The Corvallis system launched last summer, and it's worth a little discussion.
Here are some excerpts from an ODOT summary of it:
Before BikeTown launched in Portland in July, Corvallis became the second community in Oregon to launch a public bikeshare system. Jackson County started its program in 2015.The close involvement of healthcare and the local MPO is remarkable. It would be interesting if Salem Health and SKATS/MWVCOG, or a similar group, emerged in Salem. (The Lund Report has more on it as a health initiative aimed at Medicaid clients.)
Corvallis’ bikeshare program, Pedal Corvallis, rolled into town on June 30 thanks to a collaboration between several community partners, including the region’s Medicaid provider – the InterCommunity Health Network Coordinated Care Organization (IHN-CCO) – and the Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments (OCWCOG), a regional planning and service-delivery agency that covers Benton, Lincoln, and Linn Counties.
|Station at Good Sam in Corvallis - via OCWCOG|
(But is that convenient location?)
There are 6 stations and 35 bikes throughout town. Station locations are:Corvallis of course has fareless transit and a very large population of college students. But the six stations are not very closely spaced, and really appear oriented towards the CCO members. It's not obvious that the stations are really very convenient for the general public. Do you go to a clinic first, traveling by bus or something, and then get on the bikeshare? The stations seem to be located at trip end or trip middle rather than trip start. As a system, distinct from it as any emblem of bikeyness or urbane cool, it doesn't appear all that functional. Maybe the integration with transit is key and better than it appears on the surface, even with stations not more than two blocks from a transit stop. But it just looks like it requires too much trip planning to use in an easy, convenient, frictionless way.
The bikes are equipped with front and rear lights, a basket, and a U -lock. Helmets are being provided free to a limited number of IHN-CCO members. The system also includes 2 trikes, to accommodate loads such as groceries or laundry, as well as for the benefit of participants who may have balance challenges. All Pedal Corvallis stations are located within two blocks of a Corvallis Transit System stop or closer.
- Downtown Transit Center, 5th Street and Monroe Avenue • Oregon State Credit Union, 1980 NW 9th Street
- Lincoln Health Center, 121 SE Viewmont Avenue
- Benton County Health Department, 530 NW 27th St.
- Osborn Aquatic Center, 1940 NW Highland Drive
- SamFit / Samaritan Square, 777 NW 9th Street #310
An annual Pedal Corvallis membership costs $25, a month pass costs $10, and a 3-day pass costs $5. Trips up to 2 hours are free at all membership levels. The program is open to anyone age 18 and older, and membership is free for IHN-CCO members.
So what are the real prospects for Salem?
Two young people working in the healthcare sector want to bring it here.
Jenna and Evan Osborne have started Osborne Adventures for a venture with a working name of Capitol City Cycleshare.
The Osborne Adventures/Capitol City Cycleshare concept at the moment seems to be aimed more at tourism than as an extension of public transit or a health initiative.
Most recently, Evan and I have been working toward bringing a bike share to our home town of Salem, Oregon!But Salem is nothing like these cities, and the hugeness of ambition here may not be queuing things up for an actually achievable success in Salem.
On one of our travels to Minneapolis, Minnesota several years ago, bike-share programs were discovered. Our experience in MN led to travel goals of riding bike shares around the world. The major cities of Paris, London, Amsterdam, New York, Chicago, and Miami are some of the bike-sharing opportunities we have enjoyed.
From that first experience in MN, the founding members of Osborne Adventures made a wish that such program would come to the city of Salem. That wish is becoming a reality. Salem’s bike-share program is around the corner! Planning is still in the early stages with the city and bike program, but we are anticipating a mid-spring launch!
More writing and thinking about the Corvallis system, and less about London and Paris, might be salutary at this point.
To be honest, Salem has seemed like a stretch for bikeshare still. Answers on the practical details about where to put stations, who will find them convenient and who will use them, and whether city streets are welcoming enough have seemed elusive yet. Willamette University, Chemeketa Community College, the Capitol Mall (especially during the summer Legislative session), and the Minto-Riverfront-Wallace Park system have seemed like logical places with potential demand. But would there be enough demand in an on-going way for a sustainable business? Will there be enough stations and close enough spacing that they are easy to use?
On the other hand, it would be so great if bikeshare was actually viable!
If bringing bike share to Salem is something that fires your imagination, go connect with Osborne Adventures and see how you can help. Even if it didn't work, it could be a noble failure, something worth failing on, and a project that would bring other ancillary benefits for walking and biking and transit.
(This isn't something I've been following closely. Yeah, the stance here is a little "concern-troll-y" and that's one reason why we haven't been chasing after this story. Better to let it develop than to hover over it with skepticism or nay-sayerey, right?)
|Northwest Hub at Market and Broadway|
(Totally ready for some sun again!)
Want to help our newest neighbors in need of transportation this #givingtuesday? We're experiencing a significant increase in bicycle commuter package requests and seeking support to purchase refugee resettlement families the following: $20 will purchase a refurbished children's bike. $50 will purchase a helmet, lights, fenders and u-lock for a ressettlement commuter.Update, December 4th
The article is out and here's some more detail:
The couple’s plan calls for 50 bikes at 10 spots around Salem, though other Zagster locations in Oregon each have less than 40 bikes.The Corvallis membership numbers really underscore the problem: According to the Lund Report piece, the Council of Governments invested about $100k in the program. That's a little over $1,000 per member, each of whom is taking on average a little over 10 trips in the 5 months it's been going - two measly trips/month.
But they need money to make it happen.
In anticipation of a mid-Spring opening, the Salem nonprofit has applied for city and state grants and recently sent out flyers to advertise tax-deductible sponsorships, with annual options that range from $250 to $10,000 each. Some of those options include getting a business' name on the bikes, an advertising incentive....
[For comparison] As of last Wednesday, [the Corvallis] program had 968 total trips, according to Campi, with 88 active members.
In order to achieve efficiencies of scale and to enjoy real network benefits, a bike share system really needs to be bigger than 5 or 10 stations with 30, 40, or 50 bikes. We should not want a system whose members take two trips per month.
By comparison $1,000 donated to the Hub would go much farther and would provide bikes and support for several people.
Maybe there's a path to successful bike share program in Salem, but I'm just not seeing it.
But, again, if you see a path, go help the Osbornes! Make it happen! - because it would be so great to be wrong on this.