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BTA leads growing push for Portland Bikeshare project

Posted by on August 2nd, 2011 at 11:12 am

SmartBike DC-5

In Portland’s future?
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) is making a big push to bring bike sharing to Portland. They’ve launched a petition campaign to demonstrate public support for the project, they are actively searching for the estimated $4 million in start-up funds, and they are gathering support from heads of transportation agencies and elected officials.

The project would blanket the Central City (on both sides of the river) with at least 74 rental stations and 740 bikes that could be used by the public for free or for a nominal fee. Project backers say they expect 500,000 new bicycle trips in its first year of operation. Start-up costs are estimated to be just under $4 million and annual operations costs would be about $1.5 million ($500,000 of which would be paid for through user fees, and $1 million would be paid for by sponsors).

“We believe the Portland Bike Share program is a tremendous opportunity to drive healthy lifestyle choices among Portlanders.”
— Kerry Barnett, Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield

Currently, the project is on a short-list of projects that could get funded through a pot of Regional Flexible Funds doled out by Metro. Back in June, the City of Portland also applied for a grant through the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation, Community, and System Preservation Program.

While the Mayor’s office had put the bike share project on hold for a while, as I reported back in April, there’s new momentum for making it happen.

The bike sharing project also has a broadening base of support. Portland Streetcar Inc. has lobbied the US Department of Transportation on its behalf and support letters have been written by U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Mayor Sam Adams. Adams refers to the project as an “integral part of our transportation system.”

“Portland Bikeshare will help maintain the balance between an aging system in need of repair that faces increasing capacity demands and maximizing the system in a cost-effective way using our existing right of way and promoting safety,” wrote Adams in a letter supporting the federal grant application.

In another sign of the project’s momentum, Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Oregon has stepped up as the lead private sector sponsor of the program, saying it’s a “tremendous opportunity to drive healthy lifestyle choices among Portlanders.” (Regence’s sister company in Minnesota is in a similar partnership with the Twin Cities Nice Ride Bike Share program.)

The list of signatories on a federal grant application is also an impressive show of support for the project. Among the names are;

  • Jeff Cogen, Multnomah County Chair
  • Nina DiConcini, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
  • Jeff Miller, President & CEO of Travel Portland
  • Rebecca Okken, Capital Bond Project Manager, Portland Community College
  • Paul Carlson, Senior VP, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
  • Neal McFarlane, General Manager, TriMet
  • Michael Powell, Chair, Portland Streetcar, Inc.
  • Wim Wiewel, President, Portland State University

Last week, the BTA launched an online petition effort to demonstrate public support of the project. Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky says they got 775 signatures just over the weekend.

“Employment density within
bikeshare service area.”
(Graphic: PBOT)

“The BTA is coming out swinging for this project because we think it will be the most cost-effective way to get more people on bikes,” Kransky said via telephone yesterday, “We saw an opportunity to be the lead champion of the project, so we’re taking that opportunity.”

Kransky knows that, while major bigwigs are lining up in support of Portland bike share, the politics aren’t perfect. Since the project focuses on the Central City, some people have raised the equity flag, saying that the City needs to put a higher priority on investments in further out neighborhoods.

On June 1st, the City of Portland held a public open house to get feedback on a list of projects in the running for what’s expected to be about $6-7 million in federal funds for active transportation projects. The only project to receive direct negative comments was Portland Bikeshare.

Carla Danley, a citizen activist and member of PBOT’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, doesn’t support the bikeshare project because she sees it as a “perk” that would only benefit downtown. She feels it also fails to address equity in transportation spending.

“PBOT struggles to receive positive press with regards to bike policy as it is, to pursue federal dollars for a Central City perk over addressing the transportation needs of long-neglected neighborhoods,” she wrote via email, “would be a PR nightmare for PBOT.”

Danley says she’d like to see more of a commitment from bikeshare backers that the stations would fan out all the way into the neighborhoods.

The BTA’s Kranksy says the $2 million they’re asking for from the Flex Fund pot would still be way less than half of the total spending — and the rest would likely go to a project for East Portland and Foster/Powell improvements (both of which have broad public support). Project backers also point to the 20,900 households and 153,000 jobs that the bikeshare stations will reach.

Kransky says part of the reason the BTA stepped up to support the project is because they felt bike-sharing was the “new kid on the block” and it was the only project on the City’s short-list for funding that didn’t have an organized group of advocates pushing for it.

