Fort Worth is taking strides to become a more “bike-friendly” city by adopting a new bike-sharing program by April 2013.
A total of 30 bike stations with 300 bikes will be installed around the city for people to rent by the minute, day, week, or year, according to Tony Johnson, the executive vice president of operations for the Fort Worth Transportation Authority.
Stations are planned to be constructed in popular places such as Sundance Square, West 7th Street, the Stockyards, TCU and the Magnolia Street area. Fort Worth Bike Sharing, a new non-profit organization, will operate the program with an outside vendor that has yet to be determined.
Robin Cole, a senior nursing major, said she thinks the program will help make areas around Fort Worth more accessible, especially for university students like herself.
“Since I don’t have a bike anymore, I would definitely use the bike-sharing system,” she said. “I think it would be fun.”
Bryan Vaughn, a senior movement science major, said he is unsure about how often the bikes would be used in the downtown and West 7th Street area.
“I think the station at TCU would be used more often than the ones around West 7th Street and downtown,” he said. “I think it is a good idea though.”
According to the Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey, more than 777,000 people used bicycles as their primary mode of transportation to and from work last year. While cyclists only make up a fraction of a percent of all commuters in most of the U.S., more than five percent of working adults bike to work in urban cities with a population exceeding 65,000.
This interactive map from a Governing magazine article, “New Data Shows Where Americans Bike to Work,” shows the prevalence of bicycle commuters for areas surveyed by the U.S. Census. Larger circles represent higher shares of total commuters in 2011.
Other cities around the U.S. have adopted bike sharing systems, including Denver, San Antonio and Washington D.C. According to the Denver B Cycle website, bike users can rent a bicycle for $6 per day, $20 per week, $30 per month or $65 per year.
Kevin Buchanan, who operates local blog Fort Worthology and is a bicycling enthusiast, said the program is being funded by a $941,728 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, along with $100,000 in local match funds from The T and $260,000 in sponsorships.
The nearly $1 million grant from the Department of Transportation was part of a $787 million grant dispersed among 255 projects throughout the U.S.
“This is a huge step forward for human-powered transportation in Fort Worth, as well as the livability of the central city,” Buchanan said.