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It’s official: Portland city council passes bike share plan 4-0

Posted by on September 23rd, 2015 at 11:56 am

bikesharelead

Next summer.
(Graphic from PBOT presentation.)

After nearly a decade of talking and planning, city council finally approved a plan that will bring bike sharing to Portland streets by July of next year.

The contract (PDF) passed by a vote of 4-0 (Commissioner Dan Saltzman was absent). Three votes for the plan were all but guaranteed long before today’s meeting. Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioners Nick Fish and Steve Novick strongly backed the plan.

“Anyone who rents a bike share bike will be instructed that if you see a fork in the road, take it.”

— Commissioner Novick (in the style of Yogi Berra)

At council today Fritz declared her support of bike share, but not without bringing up several things she’s still concerned about. “While the policy case has been made, I remain very concerned in general about the helmet situation… Putting bicycles on the street without helmets, especially with tourists, is counter to Vision Zero,” she said.

Fritz also said she’s worried that “inexperienced” riders will create a “dangerous situation” if/when they ride on downtown’s sidewalks, light rail and streetcar tracks. She shared an anecdote about seeing someone crash on MAX tracks just after the new Orange Line opened.

“Yes, I know cars do it too,” she added, “but they have a bit more protection than a cyclist or pedestrian.” Fritz said she plans to work with PBOT on an educating users about sidewalk laws, safe riding practices, and helmet use.

The other members of council kept their comments short. With the passage this morning of baseball great Yogi Berra, Novick invoked several of his famous quotes. “Anyone who rents a bike share bike will be instructed,” Novick said, “That if you see a fork in the road, take it.”

Commissioner Fish said he can’t wait to be “one of the early adopters.”

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Steve Hoyt-McBeth and Margi Bradway understandably happy.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Speaking of which, PBOT Bike Share project manager Steve Hoyt-McBeth said he expects the system to be on the ground by July 2016. A public process to help decide the location of stations and other issues will happen between January and March of next year.

For now, Hoyt-McBeth and his partner on the bike share project at PBOT, Active Transportation Division Manager Margi Bradway, will turn their attention to finding a corporate sponsor. The price to sponsor the system could range between $2-8 million depending on the nature of the contract.

“Now we’ve proven we have the city behind us. It’s go time.”
— Margi Bradway, PBOT Active Transportation Division manager

Reached outside the Portland Building after today’s vote, Bradway said having the full support of city council will make finding a sponsor much easier. “Now we’ve proven we have the city behind us. It’s go time.” Bradway added that bought (with her own money) a big cake for division staff to celebrate bike share’s passage.

The plan approved today has changed significantly since it first came to council back in 2012.

The bike share system approved today is 20 percent smaller but about 55 percent cheaper than the one the city originally planned.

The contract calls for the city to spend about $2 million to 600 bikes and 60 stations. The system will be operated by New York City-based Motivate (formerly Alta Bicycle Share) with software, hardware, and bikes developed by Social Bicycles. The “next generation” system will be different than bike sharing systems in big cities like New York City and Washington D.C. that rely on large kiosks where bikes must be docked after use. With Social Bicycles, currently in use in Phoenix, Santa Monica, Tampa, Orlando, Boise, and others, the docking software is on-board each bike and they can be locked up anywhere.

For casual riders and tourists, a ride on Portland bike share will cost $2.50 for up to 30 minutes. More regular users will be able to purchase 12-month contracts at $10 to $15 per month to get 90 minutes free per day. Month-to-month memberships will be more expensive. The exact price is yet to be determined.

No matter what happens next, this is a momentous day for biking in Portland. After years of delays and debates, bike share if finally coming. For real. And if the system works (and that’s a real if), Portland will go from laughingstock to leader for the patience, research, and process it took to get here.

Hoyt-McBeth and Bradway were over-the-moon with happiness after today’s vote.

“We’re going to have one of the most innovative systems in the country,” Hoyt-McBeth said, “It will be worth the wait.”

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Adam Herstein
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Adam Herstein

Can’t wait! The original home area is too small IMO, but hopefully it will be expanded shortly after launch.

The city needs to stop pushing helmet usage. That will only deter more people from riding. Focus instead on making our streets safe to ride without helmets. Time to ramp up on the downtown cycle track network project!

soren
Guest
soren

Would additional sponsor cash be used to expand the system? And if so, how much?