Like many bike projects — especially innovative ones — there is a lot of politics involved. Mayor Adams has been working to bring bikeshare to Portland for years, but his recent tone (at least publicly) has been to push for basic improvements in outer neighborhoods. However, now that he’s not running for re-election in 2012, perhaps we’ll see him take bike share off the shelf and help push it through.

— For all the twists and turns taken by Portland’s effort to start a bike-sharing program, browse the BikePortland archives.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • John Mulvey August 2, 2011 at 11:29 am

    That’s a kind of weird ending, Jonathan. Now that the Mayor doesn’t have to win votes, he can go back to ignoring the neighborhoods –which is what he secretly wants to do anyway? Hmm.

    Anyway, I think it ought to be pointed out that the short list of projects competing for Flexible Funds are ALL bike related. The money is for “active transportation.”

    I’m feeling a little bit put off that the BTA is doing petition drives and email blasts to their members without ever mentioning that Bike Sharing is competing against other *bike* projects. If they were being honest with their members they’d make it clear that bike advocates ought to support everything on the list. Reasonable bikers can disagree on which should be funded.


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    • Andrew Seger August 2, 2011 at 11:45 am

      What John Mulvey says. I really dislike the BTA’s approach to this and think it’s pretty disingenuous. Why isn’t the BTA holding TriMet or PDC or the Downtown business Association’s feet to the fire to get funding from them instead of taking money from one of the few pots that actually benefits outer portland bike facilities.

      I was at that June 1st meeting and heard Tom Miller’s pitch for bike share. It’s a persuasive case but I’d still rather fix Foster than bike share from this funding source.

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  • Nick V August 2, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Good article! I would agree with PBOT that the outer neighborhoods should be a top priority and included here. Also, not to be the voice of doom and gloom but, unless paid memberships and ID are required to participate in the bike-sharing program, a lot of the bikes may mysteriously disappear and/or get damaged.

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  • roger noehren August 2, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I find it ironic that two of the big supporters of bikeshare are Portland Streetcar and Blue Cross/Blue Shield, given the inherent conflict between streetcar tracks and bicycle wheels (as many commenters on the Lovejoy article have noted).
    They’d better have good insurance &/or have users sign a waiver, especially since helmets are generally not provided.
    Hopefully they will use bikes like those in the photo, which are very similar to the Stockholm Citybikes (20″ fat tires and 3-speed hubs with a very solid front rack). I used these extensively when visiting there five years ago. They were terrific (and well maintained).
    Downside – the project was backed by Clearchannel.

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    • dustin August 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm

      If you look at bike sharing throughout Europe you see alot of integration with public transit. Germany’s commuter rail provider opertes public bike sharing systems in Munich and Berlin. Bike sharing is a great way to get to and from transit stops.

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  • 9watts August 2, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    seems like a lot of money for a part of town with the most diverse transport infrastructure already in place anywhere in the city. Is this the best way to spend money to get folks onto bikes? I’d think that if people who work downtown aren’t taking public transit or biking to get to work, this wouldn’t ‘get people out of cars.’ If they’re still driving to work, then this isn’t going to do much for the balance of trips either. Who is it meant for? What sorts of folks are expected to use it and what were they doing to get around before?

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    • Andrew Seger August 2, 2011 at 12:42 pm

      To be fair I think bikeshare does a great job of filling the gaps in downtown’s transit options. Eg getting from NW to inner SE is kind of a slog on mass transit. Or even getting to PSU coming from over the west hills. With a large bike share at Collins Circle/Goose Hollow workers and students would have easy and quick commuter access to a part of the city that’s not that easy to reach by transit. Plus with all the TriMet service cuts early morning or anytime after 7 public transit is sort of useless unless its the max or streetcar.

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  • cold worker August 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I don’t understand the fascination with this idea. I don’t see it working in Portland, and then can imagine the uproar over it’s flop and how stupid bikes are and on and on. If it goes through I certainly hope I’m wrong, but I have serious doubts.

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    • Joe Adamski August 2, 2011 at 1:06 pm

      Agreed. Would a partnership between the City and participating LBS’s be more sensible? It seems Portland has no lack of bike shops,widely distributed across the city.With knowledgeable and available mechanics gatekeeping the bikes, renting a bike could be as easy, and develop relationships between renters who later may be buyers, and a human face to visitors instead of an ATM machine. Leveraging city money to promote a bike sharing scheme would be helpful, and promote existing businesses. Indeed, a city sponsored bikeshare system would undercut those businesses already renting. Should City government be competing with independent businesses?

