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First look at Portland’s expanded bike share service area and proposed station locations

Posted by on March 9th, 2016 at 9:50 am

stationmaplead

Bike share station location proposal and expanded service area map just released by the City of Portland.

With sponsorship all buttoned up, the next big phase of planning for Portland’s bike share system is where to put the docking stations. And with that aforementioned sponsorship, the City of Portland is in the enviable position of being able to expand Biketown before it’s even been launched.

We got our first look at the new maps — for both the proposed station locations and the service area – at the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee last night.

“We’re going to get there. But we tried to stick to being successful right out of the gate.”
— Steve Hoyt-McBeth, PBOT bike share project manager when asked why Alberta Street won’t be in the service area.

The $10 million commitment from Nike means Biketown will launch in July 66 percent larger than initially proposed. With 100 stations and 1,000 bikes the service area for the system has now been expanded.

The service area still focuses on the central city, but it’s been expanded to cover more of northwest and southeast Portland. The initial service area (map here) had a northwest border of Raleigh and 24th. That has now been expanded three blocks to Vaughn. The largest expansion comes in southeast. Where the initial map stopped along 12th and went from NE Broadway to SE Powell, the new map extends bike share along SE Clinton and Belmont as far east as Cesar Chavez (39th).

A draft station map released by the Bureau of Transportation today shows 300 candidate locations. Now the process begins for whittling them down to a final 100. PBOT also released an interactive tool that allows anyone to drop a pin on a map and suggest a location.

Before going into the details on how they’ll make their station location decisions, PBOT’s bike share project manager Steve Hoyt-McBeth shared an overview of the system. He said the city’s main goal for bike share is to get people out of their cars. “We want people to bike more and drive less,” he said, pointing to research that shows a strong correlation between bike share use and less driving. One study showed that about 50 percent of bike share users say drove less after becoming members of a system. “Bike share appears to be a wonder drug,” Hoyt-McBeth said, “It just makes people bike like crazy.”

To create bike share addicts the city must first put dealers on every corner — that’s where the stations come in. While you won’t have to park your Biketown bike at a designated station (that’s a key distinction of our “smart bike” system), the city will still rely on them as anchors and they’ll have built-in incentives for people to use them.

Before releasing their maps to the public today PBOT and their consultants have already put considerable thought into what makes a good station location. They worked with Alta Planning + Design to create a heat map of where demand would be greatest. The map took into account factors like residential and employment density, transit demand, “recreation demand” and proximity to major attractions.

PBOT also scored potential locations on a list of 10 criteria that include everything from “solar exposure” (needed to run the on-board electronics) to whether it’s adjacent to an existing bike route.

stations-scoring

PBOT has scored 300 potential locations based on the above criteria.

Another major factor for PBOT’s decisions is equity. Hoyt-McBeth said the new service area has 13,000 affordable housing units, with 80 percent of them just 500 feet from a station candidate and 99 percent within a quarter-mile.

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When it comes to building a bike share system that works, station density is a key factor. Portland’s system is aiming for just under 11 stations per square mile — which is about twice as dense as comparable cities. Hoyt-McBeth emphasized that PBOT’s approach is to keep the initial service area as small as possible. “We want to be successful out of the gate and serve our service area well, then use that success to grow into new neighborhoods,” he said.

bikesharesteve

Steve Hoyt-McBeth at the bike advisory
committee meeting last night.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

One part of the city left out of the service area is the bustling Alberta Street area. Hoyt-McBeth said that was his team’s most difficult decision, especially because he and other city staffers live there. The decision came down to density. PBOT feels the system will work best if the coverage area has “contiguous density” of residential and commercial land-use. Hoyt-McBeth said Alberta didn’t make the cut because the Irvington neighborhood directly south of it is simply not dense enough to support bike share.

“We’re going to get there,” Hoyt-McBeth said about the Alberta area. “But we tried to stick to being successful right out of the gate.”

Since the vast majority of Biketown customers will be local residents (as opposed to tourists, which make up a tiny share of users in other cities) and most of Portland’s everyday bike riders already have a bike, PBOT is banking that bike share will appeal to the 60 percent of Portlanders who’d like to try cycling but have various concerns that keep them away. “The ‘interested but concerned’ have been really difficult to move off the fence,” said Hoyt-McBeth, “Bike share seems to be really effective to get people to change their behavior.”

