Portland Bike Share

Portland inked a deal with Nike to launch the “Biketown” system by July 2016. But the effort to bring bike share to Portland began way back in 2007. We’ve covered every twist and turn. Browse the archives below…

Gamification and ‘ubiquitous mobility’: Inside Portland’s $50 million ‘Smart City’ grant pitch

by on February 10th, 2016 at 9:36 am

mobile girls
The city’s plan includes a “Marketplace” mobile app that would let you plan and buy trips by every mode.
(Photo: M.Andersen)

Portland is one of 77 cities around the country that have put in for a one-time federal ‘Smart City’ grant that’s looking to promote big ideas about urban mobility.

An award is a long shot — only one city will get the $50 million prize — but the city’s application (which wraps together a wide variety of concepts for improving and integrating digital transportation data) is an education in itself, offering various details about the city’s vision that we haven’t seen publicly until now.


Where should Biketown stations go? Open houses will open the question

by on February 2nd, 2016 at 3:23 pm

director park bikeshare
A 2012 rendering of a hypothetical bike-sharing station
in downtown’s Director Park.
(Image: Motivate)

Portland has been accustomed to auto-parking/bike-lane tradeoffs for years. Now it’s about to encounter a new tradeoff: auto-parking/bike-share-station.

A round of five city open houses this spring will start the public conversation about where to put the stations for the bike sharing system Portland plans to launch by July. And though some locations are probably no-brainers (Director Park, Pioneer Courthouse Square, Urban Center Plaza, Jamison Square, Union Station, Holladay Park, Rose Quarter Transit Center, Little Big Burger on Mississippi…) others will be harder.


Could Pronto’s problems come to Portland? Here’s what experts say

by on February 1st, 2016 at 4:11 pm

Pronto bikeshare @king st station
Not ridden enough, but why?
(Photo: Diane Yee)

As we mentioned in this week’s news roundup, Seattle’s 16-month-old bike sharing system is in a very tight spot.

With the Pronto system taking in only 68 percent of the money required to meet its operating costs last year and the city considering taking it over in order to bail it out, many Portlanders are rightly wondering whether the upcoming Biketown system (which will be operated by the same company, Motivate) could face similar problems.

We talked to some of the country’s leading independent bike-share experts today to get their take. Here’s what we heard.


Biketown, the day after (reflections on a big deal)

by on January 8th, 2016 at 3:08 pm

Portland bike share launch-6.jpg
Makes your jaw-drop huh?
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Wow. Yesterday’s bike share news was pretty amazing. Our heads are still spinning here at BikePortland headquarters.

Nine years ago when we announced that Portland wanted to be the first U.S. city with a bike share system, we never expected it would take this long. But now that it’s happened, we’re just glad that the deal was done. And, like many people in Portland, we’re eagerly awaiting the sight of 1,000 orange bikes being used in our city.

We’ve posted 70 stories about Portland’s bike share saga since 2007 and things are just now getting interesting, so expect a lot more coverage in the months to come. For now though, Michael and I want to share some brief thoughts about PBOT, Nike, Biketown, and what this means for all of us. Some are fun, some are serious, and like always, we’d love to hear your thoughts…

Wait. Before we get started. I want to publicly congratulate the team at PBOT. There are some smart and dedicated people who worked very hard under a lot of pressure and ups-and-downs (understatement) over these past nine years to pull this off (I won’t name names, you know who you are). Something like this doesn’t happen in a city unless someone makes it a priority and sees it through to the end. High-fives all around.

OK, let’s go…

Hey, wanna’ grab a Biketown? Let’s Biketown to the Timbers game.

I’ve been wondering how the system’s name, Biketown (pronounced bike, not bikey), will be used once it becomes common parlance. It works well as a place name, but it’s not so great as a noun. And will it work as a verb? This is only the second time naming rights have ever been sold to a title sponsor of a U.S. system (the other one is CitiBike in New York), so we’re all a bit new to this. (more…)

No Logo: Nike’s sponsorship shows lopsided funding priorities

by on January 8th, 2016 at 10:59 am

Celebrating Nike’s $10 million sponsorship package reifies the currently lopsided funding priorities we have not just in this town but all over the place, where anything to do with cars is automatically funded without any public conversation much less a vote, but when it comes to high-vis bike infrastructure (Sunday Parkways, Bikeshare – now BikeTown) we’re apparently out of luck, and the search for a corporate sponsor raises few eyebrows (how many thousands of taxpayer dollars were spent cozying up to that sponsor?).

