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.
And then there’s Portland, which has predicted its system will launch in 2013, 2014, 2015 — and, as of this week, 2016.
For those inclined to continue tracking the city’s predictions, city spokesman Dylan Rivera shared a surprising tidbit in an email this week.
It came in response to a clarifying question I’d asked about Portland Transportation Director Leah Treat’s major goals for 2015, two of which we covered on Tuesday. This is from Rivera’s response:
On her priorities, Leah actually has laid out four top priorities for PBOT this year, including parking policy, Vision Zero, implementation of the two year work plan and bike share. This is how she stated them in a message to staff over the holidays:
“For 2015 my priorities are (1) the implementation of the 2 year work plan; (2) tackling the varied challenges of parking Citywide; (3) announcing a start date for BikeShare; and (4) Vision Zero. There are other priorities that will be on my agenda in the coming months, such as the start-up of the Street Fee (fingers crossed); reforming the taxi-industry and allowing for transportation network companies to operate in the City; identifying and implementing continuous process improvements; focusing on internal organizational development and morale building; and breaking down siloes across the organization, among other things.”
We intend to launch a bike share system in 2016 and will have more to say in the coming months. Nothing more to add today.
This date — 2016, plus the promise of more “in the coming months” — is a change in the city’s message over the last week.
Last Thursday, while preparing an article about Portland’s long-delayed bike share system as a victim of the city’s prolonged search for new transportation revenue, I’d asked Rivera if the city had any new developments on bike sharing, and at that point he’d chosen not to share Treat’s holiday message. He responded only that “the timeline for bike share depends on the industry.”
Not everything about Portland’s delay has been bad. We’ve managed to skip a generation of unreliable software, still being used in New York City and elsewhere. Experimentation with dockless systems continues; it’s still anybody’s guess whether car2go-style floating-fleet systems or hybrids like Grid Bike Share in Phoenix are visible and intuitive enough to get much ridership. If they are, they’ll be cheaper and therefore easier to expand.
With the former Alta Bicycle Share under new corporate leadership, with new financing and rebranded as Motivate, it’s entirely possible that the company’s crippling equipment problems have improved. Portland also has the right to terminate its three-year-old contract with Motivate and pursue a new partner or approach.
Or this could just be the latest unreliable timeline. Whatever happens, we’ll keep tracking it.
Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.