On Wednesday, June 15, alongside the City of St. Pete, we hosted two suggest a station sessions where the public was invited to plan their ideal bike share system. In the morning we met with the Mayor’s Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee and in the evening, we met for an open meeting at the Sunshine Center.
For both meetings, we split the room up into groups of four to five people and had each plan their ideal bike share system. However, there was one small twist. Bike share is, by design, transportation connecting you to where you need to travel throughout you day. In downtown, that includes where people live, where they work, and where they play.
Teams were given ten stickers representing each of the three locations, live, work, and play. Thirty in total. With a five-minute crash course in urban planning and bike share best practices, teams were put to work. Items they were asked to consider, as it’s what we utilize while planning systems, were the following:
- Density: Bike share works best when hubs are located a quarter mile apart, never more than a few minute walk in any direction.
- Connectivity: Does the hub interact with a transit line, bike infrastructure, or even better, both?
- Accessibility: Hub placement must enable riders and bicycle rebalancers easy access. Bike share systems have to constantly be adjusted to ensure bikes are located evenly around the system, so being able to quickly and easily load excess bikes into rebalancing vans is key.
- Visibility: Taking the previous three points into consideration, does the final placement maximize visibility enabling all users, especially tourists, to locate a hub without having to pull out a map or their smartphone.
It didn’t take long before we noticed heads scratching and the occasional groan bellowed from the challenge at hand. It’s by no means easy to cater to everyone’s needs in a group of four or five, let alone an entire city. In the end, after about 15 minutes, it was very encouraging to see patterns across every groups’ final map. A bulk of the suggested hubs were located along the waterfront, Central Ave, and the city’s business corridors.
The exercise was very valuable for the planning of the St. Petersburg system as we were able to learn what is truly important to those that participated by way of the maps generate as well as the conversations that took place.
If you weren’t one of the many who participated, have no fear! We’ll be taking your suggestions over the next 45 days or so at our website suggest.CoastStPete.com.