So it comes as no shock that they’re getting in on the bike share revolution, joining other cities like Washington D.C., Boston and recently, New York City, in reducing the dependency on fossil-fueled vehicles.
On March 14, the Portland City Council submitted a request for proposal to find a bike vendor for the bike share program. While many Portlanders already own bikes, the bike share system allows citizens to pick up a bike when they need it (think aching feet after running the city’s many paths) and return it when they’re done, all for a small fee. The system is expected to start operating by 2013.
“Bike share will be a great addition to North America’s most bike-friendly city. It’s a simple, attractive alternative to making quick trips by car,” Portland Mayor Sam Adams says in a statement on the Portland Bureau of Transportation website. “We’ve waited to see what these cities learned from their own bike share launches and are confident a private sector partner can be successful in Portland.”
In 2008, the city spent eight months reviewing potential vendors, but ultimately decided to scrap the idea thanks to funding issues. In late 2011, the city was granted a $2 million award to fund the program.
According to the Portland Bureau of Transportation, bike share programs in Minneapolis and Denver have reduced the number of drive-alone trips and increased the use of bikes.
This isn’t the first time the City of Roses has attempted a bike share system. In 1994, environmental advocates started the Yellow Bike Project, which unleashed a number of bikes on the streets without a system to get them back. Ultimately, the program failed due to vandalism and theft. The city also continues to provide secondhand bikes to low income and disadvantaged people as a way to get to job training with the Create a Commuter program.