The system will cost $2.50 for a 30 minute ride or you get up to 90 minutes free per day with annual pass that costs $10-$15 per month.

PBOT wants to get the station map finalized quickly in order to stay on track for the July launch. They have five open houses to garner feedback starting next week. You can also suggest a location on their interactive map tool.

Correction 11:30 am: An earlier version of this post referred to stations per acre rather than per square mile.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Adam
Subscriber

I was disappointed to hear people discussing helmet vending at last night’s Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting. Since PBOT is limiting use of BIKETOWN to people over 18, there is no legal requirement for helmet use for any of its users. We should take lessons from Seattle’s failed bike share, where the legally-required helmet vending system added to operating costs. Warning people about helmet use only implies that bike share is dangerous, when the data show that bike share is actually safer than riding your own bike. It sounded like working with local bike shops for helmet discounts was being considered, and I greatly encourage this route. Just send people a coupon in the mail for a discounted helmet if they want it, and call it a day. There is no need for a complicated helmet-vending solution.

It sounded like most stations will be on the sidewalk, which is a bit disappointing. This is especially odd considering that riding on the sidewalk downtown is illegal. Hopefully we can start to remove some on-street parking to give space for bike share stations, similar to the on-street corral program. This can also be a way to slowly start to remove parking capacity in the center city.

I fully expect people to be riding on the sidewalk downtown since we have exactly zero protected cycling facilities downtown, and the “interested but concerned” crowd that bike share does a great job at capturing will not want to ride in mixed traffic. The “Central City Multimodal Safety Project” can’t come soon enough.

I’m glad to see that inner SE corridors will be getting bike share stations. I’m especially excited about Division, as this can provide an excellent transport supplement to those living in low-parking apartment buildings. Couple the rollout with a neighborhood parking permit system and meters on Division, and you have a recipe for a reduction in SOV share.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…Warning people about helmet use only implies that bike share is dangerous, …” adam h

I think most people thinking of riding a bike, if they aren’t already riding one…in traffic where motor vehicles are in use, recognize that the danger they face isn’t inherent to bikes or bike share systems, but from falls arising from collisions and close calls. Falls could occur from collisions with motor vehicles, other people on bikes, road surface issues, and so on.

This considered, there likely are people that will want to be using a bike helmet when they ride a bike share bike. Vending machines that dispense bike helmets may be one way to make this safety equipment readily available, and thus help boost the rate of bike share use.

For many potential regular users of bike share, getting their own personal bike helmet may be reasonably workable. More than serviceable bike helmets can be had for twenty five bucks or less.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

Well when it comes to bike share, helmetless riding isn’t of any concern.

More just released data on the safety of bike share.

http://www.curbed.com/2016/3/9/11186670/bikeshare-cyclists-safety-transportation.

Funny that the tourists ride safer than the rest of us.

By the way, those $25 Bell bike helmets you mention are always at the top of the Consumer Reports test reports- beating nearly all the other helmets year after year when it comes to potential protection, however even the bicycle manufacturers say that their products offer no protection in automobile collisions (every helemt instruction manual has this disclaimer)- so why bother?

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…however even the bicycle manufacturers say that their products offer no protection in automobile collisions (every helemt instruction manual has this disclaimer)- so why bother?” gutterbunnybikes

This is the wrong comment section to rehash that argument. That said, you didn’t quote “…the bicycle manufacturers…” ( I would think you meant to say ‘the bike helmet manufacturers’), and I have to say that I doubt that manufacturers of bike helmets say what you’re suggesting about the protection their products are capable of offering people that wear bike helmets in the event of a fall from their bikes.

maccoinnich
Subscriber

Today in “Commissioner Fritz, is that you?” the absence of bike share stations in Parks is pretty striking. Nothing in Waterfront Park, Couch Park, Elizabeth Caruthers Park or The Fields. The other parks that are served by potential stations appear to have them placed in the right-of-way. The lack of stations in Waterfront Park is particularly striking. People will using bikeshare there and leaving bikes there when they’re done with their trip. It seems like the real choice for Parks is whether they want a lot of bikes locked to railings and lamp posts, or not.

The map also shows the limits of building out a bike network based on Greenways alone. The SE stations are mostly placed on streets where people want to go (Hawthorne, Division, Belmont, Burnside) and not where we’ve built a bike network (Ankeny, Salmon, Harrison).