Were any of you bikeportland readers in Seattle to protest the WTO in 1999? Do we even remember what those protests were about? One of the things they were about was corporations’ need to create, infiltrate, and dominate the emotional and physical landscapes we inhabit, convince us that their brand and the lifestyles we seek are one and the same. A few of these companies have become very good at it and very wealthy in the process. But in the post-manufacturing era there is fierce competition for this dominance. The remaining opportunities are few and getting fewer. Nike isn’t the only one who’d like to brand us, our aspirations, our (formerly) public spaces.

Portland bike share deal ups pressure for downtown bikeway project

by on January 8th, 2016 at 9:25 am

elk squeeze
The bike route west from the Hawthorne Bridge.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

This July, when downtown workers start grabbing big orange bikes to head across the river for lunch at Olympia Provisions, many will make an unpleasant discovery: Downtown Portland has hardly any bike infrastructure.

Rep. Blumenauer unveils ‘Bikeshare Transit Act’ to provide funding certainty

by on January 7th, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Blumenauer at the Summit-2
It’s transit, so let’s fund it as
such says Blumenauer.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Not wanting to be left out of massive bike news in his hometown, U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer has just released details on his latest legislative idea: the Bikeshare Transit Act. The legislation is meant to provide stability and “additional flexibility to use federal funds for bikeshare programs.”

Blumenauer wants to make it easier for bike share systems to operate past their initial start-up funding. In Portland’s case, we received a $2 million federal grant for bike share back in 2011. But that money was only enough to start planning. To actually put a system on the ground would take millions more — not to mention an annual operating and maintenance budget of $1.5 to $2 million. With cities under pressure to not spend any local money on bike share, that means they’ve had to hope and pray for big private sponsors. Portland spent years trying to court a suitor before inking their $10 million deal with Nike.

Portland inks $10 million “Biketown” deal with Nike as title sponsor of bike share system

by on January 7th, 2016 at 9:01 am

Portland bike share launch-2.jpg
Left to right: PBOT Director Leah Treat, Community Cycling Center CEO Mychal Tetteh, Nike VP Jorge Casimiro, and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

At the Nike factory store in northeast Portland this morning, the City of Portland announced that Nike Inc., has signed on as the title sponsor of Portland Bike Share (here’s the official announcement). The system is now known as Biketown (pronounced “bike” not “bikey”).

The deal is worth $10 million and will last for five years. PBOT had previously said they needed $2 to $8 million to launch the system, so this is a huge deal for the city.


NikeBikes? Portland and Nike set to announce “major agreement” on bike share

by on January 6th, 2016 at 5:16 pm

Nike Bikes?

UPDATE 1/7 at 9:00 am: See this story for the latest on Nike’s big sponsorship deal with PBOT.

The City of Portland says they’ll make an announcement tomorrow about a “major bike share partnership” with none other than Nike, Inc.

The sports equipment juggernaut is based in nearby Beaverton and has lots of ties to the Portland area.

We’ll have more on this story as soon as we can. Below is more in a statement from PBOT:

On Thursday, January 7, 2016, Commissioner Steve Novick will join Jorge Casimiro, Vice President of Global Community Impact for NIKE, Inc., and Leah Treat, Director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, to announce a significant new partnership in support of Portland’s bike share system.


Bike-share membership with a food-stamp card? Portland hasn’t shut the door

by on December 2nd, 2015 at 11:44 am

trail card
An Oregon Trail card might work as an ID for a
bike share system, even if no charge were made.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Update 1:25 pm: This article was based on a Nov. 2 interview, but we didn’t check with the city again before publishing; we should have. Since Nov. 2, the city has done new research and is also speaking about the issues differently. We’ve changed the headline to reflect that. See the bottom of the post for more information.

Making bike-share systems useful to poorer people has been one of the thorniest problems in North American bike sharing.

One reason is probably that you need a credit or debit card to access most bike-share systems, and almost 20 percent of American households that earn less than $30,000 a year don’t have bank accounts. Another reason, presumably, is that bike share memberships cost upwards of $100 a year or (in Portland’s case) $2.50 per nonmember ride.