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.”
That last line was a surprise because neither PBOT nor Novick has said anything about bike share for many months (at least not publicly).
Last we heard from the city the bike share is coming “in 2016.”
Following Fish’s comments we asked PBOT Active Transportation Division Manager Margi Bradway if she had anything she wanted to share. “We have reserved a time for a Council session on bike share on September 16th. We will release more information as it becomes available.”
So that’s it. On September 16th we’ll hear more from the city about their latest plans for bike share. If you’re keeping track at home that’s a full three years since they chose Alta Bicycle Share (now Motivate) to implement their system and over eight years since they first started planning for one.
We have not yet learned what exactly PBOT has up their sleeve, but since it’s coming at a city council meeting — and not a public press conference — our hunch is that it won’t be a big and splashy announcement. Don’t expect a date when the 750 bikes will hit the street and don’t expect to hear about a huge corporate sponsor they’ve lined up. It’s much more likely they’ll make a procedural move.
So much has changed in the world of bike share that perhaps PBOT wants to make sure they’re still on the right track with their plans and vendor. Another line of thinking is that PBOT wants to preempt any forthcoming announcement or launch from Spinlister, a private company who says they’re nearing completion of their Portland bike share plans.