rental kiosks.

Bi-State has begun lining up businesses, institutions and public agencies to help foot some of the bill.

Planners hope that the bike-share plan can begin operating by mid-2019. However, John Nations, Bi-State president and CEO, says the timing depends on rounding up enough advance funding commitments.

"The plan is we will have all the capital costs and three years worth of operating (money) before that plan is implemented," he said. …

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