Photo courtesy of University Crossing Public Improvement District

An alternate kind of rental bike system is operating on the western edge of East Dallas. Zagster’s rental bikes are kept on private property, have docking stations and are free for the first three hours.

Several months ago, Mockingbird Station purchased a couple of Zagster docking stations and placed them on their property, funding the first three hours for free. The University Crossing Public Improvement District (UCPID), which runs along Central and Greenville between Glencoe Park and Lovers Lane, purchased a few more stations between the Meadows building and the Highland hotel. The stations will allow neighbors to cruise along the University Crossing Trail, which connects the Katy Trail to Ridgewood Trail, as well as to area restaurants and shops.

Zagster’s model allows individual property owners to purchase the docking station and decide how much to charge for the rides. Both Mockingbird Station and the PID decided to offer the first three hours for free. After that, it is $2 per hour. Zagster bikes can be locked and placed on hold, preventing anyone else from grabbing the bike while riders grab lunch or pop into a shop.

Most important, for those who say the dockless rental bikes are junking up the city, the bikes have to be returned to the docking stations, which are kept on private property.

The UCPID is meant to supplement services and create a safer, more walkable and more vibrant community for the residents and more than 200 businesses in the area. Area property owners agreed to an additional tax assessment on their property, which is put back into the community under the direction of Executive Director Patrick Sanders. The PID has helped improve safety by repainting crosswalks and adding countdown timers on the crosswalks. Trail lighting is on the way. The department also funds extra security, coordinates concerts with SMU students at Mockingbird Station, produces a resource guide for area residents and businesses and hopes to add murals along the trail.

“We want to provide a helpful network for the area,” Sanders says.

The boundaries of the district (Image courtesy of the University Crossing Public Improvement District).

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