The City of Portland keeps making Biketown better. The service area map of the electric bike rental system will expand up to eight miles before the end of this year; and the city’s adaptive bike program now offers 27 bikes, including two new foot-powered off-road trikes.
The larger service area and new adaptive bikes are part of founding sponsor Nike’s $18 million partnership with the Portland Bureau of Transportation. Last year Nike funding helped the system expand into east and north Portland, adding 13 square miles to its range and 500 bikes to the fleet.
PBOT hasn’t formally announced the expansion yet, but a staffer is set to address the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee on June 8th. Asked to confirm the news, PBOT Communications Director John Brady said the new service area will expand even further north and east into, “areas of the city that have been historically underserved by bike infrastructure and services.”
In addition to feedback garnered at next week’s meeting, PBOT will release an online survey and reach out to community groups to make sure the new stations go in the right places. This expansion keeps PBOT on track to boost their rental fleet to 3,000 bikes across a 40-square mile area by 2024.
A larger service area comes as Biketown rides are rebounding since a huge drop during the pandemic. According to recent data, there were 35,590 rides on the Month of May. That’s about 6,300 fewer than May 2019. This past Memorial Day weekend was the highest usage weekend since the e-bikes were introduced in September 2020 with over 2,000 trips per day (on Saturday and Sunday).
“Ridership is still below pre-pandemic levels,” said Brady. “But we take it as a good sign that we are closing in on pre-Covid 19 ridership since many of our weekday rides were work and school-related.”
In related news, PBOT has boosted their Adaptive Biketown fleet from 20 to 27 bikes and trikes. This program is available to people with disabilities on a reservation basis through a partnership with Kerr Bikes (located on the Eastbank Esplanade near OMSI). Among the new bikes are off-road trikes: “The Sun Seeker E Fat Tad is an electric assist fat tire tadpole tricycle capable of taking on more rugged terrain and extending your ride off the beaten path and away from busy roads,” reads a PBOT statement.
PBOT is also hosting another Adaptive Cycling Resource Fair (the last one was in 2016). Set for June 26th from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, the event is hosted in partnership with Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon and Kerr Bikes. Here’s more from PBOT:
Anyone is who is interested in learning more about adaptive cycling is welcome. Kerr Bikes/Adaptive BIKETOWN will be closed to the public on the day of the event. The event will feature exhibitors, short education sessions from cycling experts, and free fittings and test rides with Adaptive BIKETOWN. Click here to check out the event details, register, and reserve a test ride in advance.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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This is good, although unfortunately not meeting what was meant to happen with the new BIKETOWN system. Per the RFP the goals were to “expand the number of bicycles, that provide a high level of access throughout the City’s municipal boundaries” and to “incorporate adaptive bicycles into the BIKETOWN fleet for on-street, on-demand rental as part of the overall system”.
I was going to say… if adaptive bikes are available only by reservation, that’s an additional obstacle for disabled people that is not there for able-bodied people.
“incorporate adaptive bicycles into the BIKETOWN fleet for on-street, on-demand rental as part of the overall system” – this is a very noble (and appropriate goal) from a civic policy standpoint.
BUT operationally…how to reach it at this stage of BSS development. The question is can the equipment manufacturers of such systems effectively incorporate the variety of adaptive bikes needed to meet the user needs into the existing dock system for a true “on-demand” system (I don’t have the answer.) Luckily Portland’s “dumb dock” type station may make it easier/ more flexible than say the PBSC or B-Cycle parking mechanism to provide this type of broader service access by physically different (3rd party) bike formats.
Now as a next step would Portland set aside 5% or 10% or x% of docks to for adaptive bike parking only (similar ADA stalls)?
Before assuming what people with disabilities want, it’s good to actually ask them. And my recollection is that the city consulted with folks on this and the result was the current system.
“City of Portland keeps making BikeTown better” I feel like this would be a more accurate statement if you you replaced “keeps” with “is”.
My biggest gripe with BikeTown is the loss of the CEIC super hub.
My second biggest gripe is the loss of the more-economical non-electric bike options.
Don’t get me wrong, the use of electric bikes could be a real game changer and the increase in the number of bikes and service area are great. But will BikeTown’s service area every make it up to the Nation of St. Johns?
PS> Great news about the expansion Portland. (I loved the new Biketown bike vs its previous model …and even compared to Seattle’s new e-bikes.)
I miss the old membership with free minutes and the ability to park anywhere. It made it super easy and spontaneous. I know ebikes come with more expensive upkeep but I wish they’d have a plan like they used to for a couple bucks more per month.
There’s Biketown For All which is only $5/month and comes with $20 in ride credits each month. I have no idea if you qualify but I wanted to mention it for anyone reading who’s on unemployment, OHP, SNAP, has a Trimet honored citizen hop card, or participates in other low income programs.