Will FoPo and outer Southeast get a slice of Bike Share’s pie?

Just two days after the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) launched its new Bike Share website, an interactive site aiming to inform, engage, and seek input from its viewers, the city council formally approved PBOT to seek proposals from private bike share vendors.  This will allow PBOT to use $2 million in Regional Flexible Funds awarded to them through Metro’s grant program for a future public/private partnership to bring a bike share system to the city.

While the thought of spending $2 million on a bike share program in a city where most already own bikes was controversial in some circles, the future system will further increase our bicycle capacity, as well as put us on par with cities, such as Denver and Washington, D.C., who already boast of similar programs.

But with many Portlanders already owning bikes, how does this effect us?  While it’s obvious a future bike share system will cater heavily to tourists seeking a taste of Portland’s bike culture in and around the city’s central core, it’s possible, too, that a network of bikes and bike stations could further connect the city’s various neighborhoods.  With thanks to Nick Falbo for originally pointing this out to us, you can use PBOT’s new website to propose station locations for the future bike share system.  This means you have a voice, and if the city’s paying attention, your advocacy could help include FoPo or other outer SE neighborhoods in the bike share network.  By simply zooming in on the site’s map, you can use a virtual pin to locate desired bike stations.  This application also allows you to leave a comment, so you can make your case for why a particular location makes sense.

Due to Foster’s diagonal spread across multiple SE neighborhoods, it would make sense to locate a station somewhere in our vicinity, especially as you consider the growth potential of Foster-Powell, Mt. Scott-Arleta, and the Lents Town Center.  The interactive option on PBOT’s site also allows you to give feedback on other proposed locations, as well as recommend someone else’s suggestion.  There are already several proposed sites along Foster and on nodes that connect us to the surrounding neighborhoods.  For example, one proposed site on SE 64th puts a station in the “Heart of Foster.”

While it’s hard to imagine tourists biking all the way out to our neck of the woods, there are certainly reasons to think connecting us to the rest of the city via bike share would make sense.  It would open our neighborhood to the casual rider, but it could also promote biking in an area that may not yet boast of the same ridership numbers as other close-in neighborhoods.  If you’re interested in bringing bike share to the Foster corridor, we recommend you explore PBOT’s site.  Leave your comments and make suggestions of your own, too.

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