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  • Ryno Dan August 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    My concern is the cost for the user. I recently read in Momentum magazine a review of existing bike sharing facilities. The cost was not “nominal”. I thought the fees surprisingly expensive.

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    • Alan 1.0 August 2, 2011 at 9:09 pm


      “Rental costs are as follows :
      First 30 minutes : free
      30 minutes to 1 hour : €1.00
      Each 1/2 hour thereafter : €2.00
      Registration fee : €1.00
      Payment of the balance [registration fee + hourly costs incurred] is made by bank card when the short-term card expires.”

      (slightly cheaper with long-term card)


      “In Montreal, subscriptions can be purchased at $5 per day (at a pay station), $28 per month or $78 per year. In Ottawa, the subscription fee is $3 for each 24-hour period. With a subscription, bike rental is included with no further charges for a short time period.”

      “Montreal Rates (not including the subscription):
      first 45 minutes … rate included
      up to 60 minutes … $1.50
      61 to 90 minutes … $3.00
      subsequent 30 minute periods … $6.00”

      “Toronto Rates (not including the subscription):
      time first 30 minutes … rate included
      up to 60 minutes … $1.50
      61 to 90 minutes … $4.00
      subsequent 30 minute periods … $8.00”

      (reformatted to fit. bixi.com website is broken at the moment.)

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      • wally August 3, 2011 at 7:50 am

        I think you will find that these rates are heavily subsidized–beyond the subsidization of the initial start up costs. This highlights the issue of whether this is the best use of scarce dollars for bicycle transportation.

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        • david August 3, 2011 at 8:38 am

          I think that you won’t find this in all cases. Minneapolis’ Nice Ride Minnesota, for example, is operating in the black after its first year of operation.

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          • wally August 3, 2011 at 9:09 am

            Due to a $1.75 million federal subsidy. In the words of the Nice Ride Executive Director: “And then the last piece is, we don’t have debt. The bike share was purchased with funds that came from a combination of private — the Blue Cross Blue Shield funds [the health insurer donated $1 million to Nice Ride, the fruits of a legal settlement with tobacco companies] —and public funds [Nice Ride also received $1.75 million through a Federal Highway Administration program]. So that’s a critical component.”

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  • Michael M. August 2, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    What Joe said … and John Mulvey … and 9watts. A home-grown, low-cost solution that leverages and expands on short-term bike rentals already available and allows our local bike shops all over the city (not just in the central city) to participate with a low barrier entry (i.e., not too much money upfront) would be much preferable to a corporate bike share scheme that blankets downtown with clunky bikes and advertisements.

    This is the kind of thing that perpetuates our miserable status-quo — a shiny new toy comes along and suddenly the equity issues move to the back burner. If Portland is ever going to make any progress, we have to put equity front and center. Can’t support the BTA on this.

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  • Scott August 2, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    The only thing that escapes whining and moaning and me first gimme gimme on this site are beer rides and the sprockettes and both of those thing are the only things worth complaining about. Everyone on here seems so miserably opposed to anything happening.

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    • 9watts August 2, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      it would be more constructive (and interesting) if you instead told us why you think this is a good idea, whom it will serve, or respond to some of the questions and concerns raised above.

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    • Andrew Seger August 2, 2011 at 2:05 pm

      Um actually the criticism is over how to spend on various bike projects. I want cycletracks on Foster and better facilities in outer east portland more than I want bikeshare in downtown portland. Ditto the portland-milwakie light rail line. It wouldn’t be my first spending priority but it’s still a project that’s good for people on bikes with better access to different parts of the city.

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      • Natalie August 2, 2011 at 10:53 pm

        I think that Scott is making a fair point, although the critiques above seem thoughtful and are contributing to a conversation, rather than just ‘whining’. I do also see a bit of a pattern of comments on here being mostly complaints and negative. I also think those complaints tend to follow with the mood/bias of each article. For example, commenters are complaining about this bikeshare program in the name of equity when commenters in articles about the N Williams redesign were complaining about the holdup because it was a project that is about “safety and not racism”–racism and gentrification being issues of equity… So why the sudden willingness to defend equity now? Whose equity are you fighting (complaining) for?

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  • Scott August 2, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I don’t think it’s a good idea. I think it is a marketing idea. Those are never really targeted towards the benefit of the people, more like targeted at the people. I pay taxes, commute by bike, enjoy not feeling safe and don’t fool myself by thinking my taxes listen to me after I pay them.

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    • beth h August 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm

      This could just as easily be said of the Portland Streetcar.

