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…

Community Cycling Center gets $75,000 grant to offer cheaper bike share memberships

by on May 11th, 2016 at 10:37 am

Portland bike share launch-11.jpg
Coming soon. And cheaper for some.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

When Portland made its first attempt at bike share in 2011, concerns about equity gave local leaders pause. So when the City rebooted the idea they made sure it would be accessible to as many Portlanders as possible; rich and poor.

Now the nonprofit Community Cycling Center will add to those efforts thanks to a $75,000 grant they just earned from the Better Bike Share Partnership, a collaboration between the City of Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, People for Bikes, and the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). The program, “strives to increase the accessibility and use of bike share in underserved communities.” The CCC’s award is one of nine grants totaling $532,000 that were announced today.

The CCC’s grant funding will be put toward a grassroots outreach and education effort that will start when the BIKETOWN bikes hit the streets in mid-July. The marketing initiative will be aimed at Portlanders living on low incomes. “In addition to offering very low-cost memberships through workshops, they will also use community feedback to improve and guide the system through launch and its first year of implementation,” reads a press release about the grants.

Bike share stations on transit mall and city parks land? TriMet says yes, Parks Bureau says no

by on April 5th, 2016 at 11:11 am

possible biketown station locations
Possible station locations downtown. No sites are proposed for Waterfront Park (the green strip on the left of the river).
(Image from the city’s feedback website)

Though other cities have seen some memorable freakouts about the prospect of bike sharing stations, Portland hasn’t yet heard many loud complaints that Biketown stations would begrime beloved public spaces.

TriMet, for example, said last week that although it doesn’t allow blue bike “staple” racks on its downtown transit mall (more on that below), it won’t have a problem with orange bikes being parked there.

But so far, there’s one major city department that’s been keeping its distance from bike sharing: Portland Parks and Recreation.


Portland’s bike share plan gives major leeway to private operator

by on March 23rd, 2016 at 10:06 am

Day on a bike in DC-41
A victim of success: A major challenge bike-sharing systems face is refilling stations when they run out of bikes. Portland will leave it up to its contractor to decide how often this happens.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Chalk up another way Portland is thinking outside the box on bike sharing, for better or worse: it’s giving an unusual amount of independence to its system’s operator.

What I learned at the City’s first open house for our new bike share system

by on March 16th, 2016 at 5:08 pm

PBOT brought a few of the bikes to the meeting.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The biggest thing to keep an eye one when it comes to Portland’s bike share system isn’t where the stations might go, it’s where they might not go. That’s one of the things I learned at the first open house for Biketown, the Nike-sponsored bike share system the Portland Bureau of Transportation is set to roll out about four months from now.

Last night’s event was one of five open houses that will take place between now and April 7th. PBOT will use them to solicit feedback for where to locate the system’s docking stations. As we reported earlier this month, the city has come up with 300 candidate station locations and they need to whittle that number down to 100.

The 300 proposed sites were chosen by a planning consultant hired by PBOT who worked with a technical advisory committee. They used a combination of factors to make their decisions including things like: access to transit, bike traffic demand, proximity to affordable housing and major destinations, and so on. The stations themselves will have 20 racks, be about 50 feet long and six feet wide.

With that as a backdrop, here’s what I took away from the open house last night…

First look at Portland’s expanded bike share service area and proposed station locations

by on March 9th, 2016 at 9:50 am

Bike share station location proposal and expanded service area map just released by the City of Portland.

With sponsorship all buttoned up, the next big phase of planning for Portland’s bike share system is where to put the docking stations. And with that aforementioned sponsorship, the City of Portland is in the enviable position of being able to expand Biketown before it’s even been launched.

We got our first look at the new maps — for both the proposed station locations and the service area – at the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee last night. (more…)

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.