|Capitol City Cycleshare using the Bend system|
Capitol City Cycleshare* says they have raised about half of the $80,000 they want right now, and leveraging a bit of City seed money could help finish things. (They are crowd-funding a $10,000 chunk as well.) The grant is intended to cover five years. So the investment then is $600 a year.
|This gleaming chunk of sheetmetal cost $25,000+|
Relative to an office building that was already a sure thing, to our new public art program, and to paying off the river boat, bike share is a far more worthy risk! In broad terms, this small investment should be a no-brainer.
|Travel Salem's downtown bike route "took us on busy streets"|
and "we walked our bikes on the sidewalk"
At the same time as Council is making this investment - assuming they do - Council should redouble efforts for protected bike lanes downtown, to make a system inviting for prospective bike share users.
Right now, outside of the path system in Minto, Riverfront, and Wallace Parks, there's not a good network of routes for infrequent cyclists. And given the number of people walking on those paths, it's not clear that we want to shunt a good deal of bike traffic onto them.
|Salem scored very poorly on Places for Bike's Network Analysis|
Council should have an interest in a bike share system, and Council should also have an interest in positioning it for success.
To give a small grant, do little more, and then turn around and wonder why it's taking so long or it shows a small number of riders would not be fair.
Council should consider a follow-on plan, with measurable goals and parallel municipal investment in other facilities, in order to maximize the chances for success. The interesting question is not "will it succeed?" but "what would it take to make sure it succeeds?" Don't hang it out to dry.
Even though this a small proposed investment - or perhaps even driving the fact that this is such a small proposed investment - associated with Third Bridge advocacy there is the rumbling of a deeper bikelash here.
You have already seen the way the proposal to purchase a different segment of the Marine Drive right-of-way was mischaracterized as a proposal for a "bike path to nowhere."
With that came sentiment about a "giant agenda to force people to ride bikes" and a lot of other criticism of people who bike and of bike mobility.
A post on the new buffered bike lanes on High and Church attracted a great deal of criticism for the lanes and the people who use it (and here, kids who remained on the sidewalk and did not use the lanes).
|"they do not want to share the road"|
In all seriousness, this is something to watch.
* And if it's not too late, consider "Capital City Cycleshare" instead?
For previous notes on bike share and the Capitol City Cycleshare project see here.