Houston’s bike-sharing program has closed 14 stations, including some in and near the area, in an attempt to curb overcrowding at parks as well as the spread of COVID-19.
Houston Bcycle, a nonprofit created by the city in 2012, announced April 3 that it was closing some high-traffic stations and strengthening its sanitization efforts at all of its 100-plus stations in the city.
The stations at Stude Park in the Heights and Moody Park just east of the Heights are among the closed locations. Other closed stations include five along or near Memorial Drive — Jackson Hill at Memorial Drive, Lost Lake, Sabine Bridge, Spotts Park and Tinsley Park — along with the two stations inside Memorial Park.
“We are closing stations in overcrowded parks, increasing sanitization measures and constantly urging our riders to wash their hands and maintain a safe distance from others, but riders must also do their part to ride safely,” Houston Bcycle executive director Beth Martin said in a news release. “We want to continue to serve riders for essential trips as a single-person and small group transportation and recreation option, and we need people to use bike share responsibly.”
Houston Bcycle said it recorded 26,006 trips in March — the most for any month in the program’s eight-year history — with about half of those trips coming from “popular stations at Houston’s overcrowded parks.”
City and Harris County parks remain open during Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s “stay-at-home, work safe” order, which is in effect through April as part of the region’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 1,000 city and county residents have been infected with the upper-respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus strain, which has caused a total of 13 deaths in Houston and Harris County.
The eight other Houston Bcycle locations in the area — six in the Heights area and two on Washington Avenue — remain open.
At all of its locations, the nonprofit said all touch points on bikes and kiosks will be disinfected between four and eight times per day. Beginning next week, Houston Bcycle also said it will make weekly sprays of an “EPA-approved, long-lasting Vital Oxide disinfectant” at its stations.
“We always routinely clean our bike share equipment, but in the last three weeks we’ve stepped up those measures with focused efforts at the busiest stations,” director of operations Doogie Roux said.
For more information, visit houstonbcycle.com.