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

Posted by on June 1st, 2015 at 12:00 pm

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.


Here are the details of Portland’s winning project (which really seems like Philadelphia’s project):

Equity Outcomes and Potential for Better Bike Share

Researchers at Portland State University will collect and examine data such as perceptions of bike share, barriers to use, success of specific interventions to increase use, and the impact of station siting decisions in Philadelphia’s Indego Bike Share System. The key deliverable is a report that will help new and existing bike share systems identify and implement interventions that will help them reach and engage more riders.

Of course, there will likely be takeaways from the PSU research that will help Portland’s system (if it ever gets launched). And we need the help on this issue judging from the equity debate that caught fire during Metro funding negotiations back in 2011.

And in case you’re still interested (we won’t blame you if you’re already over it), the Portland Bureau of Transportation is now firmly committing to a 2016 bike share launch date. They aren’t giving any details about sponsors or system type; but despite the many years of delays, PBOT isn’t backing away from its bike share promise.

And there’s still a chance we could win some cash from the Better Bike Share Partnership. Today’s round of grants are just the first in a $900,000 funding cycle that will be administered over the next three years.

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  • Brad June 1, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Portland: The City That Studies Other Cities.

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    • paikiala June 1, 2015 at 1:36 pm

      Very odd use of language. You say the money went to Portland, then you say the money went to PSU. Since one is a State agency and the other is not, which is it?
      click bait.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 1, 2015 at 1:42 pm

        paikala.. “Portland” is not an agency. It’s a city ;-).

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        • paikiala June 1, 2015 at 4:27 pm

          Your story title implies Portland, the city agency (they work on the behalf of Portland taxpayers, e.g., agents). And the title was used to falsely imply the City is wasting grant money.
          PSU wins bike share grant to study someone else’s bike share… doesn’t really get the clicks, does it?

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          • Jayson June 1, 2015 at 5:37 pm

            Agreed. Title needs to change. Portland did not win a grant to study another city – PSU won a research grant. BIG difference.

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  • 9watts June 1, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Platinum: the sheen is wearing off.

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  • BicycleDave June 1, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    I really think Splinster’s upcoming bike share will be the way to go. No need to find a station at the end of your ride, just lock up to the nearest staple rack.

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  • Wondering June 1, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Bronzing the Platinum. Portlandia, how we roll.

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  • J_R June 1, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    April Fool! Whoops, that was exactly two months ago.

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  • Jennifer Dill June 1, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    To clarify, the grant to PSU (not the city) was part of a separate grant process specifically for research on existing bike share systems. We’re excited about the opportunity to conduct research around the country on this important topic, with findings that will be useful for Portland and other cities.

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  • GlowBoy June 1, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Hey, study ours! The Twin Cities’ bikeshare system is working great. Although I have my own bike, I still use the system all the time. Sometimes I’ll take the bus one way to a destination and return by bike, or vice versa. And sometimes I use it to eliminate a transfer on a bus trip if the timing of the connection isn’t very good.

    More examples: although the nearest bikeshare station is a mile and a half from my house, if it’s a nice day I’ll take the bus there and then ride a share bike downtown, and not have to worry about vandalism or theft with my own bike parked on the street. Or … if I”m in a hurry I’ll hop in a car2go and drive that to the bikeshare station for a buck and a half (and since the subsequent sharebike is free for the first hour, this overall trip actually costs me slightly less than a bus ride). The permutations and combinations are endless, with a couple hundred stations scattered around the two cities.

    All in all, for me it’s not a be-all-end-all solution, but it’s an important piece of the “Transportation 2.0” puzzle, allowing me to fill in gaps and opening up a lot of alternatives for getting around.

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    • John Lascurettes June 1, 2015 at 3:37 pm

      When I visited Minneapolis, I used the bike share to get around from where I was staying to where I was doing business. I loved it. Not the worlds most comfortable saddles but it did it’s job. And it was everywhere. No problem using it at all.

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      • GlowBoy June 8, 2015 at 5:05 pm

        Agreed, they’re not the fastest nor most comfortable bikes, but they are quite decent. If I’m going to ride more than 5-10 miles I’ll take my own bike, but for shorter rides up to an hour or so Nice Ride works great, especially if I only need a bike for a one-way segment.

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  • Paul g June 1, 2015 at 2:44 pm


    Have to chime in with Jennifer, here. Your title and text is badly misleading.

    “Portland” did not win, not is it clear it applied, for a grant.

    PSU applied for and received a grant to conduct a study. We should be celebrating the fact that the institute at PSU is a national leader in studying transportation.

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  • Eric June 1, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    We should make a plan to study the plan that they studied? Our existing plans need to be built so we can study those instead.

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  • 9watts June 1, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Is the subscribe to this conversation button ever coming back? Did I miss the memo?

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  • Beeblebrox June 1, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Just want to throw in my agreement with others that this headline is misleading and inflammatory. PSU does research on all kinds of topics all the time…because it’s a research university! You’re just looking for a way to poke at the city for bike share delays. Not too classy.

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