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      • aaronf August 4, 2011 at 8:28 pm

        Absolutely. And two wrongs…

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  • Allan August 2, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Having ridden bikeshare systems elsewhere, I think that the points here are well taken. This system should extend to ‘some’ corridors near downtown but ultimately bikeshare is a solution to the last-mile problem, a tourism boom, and a way to reduce traffic downtown. I would like to see bikeshare in Portland if its done right, and I would hope that the BTA lobbies for it to be done right.

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  • Nick Falbo August 2, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    I live in East Portland off Foster Rd, and have a personal desire to see that project go through. As we saw yesterday with the Joey Harrington accident, Foster (and similarly, Barbur) are inadequate for non-auto users, and we seriously need to address those issues.

    At the same time, I feel Bike Share in Portland would be a game changer. Everywhere that recent bike share systems have gone into place (Denver, DC, now Boston), there has been a huge increase in the visibility of the bicycle as a legitimate vehicle and an increase in downtown bike ridership. This could be the gateway drug for normal people to see themselves on a bike.

    Funding decisions are never easy, and I don’t know what the right mix of projects are to achieve our goals.

    The real question is why are we fighting over such a small percentage of total transportation dollars in the first place?

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    • Nick Falbo August 2, 2011 at 3:17 pm

      Doh! I didn’t mean to refer to the Joey Harrington crash as an “accident” … crash, collision, whatever, but with better streets, it certainly could have been prevented.

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  • captainkarma August 2, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Dumb question, but do these bikes come with locks, presumably? Otherwise, it’s bike station to bike station for the average joe who does not carry said item when not already biking.

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    • roger noehren August 2, 2011 at 5:48 pm

      No, they don’t come with locks and users aren’t supposed to commandeer the bikes for more than their current trip. So yes, it is bike station to bike station. After the user is finished shopping, dining or whatever they return walk (or take the streetcar) to the nearest bike station to check out another bike. The idea is to keep the bikes in circulation and readily available for other would be users.
      In Stockholm the last checkout was at 6:00pm with the latest allowable checkin at 9:00pm. If this were the policy in Portland, it wouldn’t allow for use after transit shuts down for the night.
      As someone who is accustomed to using a bike for transportation I really appreciate it when there is a bikeshare system of any kind available. I’m sure that visitors to Portland who ride at home will also appreciate it if one is established here.

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  • Jon August 2, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    with all due respect, cyclists are the last people to ask about bike sharing. bike sharing isnt for cyclists, its for pedestrians and transit riders and all those ‘interested in biking but not currently riding’. what it will do is get more people biking (including not typical bike riders), create more demand for bike infrastructure and will increase the acceptance of bicycles on the road… these are how it will benefit the cycling community.

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    • 9watts August 2, 2011 at 4:31 pm

      sounds plausible, but can you support your statements? What are the experiences of these programs in other US cities? Who rides? For what purposes? How have those programs evolved in response to user input?

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      • Natalie August 2, 2011 at 11:03 pm

        Why not look into this yourself instead of just posing all these questions for someone to do the research for you? Or perhaps this would be a good BikePortland article (or then, maybe there already is one):

        There are a number of articles that have been published on this–just search ‘bike sharing’ in Google News– and I’m sure most of them are trying to influence public opinion one way or the other. So you’ve got Boston newspapers announcing that the city’s bringing in bikesharing at a time when Montreal’s bikesharing failed. And then you’ve got a DC newspaper saying the project was TOO popular and there weren’t enough bikes to go around. Sounds like an issue of planning this properly and less about whether you are “pro” or “anti” bike-sharing. As with all issues, this is more complex than just taking sides.

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    • roger noehren August 3, 2011 at 12:37 am

      in my previous comment I meant that as a cyclist here at home in Portland I appreciate bikeshare programs when I’m visiting another town or city and assume that cyclists from elsewhere would appreciate having one here.
      I expect that many people who work downtown but don’t commute by bicycle would find it helpful to have an appropriate bike available for a quick errand within the service area – much faster and more enjoyable than the street car…
      Most bikeshare programs have corporate sponsors, so don’t necessarily take public funds away from other projects.

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    • beth h August 3, 2011 at 5:01 pm

      So can we say the same thing

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  • dwainedibbly August 2, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Interesting that the employment density map is included. Who’s ready to ride a heavy 3-speed up Marquam Hill?

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  • Steve B August 2, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    I was at the Flex Funds meeting where the Bike Share was up for contention. Ms. Danley’s perspective was well represented at that meeting, most people thought yet another transportation program in the center city was the wrong choice for flex funds or local investments. Of course, this is where a bike share program would be most successful due to the density.

