The Congress for New Urbanism is holding its annual convention, CNU20, at the Palm Beach Convention Center from May 9-12, 2012. During the event, the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority in conjunction with DecoBike, a popular Miami based bike-sharing company, will be demonstrating a bike-sharing program in downtown West Palm Beach. Although this demonstration will only last the duration of CNU20, the Downtown Development Authority hopes to make this a permanent program for the benefit of West Palm Beach residents and visitors.
The downtown area has a large concentration of residential condo buildings and commercial and government employers. Vehicle parking is at a premium, so alternative transportation is important to the people who live and work in the area. A bike-sharing program in downtown West Palm Beach would be a great addition to the public transit system already in place. The Tri-Rail commuter train has a station west of downtown, connecting the suburban areas north and south of the city. Additionally, a municipal funded trolley system operates within the downtown area.
This bike-sharing demonstration is timely since National Bike to Work Week is May 14-18, 2012. According to the League of American Bicyclists, Boulder, Colorado leads the pack with 12.3% of commuters who bike to work. Many Palm Beach County roads contain bike lanes, but the League cautions riders to be safe when they ride. Follow the rules of the road by obeying stop signs and lights. Make yourself visible and signal your turning intentions. Be aware of your surroundings and anticipate what vehicles around you will be doing. Wear a helmet and make sure your bike is in good repair.
Biking to work is great for your body and mind, helping you to burn calories, increase your cardiovascular endurance, and reduce stress related to driving. Biking exposes the rider to sights and sounds that they would miss zooming by in a closed vehicle. Biking to work is great for the environment. Taking a vehicle off the road reduces emissions and traffic problems. If you live within biking distance to work, consider participating in Bike to Work Week. That week may just turn into a regular habit.