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Can A Bike Sharing Program Succeed in St. Louis?

Flickr/Jeremy Noble

St. Louis could be the next U.S. city to host an urban bike-sharing program. Great Rivers Greenway is conducting a feasibility study to determine how successful such a program would be in the area.

“We want to look at the destinations where our residents are traveling to on a daily basis, whether that’s [to] work or shopping areas, or dining areas,” said Assistant Project Manager Elizabeth Simons. 

“Also we want to make sure that we’re taking into account the destinations that our visitors into the St. Louis area are most often traveling to.”

The study will look at potential demand and site locations for a service that offers short-term bike rentals using a network of automated kiosks or programmed bicycles.

In recent years, a number of cities including Denver, Houston and Kansas City have set up similar services. Some have been more successful than others, however. New York’s Citi Bike program, for instance, has struggled financially due to technical issues, lawsuits and lack of use.

That’s one reason why Great Rivers Greenway has launched the study, said Simons.

“I think that is one benefit that we have in coming in not in the initial phase, but a little bit later in the game to bike-share: we’re learning what is working and what is not in other cities,” said Simons.

The consulting group Alta Planning + Design is leading the study. Its sister company, Alta Bicycle Share, operates the bike sharing service in New York City and other locations.

A final report based on the study in St. Louis is expected by the end of the year. 

Residents can also applyto serve on an advisory committee to provide additional feedback.