Phoenix considers expanding Grid Bike Share program

The City of Phoenix Transit and Infrastructure Subcommittee voted unanimously to expand the city’s Grid Bike Share program Wednesday morning. (Nicholas Serpa/DD)

The City of Phoenix Transit and Infrastructure Subcommittee voted unanimously to expand the city’s Grid Bike Share program Wednesday morning, sending the expansion one step closer to final approval by the Phoenix City Council.

The proposal aims to add 20 new stations and expand four other stations, thus providing improved amenities for Bike Share users. These new stations will be built upon the already existing network.

The total cost to implement the expansion of the Bike Share Program is $825,000.

Some of the new proposed stations include bike racks at Central Avenue and Van Buren Street, Fifth Street and McDowell Road and uptown at Seventh Avenue and Colter Street.

“Get yourself and the Downtown Phoenix Partnership to put in more bicycle racks,” said Diane Barker, a local Phoenix cyclist during the public comments period.

During the meeting, Barker explained she had ridden there on a bicycle. She even noted that she saw other bicyclists on Grid Bikes while on her way to the subcommittee meeting Wednesday morning.

“There are some bicycle racks that don’t have that bicycle [that’s missing from the rack] and others are full because they need to park,” Barker said, referencing the popularity of the program.

The program is gaining popularity. Even in 100-degree summer heat, the summer months of 2016 had more bike share rides than all of 2015.

Local bicyclist Marco Perez said the program has helped bicycling become an attraction for the downtown area.

“I think Grid is a date option,” said Perez. “People that come down here, get on Grid, bike around [and] go to dinner.”

As of Dec. 31, 2016, the Grid Bike Share program boasted 49 stations and a capacity for 500 bicycles. The total number of registered users stands at over 11,000 people. Calendar year 2016 saw a 28.5 percent increase in total trips and a 29.7 percent increase in miles traveled.

Recently, the Phoenix community has taken an active role in encouraging the city to continue investing in bicycling programs and facilities.

As part of Phoenix’s strategy to create an alternative transportation method for its urban dwellers, the Phoenix City Council approved the Grid Bike Share program in Nov. 2014.

Every year since its approval, the City Council has approved purchases of additional bike racks at existing locations due to popularity. In 2015, City Council approved the purchase of 250 additional bike racks.

Bike Share’s popularity is focused within the area bounded by Jefferson and Roosevelt Streets, and Fifth Avenue and Fifth Street. These stations will usually fill up more quickly than others because they are smaller than others outside this zone.

The city of Phoenix holds a contract with CycleHop LLC to establish and operate the program throughout the city. The bicycles in the program are all GPS-enabled so that users and bicyclists are easily tracked.

Ensuring that all bicycles, kiosks and stations are from CycleHop guarantees operation and maintenance compatibility.

With this new expansion, Perez hopes that bicycling begins to look attractive to anyone living outside of the Grid Share network. Having more cyclists on the road means less car dependency and a more bicycle centered downtown.

“I think Grid is doing what it’s supposed to do,” said Perez. “People coming from out of town, they stay at a hotel [and say] ‘I’m not gonna get on a taxi, I’m gonna get on Grid’.”

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