    I like bike sharing, but I hope we don’t bring it to Portland at the expense of improvements to dangerous streets in Southwest and East Portland.

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  • jim August 3, 2011 at 12:30 am

    I think this is a really great idea as long as it doesnt get one dime of public money. It should be a totally privat venture.

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    • wally August 3, 2011 at 8:00 am

      A totally private venture would have user fees so high that it would surely fail. The following is a quote from a recent article in support of Montreal’s Bixi bike sharing program: “Running a deficit hardly makes Bixi a failure. There are hundreds of bicycle sharing systems around the world and none are profitable. In general, user fees don’t come close to covering full costs. A combination of corporate sponsorships and public subsidies is always required.”

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    • Natalie August 4, 2011 at 10:55 am

      It’s always easy to say that something would be great if it didn’t require public money. That’s why everyone loves toll roads, right? Oh, wait…

      The whole point of taxation is to remove a huge barrier to large public projects: people wanting to cherry pick individually which projects get funded and then making sure that the money doesn’t come from them.

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  • Jim Labbe August 3, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Thanks to those working on this but it might be strategic if this project was not entirely limited to the Central City from the get go. Initially putting some stations in Portland’s one 2040 Regional Center in East Portland (Gateway) and eventually in Portland’s six 2040 town centers (Hollywood, St. Johns, Lents, Hillsdale, West Portland and Raleigh Hills) could head off the perception that it is another transportation project that will primarily serve the Central City. It could also provide a needed boost in neighborhoods like Gateway and Lents that need it and the affordable opportunities for non-automobile transportation it would bring. A very least bikesharing of this form needs a highly visable and equitable plan for expansion because I think it WILL be successful.

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    • Nick Falbo August 3, 2011 at 8:15 am

      I love that idea. From what I can tell, limited scale bike share systems generally don’t succeed as well as large ones, but I agree it might be a good way to spread the love when investing into bike share and prevent a central city focus.

      The neighborhood satellite systems would probably not be used for commuting, but could act as a local circulator around the specific neighborhood centers.

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  • Greg August 3, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Who’s going to pay to dredge all the bikes back out of the Willamette after the homeless get done throwing them in?

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    • meh August 3, 2011 at 8:35 am

      That will come out of the renter’s credit card that they used to get the bike out of the rack. If they don’t return it, they are on the hook for it.

      So if the homeless have a credit card to rent a bike and throw it in the river, then they end up paying for the bike.

      The idea is not to take a bike and leave it outside of the rental stations.

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      • Alan 1.0 August 3, 2011 at 9:00 am

        A credit card is a quick-and-easy way for instant access to the system but monthly or annual passes can link identity to proof of financial responsibility through some other mechanism for those who don’t have credit cards. Some bike-share systems already do that.

        But Greg brings up the bigger issue of using public funds to build and operate a system that inherently excludes some categories of the public. Maybe building more universally public things like MUPs, sidewalks and multi-modal streets would be more appropriate use of the funds, serving a wider spectrum of the public. I personally have enjoyed the bike share systems I’ve used, but it’s an open question.

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        • Natalie August 4, 2011 at 11:02 am

          I totally see your point Alan, but there’s also a bit of irony in it. Almost every element of our infrastructure is not completely accessible to some group or some person. In a lot of ways, purchasing a bike isn’t an option for people. Bike share programs are actually supposed to increase equity and accessibility to one form of transportation for people who don’t have a bike at the moment, for whatever reason. I think that our homeless population is excluded from society in every single aspect of it, and bike sharing probably isn’t the place to start a conversation about that. We could start with everyone ignoring them and treating them like monsters.

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  • Greg August 3, 2011 at 9:58 am

    The article confused me. On one hand it says the public can use the bikes for free. On the other it says that part of the cost will be offset by user fees. Typically Portland would not allow a system like this to discriminate against the homeless, so I was assuming they would have free access to the bikes. Perhaps a bad assumption on my part, but we do have to consider the history of Portland and initiatives like this.

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    • John Mulvey August 3, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      Greg: I’m not sure what Portland you’re referring to, but if you think that this city has a tradition of fighting for the rights of homeless people, you’re crazy.

