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City confirms date for mystery bike share announcement

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015
pbotbikeshare
You never know. It could happen.

An unexpected comment by City Commissioner Nick Fish at the council meeting this morning has led to a confirmation from the bureau of transportation that they’re planning an announcement about bike share.

Fish was making his closing comments about the neighborhood greenways report and resolution (that passed unanimously by the way) when he said something that raised more than a few eyebrows in City Hall and on social media.

“This is an outstanding report,” Fish said, “I want to thank Steve (Novick, the commissioner in charge of PBOT) for all the great work.” Then he mentioned a few of the initiatives Novick has championed recently like Vision Zero and Sunday Parkways. Then he added, “And bike share, which we’ll soon be taking up and which I fully support.”
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Car2go’s firestorm over shrunken service area reawakens concerns about bikeshare coverage

Friday, July 31st, 2015
car2go home area
Car2go’s new service area.
(Image: car2go)

Soon after introducing bike racks to half its fleet, the floating-fleet car-sharing service car2go has made a much less popular change: it’s slicing its Portland service area by about a third.

The company said that areas east of 60th Avenue and northwest of Portsmouth, including Montavilla, Cully, Lents and St. Johns, had accounted for only 8 percent of trips and that 90 percent of car2go users surveyed said they were unsatisfied with vehicle availability. The company says that eliminating the least-used parts of the service area will lead to more car density in the remaining areas.

But that didn’t prevent digital howls Friday from disappointed users of the service — some of whom compared the problem to the one that’ll be faced by any future bikesharing system in Portland, too.

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Portland wins bike share grant — to study someone else’s bike share

Monday, June 1st, 2015
bikeshare

Portland has won a grant related to bike share — but the news isn’t what you might expect.

The Better Bike Share Partnership, a collaboration between The City of Philadelphia, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and PeopleForBikes, announced $375,000 in grants this morning all aimed at furthering the group’s mission to “increase access to and use of bike share in underserved communities.”

The money was divided among six cities: Brooklyn, Charlotte, Boston, Austin, Chicago, and Portland. All of those cities — except Portland — will use the money to improve their existing bike share systems. Here in Portland of course, we don’t have a bike share system to improve. Instead, our $74,986 slice of this grant pie will go toward research that will benefit Philadelphia’s bike share system.

Oh, the irony. (more…)

Next-gen bike sharing company Social Bicycles swings through Portland

Friday, March 13th, 2015
justin with bike
Justin Wiley, Social Bicycles’ VP of Launch
and Operations, at Velo Cult in
Northeast Portland last week.
(Photo: Lizbon Grav)

Social Bicycles, maybe the country’s fastest-growing bike sharing company right now, sent one of its top executives on a swing through Portland last weekend.

SoBi, as it’s sometimes known, has scored contracts to equip public bike sharing systems in Phoenix, Tampa, Topeka, Boise, Orlando, Ottawa, Hamilton and Santa Monica. The company’s key innovation: “smart bikes” that can be parked anywhere inside a service zone, whether or not they’re at a dock.

Like most business development trips, the visit wasn’t publicized. But it certainly caught my attention last Friday when SoBi Vice President of Launch and Operations Justin Wiley walked into bike shop/bar Velo Cult with a SoBi bike.

“We are spending a lot of time on the road this year meeting with partners and potential clients to demo the product,” Ryan Rzepecki, CEO of the the New York-based bike sharing company, explained Thursday. “Recently, we made a quick visit to Portland to meet with a transportation planning consultant and a large employer that is interested in a private bike share.”

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Spinlister to launch user-owned bike-sharing system in Portland this summer (updated)

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Back in 2011, when she cast the lone vote against Portland’s still-unimplemented public bike sharing system, Commissioner Amanda Fritz asked a fair question: If bike sharing is such a good idea, why doesn’t the private sector do it?

It’s taken a little while. But with what looks to be a well-funded launch in Portland this summer, the company Spinlister is trying a novel idea for doing exactly that with their Smart Bike model.

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Here are the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee’s top 10 priorities citywide

Friday, February 27th, 2015
bac top 10
What do you think?
(Click to enlarge, or see below for details and links)

As we reported earlier this week, the City of Portland is trying to hone its massive transportation to-do list by asking people to rank their 10 favorite projects.

In a letter circulated this week, the citizens’ committee that’s most closely tied to Portland’s biking policies shared theirs.

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Now one of few large U.S. cities without bike sharing, Portland sets a new date

Friday, January 23rd, 2015
Downtown Riverside, CA
Downtown Riverside, Calif., the center of the
country’s 13th largest metro area and a city planning
to launch a bike sharing system in 2015.
(Photo: Daniel Orth)

By the end of 2015, it’s looking like 21 of the largest 25 U.S. metro areas are likely to have public bike share systems.

The four that won’t: Los Angeles, Detroit, St. Louis and Portland.

Los Angeles, by far the country’s largest holdout, announced this month that it’s on track to launch a system in 2016. Atlanta, Baltimore and Riverside, Calif., have plans to launch in 2015 but haven’t announced more specific dates.

Meanwhile, four other cities started service late last year or will in the next few months: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Seattle.

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The street fee, bike share, and Portland’s Big Pause

Friday, January 16th, 2015
Street Fee Town Hall - non residential fee-6
Our streets: Still without bike share,
new revenue, and a host of other projects on pause.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

“There are some who say, ‘Why would you move ahead with bike share if you can’t pave the streets?'”
— Mayor Hales, August 2014

This story was co-written by Michael Andersen and Jonathan Maus

Now that Portland’s erratic search for new transportation revenue is on “pause”, it’s raised another question for the city: How long will the rest of our transportation agenda be on pause?

There’s no better illustration of this problem than the way Portland’s plan for a public bike-sharing system fell apart.

In a previously unpublished interview last August, Mayor Charlie Hales was characteristically candid about this. He and his colleagues have not prioritized bike sharing, he said, because it might endanger their push for new revenue.
(more…)

Eugene bike share system lands near top of state grant list

Friday, January 9th, 2015
Bike share demo-9-8
A demo of bike share equipment in Portland, 2011.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

It’s looking likely that Eugene will be Oregon’s first city with a public bike sharing system.

After being put on ice last summer after it narrowly missed the cut for lottery-funded “Connect Oregon” grants, Eugene’s bike sharing hopes surged back in December when unallocated funds gave applicants a second chance at the coveted state grants.

On Wednesday the state’s top stakeholder committee recommended a Eugene bike share system as their #2 priority statewide for the new round of money.

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NYC investment company buys Alta Bicycle Share, hires former transit CEO

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
Bike share ride with Oregon team-1
DC’s Capital Bikeshare system was a hit – a bigger one, it turned out, than an independently owned Alta Bicycle Share had the capacity to capitalize on.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

You might have heard by now: A local bike business that bootstrapped its way to the national stage, and then suffered a dizzying series of problems, has sold.

Alta Bicycle Share, a startup that unexpectedly became much larger than the bike planning company that birthed it after launching popular and successful systems in Boston and Washington DC, announced Tuesday that it has been purchased by New York City real estate developer REQX Ventures.

Terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed. In July, the Wall Street Journal pegged the deal at $40 million, but it’s not clear whether any of that money went to Alta’s founders or will be invested directly into the company. It’s also not clear whether Alta’s six cofounders (including local executive and former Portland bicycle coordinator Mia Birk) retain any ownership in the firm.

(more…)

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