Park-a-Divvy: Tempe Looking for Feedback on Bike Share Station Locations

Or whatever Phoenix’s new bike share will be called. Tempe has begun the planning process for the new multi-jurisdictional bike share to identify station locations within its city limits. Here is a map of the proposed locations.

City staff is asking for feedback on the station locations, so please take a moment to provide feedback on where you think bike share stations should be placed in Tempe.

The primary flaw I see in the existing proposed locations is the lack of availability at destinations away from transit. For example, there are proposed stations at Center Parkway/Washington, Priest/Washington, Smith Martin/Apache, 101/Apache, and McClintock/Apache LRT stations but none at destinations near those stations. The one saving grace in these station locations is the Cycle Hop bicycles have full GPS and the bikes may be locked at any location. They do not need to be returned to a bike station. I have not heard of the frequency in which the bikes will be corralled and returned to their station, but that would make for a lousy experience to take bike share to the zoo and be stranded there.

As you might expect, proposed stations are concentrated heavily around light rail and ASU. The lone exception (unless you count Rural and Rio Salado) is the station at Southern and Rural. If this station were to become reality, I would be very interested in seeing the participation there. Tempe is adamant about providing top tier transit opportunities to the public library, history museum, and senior center located at this intersection, as evidenced by the initial streetcar route along Mill and Southern, but access to the location remains inhospitable to anyone outside a motor vehicle. My gut tells me that until these two streets are re-engineered, there’s no reason for a person with alternate options to bike or walk there.

With the existing infrastructure and flexibility of being able to take the bikes anywhere, I am overall in support of the proposed station locations. However, I do see some room for improvement. The Rural and Southern as well as Rural and Rio Salado stations right now don’t make much sense to me. I would move those two stations to Kiwanis Park as a recreational amenity and ASU commuters from south Tempe, as well as the intersection of College and Curry to engage the large student population in that high-density part of town.

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2 thoughts on “Park-a-Divvy: Tempe Looking for Feedback on Bike Share Station Locations

  1. Good analysis!

    I have heard that CycleHop bikes will allow you to lock up and keep the bike “meter” running, so you can be ensured the bike will be there when you get back if you aren’t at a kiosk. Of course, this will raise the prices you’d have to pay, so the terms of hourly charges will have a big impact. For example, if the first hour is free and then it’s only like $3/hour after, it might make sense to keep the bike reserved while it’s locked up, but if it’s like most other North American systems, with only the first 1/2 hour free, and quickly escalating charges beyond that, people will probably either take the risk that someone else picks up their bike and takes it away, or they just won’t use the service. Definitely something the cities and vendor will have to seriously reconsider!

    • Yea, I think this was a little tricky because we didn’t know (or expect to know) all the logistics of the system. If the meter idea is still intact that could be a good but potentially expensive solution. Sticking with my zoo example, spending 5 hours at the zoo racks up $30 in extra charges ($3 per 30 minute overage). Talking with people I understand you can also lock it up anywhere you’d like but if it’s too far away from the station (I don’t know how far that is right now) you’re subject to additional charge. I’m really hopeful that this works out, but the sooner the expansion the better.

      Additional thought: For the first year they probably shouldn’t charge extra for parking the bike away from a station. Since each bike is equipped with GPS, Grid could identify desire locations where locating additional stations would be beneficial. Using the 1st year of data might be about the same cost and more telling than surveying people to identify new locations when they are ready to expand.

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