St. Louis Bike-Sharing: Mayor, Advocates Pursue Cycling System Similar to Other Cities

bike-share-denver.jpg
via Mikeshoup
Bike-sharing station in Denver.
The city of St. Louis will have a bike-sharing program.

So says the office of Mayor Francis Slay, which is now partnering with several entities to launch the first step of pursuing a bike-share program similar to the ones that have been successful in major cities across the United States.

"Promoting a cycling-friendly city has been a priority of the mayor," Patrick Brown, assistant to Slay, tells Daily RFT. "We brought our operating departments a long way in understanding the...health benefits and community-building potential that lies within giving people this additional option for transportation.... Bike-sharing is just an extension of that. It really will help to promote the commuters and the tourists within the city."

Slay tweeted this week that bike-sharing is definitively on its way to St. Louis.

Brown, who is the designated bike-pedestrian coordinator for the mayor's office, says, "When he says something is going to happen, it's going to happen. It really is a matter of when and how."

mayor-slay-sustainability.jpg
via stlouis-mo.gov
Mayor Francis Slay.

Brown says the city is partnering with Great Rivers Greenway and advocacy group Trailnet. Great Rivers Greenway, which has promoted local bike trails, is currently drafting what is called a "request for qualification," or RFQ, as a first step and then will seek a feasibility study, he explains.

"It's not just D.C., Chicago, New York," he says. "There are smaller-market cities that have done this successfully. So those models exist."

He cites Alta Bicycle Share as a potential company that could oversee the process here. Bike-sharing programs typically involve strategically placed stations throughout a city in which users -- through a range of one-time fees to long-term memberships -- can pick up and drop off bikes.

While density is a factor, Brown says, he is confident that St. Louis can build a thriving bike-sharing program.

capital-bikeshare.JPG
via Benoît Prieur
Bike-sharing in Washington, D.C., one of the first cities in the U.S. to implement this.

"This is...another nudge toward the alternative mode of transportation that we're trying to introduce," he says, adding, "It's a big operation...but there are very good models."

It's too early to offer a timeframe, he says, but he emphasizes that this is a priority of the mayor's office that the city wants to push forward in the near future.

A bike-sharing program, he argues, can attract more people to St. Louis and keep residents here. "If we can create density through a bike share and additionally have healthier, more explorative sort of folks that are checking out our neighborhoods, then that's great."

He continues, "It's something that the community has expressed interest in and elected officials have expressed interest in."

Bike-sharing is another step in making St. Louis less of a car-centric city, he adds.

These systems have environmental, health and economic benefits, Brown says: "We need people to get out of their cars for the health of our neighborhoods. We need them to explore and see the options available to them and spend money in these places, so we can encourage more small businesses to open and continue to stabilize our neighborhoods."

He says, "All the indicators for this are positive."

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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21 comments
dalediversity
dalediversity topcommenter

Hopefully they'll be careful about where they place these, or the bikes will disappear, if you know what I mean. 


Lin Staum
Lin Staum

Minneapolis has it and it rocks!

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

why they wont get maintained cause the city officials will embezzle all the money

Erin McMahon
Erin McMahon

we already have it- called theft, available in the whole city. We have a great car program too!

Natasha Rayna Helm
Natasha Rayna Helm

Omg- the b-cycle here in denver is awesome. Coming from the lou, this would be awesome there too!!!!

Abbey Allred Wharton
Abbey Allred Wharton

KC's has been a great success -- I see people downtown on them all the time, and I can't wait for it to expand to other city neighborhoods!

Rachel Davidson
Rachel Davidson

St Louis is also notorious for bikers that think the rules of the road do not apply to them. I used to have to drive down Morganford a few times a day and had a few close calls with bikes just going through stop signs without even looking. Bikers have to obey the laws just as drivers do.

Jim Gibbons
Jim Gibbons

St. Louis is notoriously unfriendly to bikers. There are few streets with bike lanes, and drivers are oblivious to their surroundings. Ask any city or road biker how many times they've had a close call.

Joshua Lewis
Joshua Lewis

Anyone who thinks this isn't awesome can visit DC or one of the other cities with this (which have far higher population density and traffic) and see how awesome they are.

Colin Suchland
Colin Suchland

I'm in NYC right now and the CitiBikes + Dedicated Bike lanes are great. The bikes are "smart" and they really help develop a bike-friendly transit culture. I'd love to see this back home in ThaLou

Jason Charney
Jason Charney

It would be nice if we could get a MASS TRANSIT SYSTEM that works first before we jump on board with this plan. John Nations must be crazy to think we won't pay more to get better service. I'd gladly pay $80 for my monthly fare each month if it didn't mean every bus has to stop at North Hanley Station. I can think of a lot of good reasons the #35 should make a pit stop at Village Square in Hazelwood to meet up with the #44 and #66.

Jacob Cordia
Jacob Cordia

its a nice idea but you know most of them are going to get stolen by punk ass kids..

Al Herriman
Al Herriman

those bikes better have onstar, because the brothas gonna steal'em all the first day.

route115
route115

@Al Herriman so stupid. White people don't steal? Who stole $500,000 from the city's parks department? The brothas? How many bikes could have been bought with $500K? People like you make STL a racial cesspool. You turned good news into an unnecessary racial issue. 

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