These are dark times for the old Biketown bikes. Once celebrated, they’ve been relegated to a cold corner of a city-owned storage area. While the new electric-assist bikes gather attention and adoring fans, the 1,000 or so old bikes just gather dust.
While they weren’t integrated into the new system, the old bikes have lots of mileage left in them and it would be a shame (and a PR debacle) if they ended up in a scrap heap. If the City of Portland has their way, the bikes will see action again someday.
Back in August we wondered what their future would be. Now we’ve heard a bit of an update.
Steve Hoyt-McBeth, the PBOT staffer in charge of the bike share program, was asked about the old bikes at a meeting of the Bicycle Advisory Committee last week. He said the city is working with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) in getting bikes to other cities in Oregon that want bike share in their communities.
Why work with ODOT? If you recall, the original orange bikes were purchased with a $2 million federal grant approved in 2011. ODOT is the administrator of federal transportation funds and as such, they must follow specific rules around property purchased with it.
Asked recently to clarify or confirm Hoyt-McBeth’s remarks at the committee meeting, PBOT’s spokesperson Dylan Rivera said, “We’re looking at a variety of options, including public entities that may want to use the bikes. This includes the potential for making them available to other communities in Oregon. ODOT has been great to work with, but we think it will be a while before we have any news on this.”
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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