The city’s department of transportation is so tickled pink — and orange and yellow and lime green — with floating bike share in Seattle that it wants to double the number of rental bikes it allows in the city.
The Seattle City Council’s transportation committee is set to take up the proposal to double the number of bikes allowed in Seattle along with adding a new fourth provider to the mix Tuesday afternoon.
The proposals made as part of the “Bike Share Annual Permit Recommendations” process would:
- Create a bike share parking area program. We heard loud and clear from residents and business owners that the annual permitting program needs more clarity on where bikes are parked and more overall parking capacity to make sure the bikes are not blocking the public right-of-way, as well as private driveways and building entrances. So we’re recommending the City expand and evolve how it approaches designated parking areas for bike shares. In the short term, we’ll begin with on-sidewalk bike stalls like the ones we piloted in Ballard. Before we move forward on any in-street parking areas, we’ll talk to communities to get their feedback.
- Ensure the bike share program advances equity in every neighborhood in Seattle and is accessible for our lower-income neighbors. We’re recommending the City increases its equity requirements, like requiring all-City coverage, having a plan to reach low-income residents, and providing options to residents who don’t have credit cards or smartphones.
- Allow for more growth to make sure every part of Seattle is being served by the program. We’re proposing to add a fourth company to the pilot and allow up to 20,000 bikes, compared to the existing 10,000.
- Create a proactive compliance and enforcement program. During the pilot, we learned that we need to be more proactive in making sure companies and their customers are complying with the program. That’s why we will require companies to educate their customers on safe riding and parking habits. We’ll have a neutral third party do audits every six months on parking, maintenance, and data. We’ll penalize the companies that fail to comply.
- Increase the permit fee so the program remains no-cost to the City and so can we address the lessons learned in the pilot. We’ll be increasing the permit fee to $250,000 per year, per company.
In June, CHS reported on some of the datasets behind the proposals and findings including a surprisingly high percentage of bikes parked correctly and, less surprisingly, a shockingly low percentage of riders choosing to wear a helmet.
The full SDOT presentation on the new proposals is below.