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

I believe the thought is that once Bikeshare gets up and running the businesses will realize in the inner neighborhoods at least that bikes mean business.

Then maybe they will support Bikeways on main streets instead of being scared about parking loss. Then Pbot MIGHT strart listerning to the needs of cyclists.

I am one of little faith as of now without some serious leadership changes.

Charles McCarthy
Guest
Charles McCarthy

I think that the bike share payment system ought to be integrated with the coming TriMet stored value pass.
I visited Korea last year and found that a single stored value pass works for transit throughout almost the whole country. It’s credit-card sized, called T-Money, can be recharged at any convenience store as well as at transit locations, (and also used to purchase sundries like asprin or tissues or…). One simply swipes the card on entrance, and then as you swipe the card on exiting, the fare is automatically calculated and deducted from the card. Very easy and convenient to use. I think it must need good fast wireless connectivity everywhere, which may not exist here; Korea has far better connectivity than the US.

bjorn
Guest
bjorn

Not only integrated but you should be able to transfer between trimet and bikeshare just like you can between buses now. The whole thing should be run as a single multimodal system.

Su Wonda
Guest
Su Wonda

I was there for two years and T-Money rules!!!! Subway, Bus, Cab, Book Vending Machines (that’s right books) and more…..Why must Trimet constantly re-invent the wheel. We love their smartphone innovations, why not their transportation innovations.

Michael Andersen (Contributor)
Editor

Wow, that’s going to be a lot of people riding on the sidewalks of Belmont, Hawthorne, Division and 23rd. At least until they get more comfortable alternatives.

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

I hope you’re wrong, but fear you might not be. I rarely see sidewalk riding now. A good thing since it would be dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians here.

Ignoring infrastructure, the inclusion of those areas seems to make sense.

It will be interesting to see how they’re used. Will users feel comfortable riding somewhere like Division, or those eastern blocks of Belmont? It’s unlikely. Perhaps the bikes see more use for north/south trips between areas though, in which case they only have to deal with the parking that has turned some of these roads into single lanes.

soren
Guest
soren

Do you live in the inner SE? I see people riding on Hawthorne, 20th, Belmont, 28th, Sandy, Chavez all the time — particularly in the evening.

soren
Guest
soren

“riding” = “sidewalk riding”

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

Lots of people in the auto lanes on these streets too.

Granted not greenway or bike lane numbers. But enough that I’ve always wondered why bike counts aren’t conducted on these streets.

soren
Guest
soren

I should also note that I support sidewalk riding and encourage anyone who does not feel safe riding in the lane to ride on the sidewalk.

Adam
Subscriber

Everyone riding on the sidewalk is just looking for the protected bike lane that doesn’t exist.

dwk
Guest
dwk

This is too dumb for words…
Sidewalk riding? Are you 5?

soren
Guest
soren

So someone who is 5 can ride on the sidewalk but an adult cannot? Does this make any sense?

I personally ride on the sidewalk often because it’s frequently the most efficient (and safest) route.

Adam
Subscriber

We should be designing all of our cycling infra to accommodate 5 year olds.

Adam
Subscriber

Add me to the “sidewalk riders” list as well. How else am I supposed to ride from Clinton to the Powell Hopworks?

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

Via 29th Ave

Adam
Subscriber

Then what? How do I cross Powell? There’s no light at 29th. I have to ride over to 26th or 33rd.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

How would you ride north on NE 181st Ave as it passes under I-84? Just curious, as this is a section where I ride on the sidewalk.

https://goo.gl/maps/8ZdHaWqF69u

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“Wow, that’s going to be a lot of people riding on the sidewalks of Belmont, Hawthorne, Division and 23rd. At least until they get more comfortable alternatives.” andersen

Not sure why you’re saying this.

If one of the results of bike share, is that it will have comparatively greater numbers of people riding bikes, that could represent a potential opportunity by virtue of sheer number of riders, bike share and otherwise, to help calm traffic on the streets.

If people riding, opt out of using the street, and ride the sidewalks instead, the opportunity to help calm street traffic through use of the street with greater numbers of people on bikes, will be lost.

rick
Guest
rick

Not much for the Lair Hill neighborhood

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

Interesting that most of the inner SE docking stations are located along major arterials that PBOT so far has refused to make safer or more accessible to cyclists. Where do they think those bikes will get ridden?