John Lascurettes
Guest

Fritz also said she’s worried that “inexperienced” riders will create a “dangerous situation” if/when they ride on downtown’s sidewalks

Maybe this will finally force the situation that signage is needed to define a “no sidewalk riding” area rather than simply knowing the revised statutes. When 99.9% of the roads with sidewalks in this state allow for sidewalk riding, how do you expect people to know what the no-zone is for Portland and Salem? While I realize that ignorance of the law is no defense against violating the law, that statute should have required signage to be enforceable.

Sidewalk zone for Portland: http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=28596#cid_16278

invisiblebikes
Guest
invisiblebikes

Is Fritz rally that daft?

1) Bicycle helmets have nothing to do with VisionZero!

2) Bicycle helmets are not designed nor are they tested to protect the wearer during a collision in traffic with or from a car!
bicycle helmets don’t even come close to DOT tested and approved helmets.

Better road design, safer bike infrastructure, better quality education of drivers (and more of it) all equal VisionZero #victimblamming

John Lascurettes
Guest

Another gem from Vera:

Putting bicycles on the street without helmets, especially with tourists, is counter to Vision Zero,” she said.

I think she fails to understand what Vision Zero really is. It’s not about putting safety responsibility on the ride of the bike – and in particular about what they wear. It’s about reducing vehicle conflict in the first place.

Glenn
Guest
Glenn

page 78 – 99,750 bones for shipping..really…

Evan Manvel
Guest
Evan Manvel

The clear solution to sidewalk riding: make a street space that feels safe for inexperienced cyclists. People are being forced to choose between riding among huge cars, which isn’t very comfortable for many people, and riding on the sidewalk.

That means separated bike lanes.

I know the city’s working on their downtown plan, and hopefully Portland will get to a solution somewhat near Vancouver, BC’s amazing downtown bikeways (though have a few more than Vancouver).

9watts
Guest
9watts

Will that cute flag on the basket in the picture disappear in exchange for the corporate sponsor’s logo?

Random
Guest
Random

“The city needs to stop pushing helmet usage.”

You really need to visit a brain injury clinic, or talk to any health care worker who deals with severe trauma cases.

Brain injuries are terrible, and helmets help prevent them. Before motorcycle helmets were made mandatory, you heard the same drivel you hear now claiming that helmets didn’t prevent head injuries. Wasn’t true.

“That will only deter more people from riding.”

People without helmets **should** be deterred from riding.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Still think this pricing scheme is a bad idea. I just don’t see enough people wanting to spend that kind of money.
If it’s already subsidized, why not go with a low initial price to drum up interest and ridership.

JJJJ
Guest

July? Its a mostly dockless system. Why arent they capable of launching in late Spring, rather than halfway through the casual riding season?

rick
Guest
rick

concerned about $treetcar tracks and bikes? Then remove them and add a bus line.

invisiblebikes
Guest
invisiblebikes

Hey Amanda Fritz (I know she won’t read this but…) Here is a wonderful quote directly from BHSI.org which is a testing facility for CPSC.gov

“Most of the cases where the helmet’s limits are exceeded involve crashes with cars. Every rider understands that it is very important to avoid being hit by a car.
Obviously a helmet covers only your head, leaving the rest of your body unprotected.
In sum, your helmet will do a good job of protecting you in a fall, but the limits can be exceeded. It should be clear that nothing about wearing a helmet affects the need to ride safely, or the need for safe riding facilities.”

I especially like the last sentence… “the Need for safe riding facilities”

clear and simple advice straight from the horses mouth!

sarah angell
Guest

Congratulations to Margi and Steve! Their many many months of hard work paid off! And so pleased to hear the City has chosen to go with a ‘dockless’ system.

Now imagine this in tandem with the Next Big Thing: Riding by Bike Share all the way from the Springwater Corridor in outer SE to St. Johns in Far North Portland—by way of Segment 5 and the North Portland Willamette Greenway!

Now THAT’s sexy.

David
Guest
David

I haven’t seen it mentioned all that often with regard to Portland’s bike share system, but the helmet distribution/collection system we’re using in Seattle has worked out remarkably well. It’s low-cost (orders of magnitude lower than a vending machine solution), light-weight, modular, and the loss rate has been surprisingly low. Helmets also provide a system with additional sponsorship real estate.

