June 27 2014

Cycle or Psycho Paths: Ft. Worth, Texas’ New Bike Share

Is there room for a bike share in a largely car-dependent area?

With the exception of a few dense areas, North Texas is notorious for its sprawl and car-dependency. Despite Dallas activists working to tear down a highway to create greater walkability and the city’s recent approval of connective bike lanes, the culture of people-centered mobility continues to grow slowly and encounter large expanses of abandoned downtown areas. However, nearby Ft. Worth, TX which is designed with much of the same infrastructure, introduced a bike share system two years ago in their downtown area with apparent success.

Ft. Worth Bike Share stations are located largely in concentrated hubs surrounding high (foot)-traffic areas such as the Cultural District, Downtown area, and the campus of Texas Christian University.

Ft. Worth, Texas Bike Sharing

The bike share is part of a national “B-cycle” network of bikes. Different from bike rental, bike share is comparable to a parking meter, while rental functions like a parking pass. Users pay an initial fee to a station’s meter to release a standard bike, then are charged by the hour until it is returned to any station. With locations in Austin, Denver, San Antonio, and more, B-cycle facilitates a system to bridge the gap between bike ownership and rental, in dense urban areas.

Ft. Worth Bike Share, Downtown Houston St. Station, Texas

I spent the afternoon with a friend exploring, on bike, and the roads were extremely friendly and easy to navigate. Streets were shaded and there were diverse and accessible attractions within the small, dense area. The space lacked pedestrian-friendly ambiance, with few sidewalk cafes, or monuments with shading; but with bike lanes and wide sidewalks, the downtown area was not dominated by cars, making the ride feel safe and enjoyable. Without a doubt, the extent of the bike share’s usability ended when we reached high-traffic streets and large, deserted areas, which framed the downtown; but the system seemed like a good, low-cost mobility addition for those living or working in the area.

Does your city have a bike share? Where do you see this idea becoming successful?

Credits: Image by Christine Cepelak. Data linked to sources.

Christine Cepelak

Christine Cepelak is an emerging sustainability and corporate social responsibility professional in the Dallas, Texas area. Interested in how communities can facilitate connection, well-being, and equality, she has spent time serving on location in an Indian orphanage, applying community development principles in East Dallas, and investigating the cutting edge of sustainability practices in Denmark. With an academic background in International Political Economy, she hopes to bring the value of poli-economic context and social consequence to the forefront of sustainable urban development conversation.

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This entry was posted on Friday, June 27th, 2014 at 9:44 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Environment, Infrastructure, Land Use, Transportation, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


One Response to “Cycle or Psycho Paths: Ft. Worth, Texas’ New Bike Share”

  1. Gonzalo Monfort Says:

    In Valencia (Spain), a bike share service (http://www.valenbisi.com/) is operating since summer of 2010. Nowadays, we almost have 275 bike stations with 2750 bikes around the city, which is near 800K inhabitants.

    Although Valencia is completely plain and weather lets bikers enjoy the whole year, we haven’t good bike lanes yet. Furthermore, finding free places to parking bikes or free bikes to pick is not easy everytime.

    Nevertheless, people are happy with the system in general due the affordable prices and the info tools that lets you to know station’s location and status in real time with your smartphone. The City Council has developed an app that includes this information.

    Some changes are needed to improve the system and get more benefits to the citizen, specially people’s sensibilization and street section design.

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