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

One other “housekeeping” design issue for the City when setting up bike share pods…please consider how the fleet will be rebalanced at high/low demand stations and plan for loading / un loading areas for the trucks carrying bikes.

[I hope the Biketown system has a technology / rewards method for minimizing this costly fleet management issue and one that may see many bike lanes next to bike share pods blocked hourly/ daily by Biketown trucks.]

Tony Jordan (Contributor)
Subscriber

Hopefully they will use cargo trikes for rebalancing.

Cory P
Guest
Cory P

They should credit skateboarders who do the service of rebalancing. I would move a bike or two while skating around if it was incentivised.

John
Guest
John

“Portland’s system is aiming for just under 11 stations per acre”. I think you mean per square mile? One downtown block is an acre.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

They must. 1 acre is 208 feet x 208 feet.

Michael Andersen (Contributor)
Editor

That’s correct — fixed, thanks.

mw
Guest
mw

I could not figure out how to drop a pin and suggest new station locations

J.E.
Guest
J.E.

Me neither. Has this feature not been released yet? I’d really like to suggest a station at Ladd’s Circle.

Dweendaddy
Guest
Dweendaddy

I will be interested to see how Portland does with this Biketown bike share, considering they are taking two quite different approaches than the other bike shares in the US.
First is with pricing plan – no daily or three day or monthly plan? Just single use and yearly. I think this will pick up some riders who do not want to pay $5-10 for a full day’s pass like in most cities, but will lose some tourists who want to cruise from place to place to place on the bikes each day of their visit.
Second is their no-dock. If it works, it will be great – check your phone to see if their is a bike nearby. It won’t work as well for people who don’t use phones well and want to know where “their” stations are. And for others who are counting on a certain location to have a station.

Good luck Biketown!

Adam
Subscriber

One thing that I picked up from the BAC meeting last night is that the pricing will be prorated. Perhaps someone can verify this, but it sounded like you will be charged 8 cents per minute over the initial 30 minutes instead of being charged $2.50 every 30 minutes. So a 31 minute trip will cost $2.58 instead of $5. This is a huge benefit.

daisy
Guest
daisy

I’m pleased to see the Williams corridor included (which of course also includes the Nike outlet store where this was announced). I think it’ll be well used in that area.

I’m a bit concerned about the price for lower income folks. $2.50 gets you a bus pass for 2.5 hours but only 30 minutes on a bike. If you want to go the grocery store and back, it’ll cost $5 by bike, double the bus ride cost for a quick shopping trip.

I know the goal is to get people out of their cars for short trips, but $5 seems too high for that for shorter trips, too. Will there be anyway lower income folks can get a lower price?

Adam
Subscriber

I believe the city is working on discounts on annual memberships for low-income people.

Rob Chapman
Guest
Rob Chapman

daisy you bring up a very valid concern about the price of the single use. A 2.5 hr Trimet ticket gets me to and from the grocery store with time to spare. Hopefully the pricing structure isn’t carved in stone.

The annual pass on the other hand does look like a good value assuming people can reliably find a bike when they need one.

All in all the dock less system seems like a step in the right direction. Less overhead with more flexibility (I think?). I’m cautiously optimistic about Biketown.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

One way this could be accomplished is if the system was to allow for smaller sponsorships that would act similar to validated parking.

As an example say a grocer or a restaurant signs up, and they are given a code for a discounted rate which they could pass on or just eat for their customers. Just a simple cupon code system at check out.

Or perhaps they have stations themselves, where bike share arrivals and departures are “validated” within a specific timeframe with a scanned receipt of purchase which could easily be implemented with a cellphone camera and the app.

It’d be a great way for businesses to attract customers, and cut down costs for some of the utility rides for the end users.

Kittens
Guest
Kittens

Very disappointing coverage.

Alain
Guest
Alain

The post says memberships are $10-15/month and provides 90 minutes of ride time per day. Seems affordable enough, just have to purchase a membership. Unless I read that incorrectly?

Alain

Michael Andersen (Contributor)
Editor

That’s correct.

daisy
Guest
daisy

Affordable for people who have money to spare.

Beeblebrox
Guest
Beeblebrox

Much cheaper than a transit pass, or owning/operating a car, or owning/operating a bicycle, or using taxis, or basically any other form of transportation. So what exactly are you comparing it to? Staying home all the time?