Also, there are ways of providing helmets without “pushing” them on customers (though admittedly, helmets are mandatory here in Seattle). Think of it this way: there is some proportion of Portland’s population that won’t ride a bike without a helmet, and this is probably even more true for the tourists that make up a large share of a bike share system’s revenue. So by NOT providing a turn-key, easy-to-use helmet distribution/collection system, you’re effectively alienating that proportion of your potential customer base.

Andy K
Guest
Andy K

Why are we focusing so much on sidewalk riders and plastic hats?
Just be happy it’s coming!

Dwaine Dibbly
Guest
Dwaine Dibbly

Originally (years ago when first proposed) it looked like it was going to be free for the first 30 minutes (that might have been with an annual membership). I’m not paying $2.50 for 30 minutes when I can walk and have a TriMet pass in my wallet.

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

Jonathan: If I recall, the sponsorship money will go to Motivate, right? That’s a feature of this deal wherein Motivate will suffer any losses in the first 3 years, so a sponsorship would help them.

Why then are city employees setting out to secure the sponsorship? That seems like a bad deal for taxpayers as well as Motivate, who has all the incentive (motivation?) to find a sponsor.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

As a now-former Portlander who still visits regularly for business, I’m happy to see this finally get off the ground. I use the Minneapolis system regularly, and it’s fantastic. The pricing model is not dissimilar: there’s a monthly charge of $15 (or $65 per year – bearing in mind that the system is only available for 7 months of the year). Then you get the first hour for free, with each subsequent half-hour increments costing $3.

As for the streetcar track issue, I’m sure some n00bs will crash, but I don’t expect mayhem. Portland’s share bikes won’t be too different from those elsewhere. Ours have nice beefy 2″ slicks. Cross tracks at a 10 degree angle in the rain and you might still go down, but these tires make it vastly less likely to crash than 25-35mm tires.

Angel
Guest
Angel

I know I’m not their target market, but I look forward to this program expanding to cover my interests.

If I’m out for a bike ride in the city of Portland, the odds that the most I’ll bike is less than ninety minutes is low.

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Let’s run the numbers…

$2,000,000 for 600 bicycles = $3,333 per bicycle…

So we get 600 really lousy machines loaded with fancy electronics and managed by overpaid bureaucrats…

Plus $2.50 per 1/2 hour, the price of a TriMet ticket for a substantially longer time…

Plus labor, trucks, traffic, pollution for “rebalancing” the “system”…

Has anyone ever thought this through…

Does anyone in this town actually understand bicycles and cycling…

Cycling knee-jerk much!

Lets just have Council buy Bromptons for 1,200 people.

Erik
Guest
Erik

The cost is really going to be $2.50 / half hour? Why isn’t it priced to allow for a full day’s access with time limits per rental like other cities? For regular users, is the 90-minute window a daily cap on usage too?

Mark
Guest
Mark

Ahh, the anti-bike ordinance known as the “two/four legged only ordinance”. It is seriously out of date and needs to be updated. Instead of shoving people into the traffic stream where there aren’t bike lanes..and/ or bike lanes not patrolled…let’s look at this logically. Cops seem to have no problem riding on the sidewalk safely. Did they take a special class in how to ride slowly..or did they learn that when they were the age of 8?

Simply change the ordinance to “a bike on a sidewalk shall yield to pedestrians at all time and give 3 feet when passing at walking speed” would suffice. This is what I do…and I even have a bell ($5.99 amazon). The bell works well…I often see riders with no bell or horn. Anyway, the ordinance shall read “If three feet is unavailable, rider shall walk bike until space is available”. Reasonable people follow laws and jackholes ignore laws all together making everyone a bike hater. Looking at you red light runner.

To throw 600 shiny bikes on the street with no helmets and hypocritical bike cops waiting to crack some un-helmeted tourist heads…with sidewalk tickets…..seems wrong. But hey..it’s free money!

Or better yet, all bike share bikes can ride on the sidewalk. Because…they sort of special.

The rest of us….to the traffic stream with you!

Phil Richman
Guest
Phil Richman

Where does Spinlister fit into all of this?