Non-profit Agency Looking To Solve San Antonio's West Side 'Bike Desert' Problem
The west side of San Antonio is a predominantly Hispanic, economically underserved, yet historically and culturally rich neighborhood.
It’s also a bike desert.
The San Antonio bike share program, Bcycle, has over 60 bike stations and 500 bicycles across the urban core for visitors and residents to connect to points of interest. But there are no bikes on the west side.
The non-profit Westside Development Corporation is trying to try and change that.
Leonard Rodriguez, president and CEO of the WDC, said the group is partnering with San Antonio Bcycle to bring bike sharing to the west side.
When we’re looking at San Antonio in terms of a larger context, especially now with the equity lens,” said Rodriguez, “you realize there are areas of town where there is a need, yet there is no service there.”
Rodriguez said San Antonio’s west side also has the least bike-friendly lanes in the city.
Existing Bcycle locations connect visitors and residents to points of interest, including San Antonio’s missions and museums. Rodriguez says having a bike share on the west side can serve a similar purpose.
“If you really look at the west side, it has some marvelous amenities and attributes — Elmendorf Lake Park, Woodlawn Lake Park, St. Mary’s University, Our Lady of the Lake (University), even the downtown (UTSA) campus to a certain extent.”
Rodriguez said other points of interest include the west side’s Catholic churches, which are some of the oldest in the city. He also points to the nearby creek system, which is undergoing renovations and the addition of new hike and bike trails.
“You’ll have, over time, a really connected part of the west side that, I think, more individuals from across the city could enjoy,” he said.
Rodriguez said up to 15 bike stations on San Antonio’s west side is possible, but “that may be a little more than the west side is ready for.”
Rodriguez said a survey conducted by Bcycle will ultimately determine how many stations will make it to the west side. Rodriguez said that at one point, the west side did house a single Bcycle station, but it did not receive much usage or support.
“We need to figure out from there, what is that map within the west side that makes sense for Bcycle,” Rodriguez said. “It was a little ostentatious to think of the one on the west side, which didn’t receive a lot of usership, that everyone wanted to get that one and then ride downtown. I think riding further west, riding further south, riding further north, there’s a lot of opportunity to move people on the west side.”