AUSTIN (KXAN) - The City of Austin's bike share program is getting ready to roll out later this year with 10 kiosk stations and approximately 100 bicycles in operation throughout the downtown area.
In the meantime, the City of Austin's Public Works Department and local non-profit Bike Share of Austin want locals to suggest where they would like kiosk stations to be built and to vote on already-suggested kiosk locations through their website, votebikeshareaustin.com.
Using an interactive map, website visitors can place a bike icon over the location where they would like to see a kiosk station placed and also vote on a color preference for the bikes – red, grey or blue.
By Spring 2014, the city plans to have a total of 40 kiosk stations with 400 bikes and 600 docks in place for locals, tourists and commuters alike.
"Bike Share helps users complete those ‘first and last mile' connections," in the Capitol Metro bus and rail system, said Bike Share Project Coordinator Adrian Lipscombe.
Director of Bike Share Austin Craig Staley said, "Bike sharing is the single best addition we can make to augment Austin's existing transit system. Nothing else is as inexpensive and quick to implement."
In the summer of 2012, Austin was awarded a $1.5 million grant to start the bike share program. Bike Share of Austin is partnering with the city to provide the program with $500,000 in matching funds.
As the bike share program develops, future kiosk stations could be built outside the downtown Austin area.
For now, the kiosk stations are planned to be on average two or three blocks apart and will be located in close proximity to local attractions, transit stations and other popular destinations, according to the City of Austin's website .
In June, the City of Austin approved a contract with the company B-cycle to purchase the bicycles and equipment needed for the program. B-cycle bikes are built to fit a wide range of users and come with a built-in 'Kryptonite' cable lock and a GPS system for tracking purposes.
B-cycle has successfully implemented 17 bike-share programs in the U.S., including one in Houston, Fort Worth and San Antonio.
While the cost of an Austin bike share membership is still in the works, the cost of participating in the San Antonio bike share program ranges from $10 for a day pass to $60 for a year.
According to the City of Austin website, bike share kiosks will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Community-input events for Austin's bike share program will be held at Capital Metro's Plaza Saltillo Station on July 29 at 7 p.m. and at Austin City Hall on Aug. 1 at 7:30 a.m.
Attendees will be able to speak to staff members about the bike share program as well as suggest and vote for kiosk locations and view bike share equipment.
Throughout the months of July and August, members from the Public Works' Bicycle Program and Bike Share of Austin will be visiting different Austin locations to gather citizen input using mobile devices.
A complete schedule of bike share events and activities can be found at votebikeshareaustin.com.
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