As public bike-sharing systems continue to be launched in cities around the country (including a novel new system being developed in New York City), the City of Portland still sits on the sidelines. But that hasn’t stopped the Lloyd District Transportation Management Association from exploring a system of their own.
The Lloyd District TMA is a non-profit, public/private partnership funded through a combination of Metro and federal grants along with membership from nearby businesses. Their mission is to promote a “balanced transportation system” in the heavily commercialized area bounded by the Willamette River, I-84, NE 15th and NE Broadway.
Lloyd TMA staffer Heather McCarey says several businesses — including the DoubleTree Hotel (who recently added bike racks to one of their parking garages), and the Oregon Convention Center — contacted them with interest in a bike-sharing system or more bike rental options for the Lloyd District at the end of July.
In response, the TMA launched an online survey to gauge the interest of Lloyd District employees. The survey only reached about 150 employees, but of those, 85.5 percent felt a a bike-sharing system would add “some value” or “significant value” to the Lloyd District. 46 percent said their employees would use such a system more than once or twice a week. Over 61 percent of the businesses said their companies might be willing to help fund such a system.
McCarey says the survey was just an exploratory exercise and acknowledges they are nowhere near making any decisions. “I think all parties involve acknowledge that any future bike share program is still a ways off due to the enormous up-front infrastructure costs and the high bike ownership rates in Portland.”
While bike-sharing might be a ways off, a new bike rental shop could be in the Lloyd District’s future. McCarey says they’ve scheduled a meeting for next week to discuss next steps, “Which might include finding space in the Lloyd District near the OCC [Oregon Convention Centero] for a bike rental shop.”