Bike-Share Rumors: Portland Leading the Pack

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Bike-sharing in Lyon, France


Bike-share programs are a very hot topic at the Bike Summit. Everyone is aware of how Velib has led to a huge spike in bike ridership in Paris, and they're wondering which U.S. city will be the first to replicate that success. Based on the Q&A session at one panel, "Bicycling in Great American Cities," it seems like Portland is the best bet to get something up and running first.

An audience member asked representatives of DOTs in Boston, Portland, and New York if they're looking into bike-share programs. Boston's Nicole Freedman, who has basically been building a bike program from scratch, answered first: "Absolutely. Everything I've researched says that bike-share is transformative." The two stumbling blocks are liability, which Freedman said can be overcome, and funding. No system has been profitable yet, she noted, so Boston is looking at models that could be profitable.

Roger Geller, Portland's bicycle coordinator, said his city is looking to launch a vendor-operated bike-share system and has put out a request for proposals.

Dani Simons of NYCDOT said bike-share might be on the table once the infrastructure for a safer bike system is in place. Paul Steely White of Transportation Alternatives, who moderated the panel, said he'd like to see a pilot program in the East Village, but that Governors Island was the most likely place to get something set up first. "Nothing has grown cycling as fast as bike-share," he said. "We need to get one off the ground here."

Photo: quosquos/Flickr