Mao
Guest
Mao

I’d be happy if it was bumped up to 120 minutes, just because 2 hours is a nice rounder number

Dwaine Dibbly
Guest
Dwaine Dibbly

I live downtown, so I’m happy about the distribution of stations. If I lived in Irvington or Hollywood I’d be very unhappy.

If you’re downtown, please ride on the sidewalk. Be a minor nuisance (but please don’t hit anyone). The only way we’re going to get decent infrastructure downtown is if there are lots of complaints.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…If you’re downtown, please ride on the sidewalk. Be a minor nuisance (but please don’t hit anyone). …” dibbly

I think your request is bad advice. Bikes ridden on sidewalks, especially in busy areas such as Downtown, can be a major issue for people in need of use of sidewalks for walking, who aren’t sufficiently nimble and fleet of foot to allow them to jump out of the way of badly ridden bikes, skateboards, etc. Yes, in their professional capacity, bike police can and do legally ride their bikes on sidewalks, as needed. That’s the exception.

Riding bikes on sidewalks also is a bad strategy to use to make a case for better infrastructure on the street for biking. Larger numbers of people riding bikes can make the validity of that means of travel far more persuasive when they’re visible using the street, rather than on the sidewalk. Bikes ridden on sidewalks in situations that would cause people walking to be anxious about being hit, is likely to undermine both support and success of bike share in Portland.

Bikes are vehicles, whether they’re personal bikes or bike share bikes. I think it’s going to be very important for people riding BikeTown bikes, and people managing this bike share system, to try present the best possible impression of bike share to the public. If at all possible, please ride your bikes on the street, legally, and not on sidewalks, badly with lack of consideration for people walking, especially where sidewalk riding is prohibited.

maccoinnich
Subscriber

Having another look at the map, the number of stations north of Northrup is really disappointing. That’s an area that’s growing faster than anywhere else in the City*, and which yet has fairly poor transit service. Despite the growth of the area post-recession, TriMet still offers less service in the north part of Northwest / the Pearl than they did 5 years ago. Although not a perfect replacement for transit, serving the area with bike share would really help. Yes, technically it’s in the coverage area but that’s small consolation if you have to pay extra to leave a bike there.

* I easily count over 3,000 residential units & hundreds of thousands of sq ft of new office space planned, under construction or very recently completed.

AJ_Bikes
Subscriber
AJ_Bikes

Really hopeful that Motivate will work out a system where apartments/condos/businesses can pay to get more racks bought and installed in front of their buildings (and PBOT can be willing to work with them to remove the on-street parking needed to accommodate this, like with parklets). If businesses and multi-family buildings could help cover the cost of the docks (and get a small plaque for their logo/phone number/website in return), that could let new sponsorship money (or city money, if/when the program proves successful) focus on buying more bikes and expanding the coverage area.

Kathleen McDade
Guest
Kathleen McDade

I would like Biketown at Gateway Transit Center and along 122nd Avenue.

dan
Guest
dan

daisy
Affordable for people who have money to spare.
Recommended 1

Should it be free?

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I can comment on the Minneapolis system (since I now live there). The pricing allows for 30 free minutes per trip, or 60 free minutes if you become a member. I don’t believe there is limit on the number of trips per day. Realistically (and very much unlike car2go), you can pretty much avoid hourly charges if you’re using the bikes for errands within the service area. You’re really only going to pay if you are doing a longer recreational ride, or doing your errands where there isn’t a dock nearby.

On longer trips, I have been known to park my bike at a dock and run into a store, then check out another bike, specifically to restart the clock on my trip.

I don’t think sidewalk riding will be a huge issue. Our docks are mostly on sidewalks too, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s riding on the sidewalk. Most people still ride in the street if it’s remotely safe to do so – or on the sidewalk if it’s a really busy street without bike lanes, as is sadly still the case on many Minneapolis AND Portland streets.

One thing is that drivers here seem to have become accustomed to seeing the Nice Ride bikes in the streets, and I think give them a bit more leeway since they are often more novice riders. Whether that will happen in Portland’s bikelash environment remains to be seen.

Finally, I have to question the claim in the story that tourists make up a “tiny share” of bikeshare users. I’m pretty sure that Portland, as well as many other bikeshare towns like DC and New York, get more tourists than Minneapolis, but I have the impression that tourists make up a sizeable portion of the ridership even here.