Where Should St. Louis Build Bike Sharing Stations?

click to enlarge A bike sharing station in Boston. - JOE MAZZOLA ON FLICKR
A bike sharing station in Boston.

Imagine checking out a bicycle like you would a library book, riding it for half an hour or so -- from work to the Metrolink stop, or from class back home -- and checking it back in when you arrive.

Bike sharing has already taken off in Washington D.C., Kansas City, New York, Boston and Denver. Now, St. Louis officials and sustainability experts are studying whether the collaborative and eco-friendly transportation model would work here.

But first, they'll need your help to answer this basic question: Where should St. Louis put stations for shared bikes?

"We're really hoping to hear from people on what they hope to get out of a bike share in St. Louis," says Elizabeth Simons of Great Rivers Greenway, which partnered with the city, the county and Metro to commission a bike share feasibility study for the region.

See also: Bicycle Ban Amendment Defeated: Cyclists Celebrate "Victory of the Decade"

Dozens of would-be riders have already submitted potential locations for shared-bike stations -- from as far north as I-270 and Riverview Drive all the way south at Gravois Road and the River Des Peres -- using the study's specially-designed map. So far, most suggestions seem to be in the central corridor or in south city.

Simons says ideal locations for bike share stations would be near public transit stops, such as a Metrolink station or major bus route, in a neighborhood with a variety of nearby destinations, including offices, restaurants, shops and houses or apartments.

"Metrolink can get you a large part of the way to work or to where you live, but usually, that last mile is an issue," Simons tells Daily RFT. "That's how a bike share system could help."

Here's what a shared bike might look like: If you suggest a spot for a bike share station, don't forget to plead your case in the comments. One person suggested building a bike station at Cleveland and Thurman avenues in the Shaw neighborhood, commenting, "We need more stuff like this in the heart of residential areas, not just out at the fringes. Let me walk a block, grab a bike and run to the store."

Great Rivers Greenway is also hosting two community workshops on bike sharing this month: from 4-7 p.m. May 14 at the Forest Park Visitors Center and 7:30-8:30 a.m. May 15 at Webster University's downtown campus, 815 Olive Street, Room 20.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at [email protected].

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