After a substantial amount of waiting, Portland, Oregon, will soon be home to its first major bikesharing program — with the launch of the recently expanded (before it was even launched) “Biketown” service now slated for July.
As you may have heard, the new bikesharing program is being sponsored by Nike (to the tune of $10 million) — which means there’s a fair amount of money behind the project, and hence the viability of the recent pre-launch expansion.
At launch, the service will feature 100 stations and 1,000 bicycles — a roughly 66% bigger program than was initially put forward.
Bike Portland provides some more information:
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 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.
…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% 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 Biketown program can be utilized either by the 30-min block ($2.50), or through an annual pass that provisions 90 minutes of “free” travel a day (for $10-15/month).