University Park Says Yes to Bike Sharing, But With Conditions

Be careful where you park those bright-colored rental bikes in University Park, because leaving them in the wrong spot could cost you more than your time on the bike. City officials pedaled their way into a nine-month-long pilot program for bike sharing at the March 20 City Council meeting. The program allows rental companies to operate in the city so long as they pay a $500 permit fee and agree to a number of terms, including providing a telephone number, email address and website URL on each bike for people to use in requesting that bikes be moved. The permitting requirement was approved after city officials received several inquiries about the bikes after they began to creep into the city from surrounding areas. "We have seen many bicycles in our city," Patrick Baugh, director of community development, said at the council meeting. "We had numerous requests to do something about the bicycles. We had looked at the number of bicycle operators that have come into Dallas. They seem to be growing all the time."Although anyone can ride a rental bike throughout University Park, they're not allowed to drop it off just anywhere. The city has established three places — at Southern Methodist University, Snider Plaza and Preston Center Plaza — where users must park rental bikes. Anyone leaving a bike in a residential area will continue to be charged for the bike's use until it is removed. Bike-sharing companies must remove bikes left in residential areas within 24 hours or risk the bikes being hauled off by a towing company. Steve Mace, University Park spokesman, said the city opted for the pilot program rather than taking the approach of its neighbor, Highland Park, which banned all bikes after SMU entered into an agreement with some rental companies last summer."When that occurred this past summer, that meant we were a little bit different from the town of Highland Park," Mace said. "We knew we would understandably have some bike use that would bleed over the campus boundaries."  Continue reading...

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