Idea #28: Bikeshare system

Capital_Bikeshare_station_outside_Eastern_Market_Metro

Washington, D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare has been successful in enabling last-mile connections and easy tourist connections. It has also exceeded expectations in placemaking, remaking many of its station areas into plazas and new public space. (PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons)

Across the country, bikeshare systems are adding to the array of multimodal and diverse public transportation choices while allowing an opportunity for private companies and vendors to capture a new market. In addition, these bicycle rental and subscription services can help to build new urban spaces, diverse and innovative squares, and centers for public life. Even a simple intersection can become a “place,” if enhanced with a bike station, benches, and perhaps curb bulb-outs or other streetscape enhancements.

It’s time for Spokane to join these cities.

Imagine the potential of a bikeshare system with stations in Browne’s Addition, the University District, near Gonzaga University, on Hamilton, in the Garland District, in the South Perry, and in multiple locations downtown. Imagine the potential of being able to grab a bike downtown and ride to grab a pizza at the Elk in Browne’s Addition, then take a Spokane Transit bus home. Imagine the potential of riding from the Garland District to Kendall Yards, and never having to worry about finding a bike rack or carrying a lock. Instead, you can just drop the bike at a station.

And bikeshare would take advantage of our growing bicycle infrastructure in Spokane, including added bike lanes on Main Avenue and other area roads and streets. It could help to grow Spokane’s bicycle culture from niche to mainstream. And that’s something that could benefit us all, through a more active streetscape and a greater availability of alternative commuting options.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: What do you think? Would a bikeshare system work in Spokane? Where would you like to see a station? Do you see bikeshare as a viable option for commuting, or more of an alternative for tourists and convention guests? Share your thoughts in the comments below, on Facebook, on Twitter, or in person. We love to hear from you!

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3 thoughts on “Idea #28: Bikeshare system

  1. Spokane is compact enough that a bike share could open up the idea of bike transportation to a lot of people. The City of Spokane is planning a study and/or a bike share pilot project in the next few years. One major hurdle that is the mandatory bike helmet law in Spokane, and of course hills. Seattle is dealing with it with their bike share – both the hills and the helmets — but they are also struggling to get their usage numbers up to match other bike share cities. No other bike share is in a city with a mandatory helmet law and it is the main reason that Vancouver BC hasn’t implemented one.

    • Could we pass an exception for bicycle sharing services? That might be a way to balance the problem while maintaining the safety component for most riders.

  2. In most European cities you can rent bikes cheaply at hotels, the train stations, and various stores for the equilivant of about $15 a day. You can also rent for several days in some cities. It is a great way for tourists to see the cities and theree are often inexpensive biking tours of major European cities for only about 20 Euros. Bike shops in most cities in the USA rent bikes that are costly to the tourist a this probably due to our legal system. There are popular trails near Orlando, Florida where we rented for $30 for 5 hours but the trails were fabulous and it was such a worthwhile experience. Very similar to the Centennial Trail in concept but all perfectly paved and even much wider with wonderful stations about every 3 or 4 miles featuring rental bike hubs and bike maintenance shops that sold snacks. All stations had modern clean bathrooms, picnic areas,etc. If Spokane would support the Centennial trial and make it even wider with bike shop hubs along the trial then bike tourism might work here too. It would be more seasonal however but in areas like downtown Spokane right along the river or near mile markers number 11 where many families go walking there would be opportunities to have them bike for a day. There are few bike shops along the trail. The Trail of the Coeur D’Alene in Idaho has a great bike shop in Kellog but many miles before you come to it. That shop is on the trial and is always doing business. I am surprised there are no such shops along the Centennial Trail and bikers must know the Spokane area to find shops that are off the trail if they want work done.
    Another problem in Spokane is vandalism and restrooms along the Centennial Trial at Maringo Trail head in Millwood have been vandalized so often one restroom with running water was closed and a portable restroom was put there. I would love to see the bike stations working here in Spokane but foresee problems with vandalism and also our city rules require a helmet. That is different then Europe where legal and health care systems are different. A station here would have to provide helmets too making it more difficult for such a system. The concept of bike stations also works in Europe because of a different mentality about personal liability there emphasizes that people are responsible for their actions and here in the USA if there is an accident insurance companies and attitudes of many want to blame someone other then the individual.

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