City officials work to bring bike share program to Spokane

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

SPOKANE, Wash. – The City of Spokane is making progress in its plans for a bike share program but there is still a way to go before its launch.

Seattle launched its bike share program back in July. Many say its system created a frenzy in the bike share market and changed how bike share programs look. Users can rent a bike, then when they are done, they can leave the bike on any public sidewalk or city bike rack as long as they are not blocking driveways or entry ways. 

After a while, bikes began to pile up in odd places. It is now a common complaint with Seattle's bike share program. As the city of Spokane narrows down its search for a bike share program consultant, it is hoping to create its own program that applies lessons learned from Seattle.

"People parking them right in the middle of the side walk or in front of an ADA ramp, or other places that are inconvenient places for the rest of the public,” said Spokane Public Works engineer Brandon Blankenagel. 

The city will have to decide if it will use a docked system where you return bikes to a kiosk or a dockless system like in Seattle where you can park your bike just about anywhere. Some of the possible hub locations where those bikes could be returned to include Riverfront Park and right here in the University District. If the city decides to go with the dockless system, it could try to address clutter concerns by creating parking areas that would prevent bikes being parked in inconvenient places.

"So if you highlight these areas for parking, and then perhaps there's a discounted fee if you park in the good areas--so we reward good behavior and then we help reduce the clutter that might come up with having a bunch of bikes on the ground," Blankenagel said. 

City officials said they hope to near a finalized version of how its bike share program will operate by the end of 2018.