City working to bring Bike Share program to El Paso

Details on El Paso's bike sharing program

EL PASO, Texas - Ben Foster organized Wednesday's bike ride to Juarez. Peddling through the streets of El Paso's sister city till 10 p.m. doesn't scare him. But the seven-month-strong bike rider said riding through the streets of El Paso is dangerous.

"There's no signage, or bike lanes, and the streets are too wide so the cars drive faster," Foster said

The city is trying to fix that with a program called Bike Share. Seven "b-stations" would be set up from Glory Road, to Downtown, to Five Points carrying about 200 unisex bikes.

People 16 years and up could use a credit card to rent one for about $10 a day, $25 a week or $95 a year, according to other cities' models.

A renter can ride for 30 minutes at a time. After riding to and from class at UTEP, or to work, or to the coming stadium, the renter can renew or return the bike at any one of the b-stations.

"Any great community needs to have a multi-mobile approach to transportation," said County Judge Veronica Escobar. "And the bike share program will be great because it will give people a temporary, easy taste of what its like to bike around in the more denser places."

The program costs $2 million, most of which is coming from federal aid. El Paso City, UTEP and the Metropolitan Planning Organization is chipping in about $400,000.

UTEP supports the program because it compliments their campus transformation which encourages walking and biking.

"The idea here is once we establish the bike share program there would be money available to advance the signage and stripping to announce that we have a bike share program and bike lanes available," said Interim Executive Director for MPO Michael Medina.

Bike sharing is popular in San Antonio, where El Paso got its model. Supporters say it also decreases traffic congestion and keeps people healthy.

The Federal Highway Administration needs to approve the plan. Once that's done the program should be ready UTEP's fall semester.

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