The iconic orange BIKETOWN bike-share program is poised to expand its service area and place new docking stations in underserved areas. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is conducting a survey to evaluate service area boundaries and analyze where new stations are needed. Participation in this outreach program can influence the availability of short-term bicycle rentals within Montavilla and the outer Eastside.
Last September, BIKETOWN’s service area expanded by 13 square miles to include Montavilla. Launched in July 2016, the original program made 1,000 bikes available in Central Portlands. Recent changes to the program electrified the fleet of bikes, making them more accessible to riders of all skill levels. There are now 1,500 electric pedal-assist bikes serving a larger area. When combined with TriMet’s transportation network, the e-bikes from Lyft allow Portlanders to travel throughout the city without the need to own a vehicle.
PBOT anticipates expanding the program 25 percent by the end of the year, taking the current 32 square mile service area up to 40 square miles. Private funding for the program primarily comes from Nike. Its initial $10 million investment sponsored the system’s first five years of operation. An additional $8 million sponsorship from Nike will fund the program through September 2025.
Availability of BIKETOWN docking stations increases visitors to commerce corridors in the city. They make car-free travel to an area easy to plan and alleviate parking congestion. Tourists often use short-term bicycle rentals to explore the city, making the placement of docking stations essential to identifying areas of interest. In addition to the survey, PBOT will engage local organizations seeking their input on where docking stations could best support communities.
Since September 2020, BIKETOWN has installed nearly 30 new stations across the city, with the majority being in North and East Portland. The survey results should help place new stations in areas currently underserved by bike infrastructure and services. Even if you have not used the program, participation in the survey could augment the service to better fit your future needs. Sharing your regional knowledge of streets and activity centers will support the effective placement of docking stations in the neighborhood.