The plan for the so-called Bike Share Houston program is to intrigue residents and visitors with the technology, then raise funds to install additional locations. The effort is modeled after one started last spring in San Antonio.
The Alamo City now has 20 bike share kiosks at such destinations as the Alamo, Hemisfair, La Villita, the city’s convention center and central library. About 1,000 San Antonio residents have purchased yearly memberships in the program since the first bikes rolled in April.
Bike Share Houston – a joint project of the city, Bike Barn and the nonprofit Bike Houston organization – will begin with kiosks at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Market Square and downtown’s Central Library.
Kim Burley, deputy assistant director of the city’s fleet management department, said the contractor, B-Cycle LLC, will have 120 days to get the system up and running. The company also installed San Antonio’s system and those in Chicago, Denver and other cities.
Bike Houston president Darren Sabom said the three kiosks and their 18 bikes are designed to show Houston residents how the system works. Ultimately, with the help of donors and grants, additional kiosks may be added at select light rail stops and other locations.
Such a network of kiosks could help residents and visitors navigate the Rice University campus, Hermann Park, the Museum District and the Texas Medical Center.
“After stepping off a bus or train, it would fill the gap of the last five blocks of your trip,” Sabom said.
Obviously, the goal will be to get this out to other locations as soon as possible. Things that I can think of to help achieve that goal will be promotion, highlighting bike-friendly routes near and between kiosk locations, and in the longer term street improvements. We should be thinking about locations that could be a good fit for this as well, such as the Washington corridor and the Upper Kirby area, where it might be nice to leave your car in one place and use a bike to get to other destinations. I’m sure there are other possibilities, including some that won’t be apparent until people start using it. I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes, and to using it myself.