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  • roger noehren August 3, 2011 at 11:08 am

    The article says that they expect 500,000 trips in the first year and $500,000 of the $1.5 million operational costs to be paid by user fees. That would be $1/trip which is less than half the cost of a bus ticket.
    Inside fareless square homeless & other less affluent people would no doubt continue to use MAX & the street car.
    In Stockholm I paid $4/day, but the annual fee was only $28 (but that was 5 yrs ago). The stations were conveniently located near transit stops and in commercial districts around the central part of the city. When I purchased my card I was issued a map showing all the stations and a bike map of the city.
    When I rode beyond the service area, I had to return every three hours to checkin, but could immediately check out another bike. I would generally make my last checkout at 5:59pm so I could use it until the cutoff at 9pm. I was always able to find an available bike, but once I had to visit three racks before I found a vacant slot to return the bike I was using.
    Their system was seasonal and I was there in mid-summer, so it was never dark when I had a bike checked out. Hopefully a Portland bikeshare program would be year ’round and lights would be incorporated into the design.

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  • John Mulvey August 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I’m surprised to not see any comment from Gerik Kransky or any other BTA staffer. Some serious issues have been brought up in this thread, and I would think that a group dedicated to biking in this community wouldn’t ignore the serious and valid criticisms raised.

    Should I just assume that the BTA doesn’t give a rip about biking in the outer neighborhoods? What’s the BTA’s position on the other projects on the Flex Funds list? So far, these projects have reached this point with no help from the BTA, but I would think at least they’d nominally support us. So far, nothing.

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    • Michael M. August 3, 2011 at 2:11 pm

      That’s probably not an entirely fair assumption, but I’m with you on not understanding the BTA’s enthusiasm for spending scare Flex Funds on this project. It would be different if the trough ranneth over.

      OTOH, the BTA and its supporters haven’t exactly been jumping up and down to support broader notions of equity or social justice, at least not that I’ve seen. Still, I doubt it would allow the kind of ugly, classist speech of the sort “Greg” spouts on its blog the way Jonathan does here. But hey, “the homeless” probably don’t buy the stuff Maus’s advertisers are hawking, and let’s face it, it’s all about commerce. Even the BTA is getting behind pushing the capitalist party line with it’s “Bikes Mean Business” efforts. I guess the self-appointed leaders of Portland’s cycling community are courting our Tea Party overlords, now that Obama has co-opted and killed off the tatters of American progressivism. Who needs social security or affordable housing when you have bike boulevards and bike share (and war and mega-bridges and more war and oil/bank/auto tax breaks/bailouts … oh, and more war)?

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    • Gerik August 3, 2011 at 3:23 pm

      John, with all due respect, we would not be having a conversation about how the City spends millions of dollars without the BTA’s longstanding commitment to increasing funding for bike projects.



      To suggest we are somehow doing our job wrong is disingenuous, to say the least.

      On the matter at hand, as I am quoted in this article, part of the reason we are stepping into a leadership role on bike sharing is because we think it will get more people riding bikes who might not normally ride. Part of the reason is because no one else was stepping up to advocate for this fantastic and innovative bike project. Part of the reason, Steve B, is because we fought so hard and won funding 13 months ago there is money available for other great projects such as those in East Portland and Foster/Powell. The BTA supports all of the Active Transportation and Complete Streets projects.

      For bike sharing to work it has to be dense. A tight network of bike stations with a lot of bikes in a destination rich setting is the formula for success. We want to see phase one succeed and we want expansions of the system along the lines that Jim Labbe suggests. Regional centers, transit corridors, and town centers are clearly priority areas for expansion of our future bike sharing system.

      More than anything else we want to make bicycling safe, convenient and accessible for as many people as possible. Bike sharing fits the bill, in spades, and I’m excited to be working on this project.

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  • jim August 3, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Why dopeople think that we are entitled to have a bike share program? Its not like its in the constitution or something that everybody pays so some people can share a bike. Dosent sound right to me.

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    • Natalie August 4, 2011 at 11:05 am

      Really, you’re going to turn a blog post about bike sharing into a constitutional debate? Come on.

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  • esther c August 4, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I wonder about the helmet issue. Our culture is so helmet fixated that I wonder if people wouldn’t freak out at the site of people riding round on bikes that had the city’s approval but none of them had helmets.

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  • aaronf August 4, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    If I was in the tourism industry, or if I owned a business heavily supported by tourism, I’d be thrilled about a public funded bike sharing program.

    If I was one of the existing bike rental outfits, I’d be pretty unhappy.

    I’d rather see more bike infrastructure than this rental thing, personally.

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  • Justin August 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    When former D.C. DOT director Gabe Klein visited OTREC, he said that city’s bike-share program will turn a profit by its fourth year. That’s without selling ads on bikes and stations, which would make the city even more money.

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