Bike Share update scheduled for Transportation Commission meeting

Bike share bikes next to bus stopBike share companies have been up and running in Scottsdale since November. The companies use smartphone apps to enable customers to locate a nearby bike, rent it, ride it to a destination, then park and lock it for the next customer. 

The yellow and green bikes have generated a wide range of reactions. For some they're a modern, convenient way to get around the city or connect to public transit. For others, they stand out a little too much or turn up in inconvenient locations. 

The dockless bikes are independently owned and operated and not affiliated with the city. Bike share companies and their customers, like everyone, are required to follow all codes, laws and ordinances. 

The Transportation Department will present information on the first few months of bike share operation at the Transportation Commission meeting 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18. The public is welcome to attend, listen and comment. Meetings are held in the Kiva Forum, 3939 N. Drinkwater Boulevard. Comments can also be submitted via the Transportation Commission online comment form

The bikes are generally popular with users, according to Transportation Director Paul Basha.

"Bike share use in Scottsdale has exceeded bike share use in other Valley cities," said Basha. "Many are taking advantage of this healthy, convenient and environmentally friendly way to visit the wide variety of businesses and amenities Scottsdale offers."

The bikes have the potential to benefit the city in other ways. For example, they're an attractive option for tourists, many of whom come to take advantage of Scottsdale's gold-ratedlinks to external site biking infrastructure.

The bikes also encourage folks to drive less, which can help improve air quality and help alleviate parking congestion, particularly in Downtown Scottsdale. 

Despite these benefits, there have been some negative reactions, mostly about the color and placement of the bikes, according to Scottsdale Transportation Planning and Transit operations manager Lisa Johnson.

"Unfortunately, users do not always consider right of way, wheelchair accessibility or aesthetics when parking a bike," said Johnson. "We welcome and are collecting all feedback in an effort to evaluate the impact of bike share companies on the city."

Before November the city had been exploring ways to bring bike share to Scottsdale, but it had proved too expensive. Earlier bike share technology required bikes to be docked at stations, where customers could rent and return the bikes. 

"A 20 station/200 bike setup would have cost the city -- and ultimately taxpayers -- $1.5 million. That wasn't funded," said Johnson. "The technology eventually advanced to a dockless bike share operated completely by private companies, which requires no public funding and results in lower costs for the customers." 

With the new dockless model, the products are independently owned and operated and not affiliated with the city. Bike share companies and their customers, like everyone, are required to follow all codes, laws and ordinances. 

"If someone had a concern about placement of a bike, it's best to call the bike company directly," said Johnson.

More information about bike share companies, including their contact information, can be found on the Scottsdale Transportation Web page.

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