Phoenix Bike Share: Green And Healthy, Sure. But A Public Service?

A customer removes what seems to be the last bike of ten or more slots in a docking station
An almost empty bike-share docking station testifies to the success of this rapidly spreading urban transportation method.

Trapped in the public housing heart of a low income community on the wrong side of the tracks? With a little help from the community at large, why not bike your way out of it? Phoenix, Arizona is considering an investment in bike-share for just such a low income, public housing-rich neighbourhood — Edison-Eastlake. If not on the wrong side of the tracks, it is on the wrong side of the interstate.

Poor initial decision making and the vagaries of time have left many of America’s public housing projects distanced from jobs. Public transport can bite deeply into the salary of a low-paid job, if it is even realistically available, given the distance and time needed to commute.

A further crisis has impacted on the limited pocketbooks of residents of low income districts: access to food. The evolution of the grocery business has been away from neighbourhood corner stores and towards fewer and larger chain supermarkets serving more affluent suburban shoppers. Poorer neighbourhoods have become “food deserts.” To eat healthy food, residents must pay for transportation in order to get to and from and from distant supermarkets.

Which brings us to the potential benefits of bike share. Read more in the Phoenix New Times: Phoenix’s Bike-Share Program May Roll Into Low-Income Neighborhood

Even as Phoenix is considering the cost-efficiency of bike-share for low-income neighbourhoods, there may be some benefit in looking further afield. Here’s a story covering some of the same issues that have been raised above, but leading to an even more ambitious mobility program. Try: Modern Marie Antoinette’s Poor Housing Tenants: Let Them Eat E-Bikes!