Portland gives green light to bike-sharing program

A Portland bike-sharing service moved closer to reality Wednesday when the city council gave the green light to find a private-sector business to run it.

A Portland bike-sharing service moved closer to reality Wednesday when the city council gave the green light to find a private-sector business to run it.

Portland City Council authorized the Bureau of Transportation to solicit proposals for a company to operate a bike-sharing system in Portland with a goal to have it up and running by next spring.

The bike-share system will allow for short-term, point-to-point bike rentals. The project is funded by a $2 million federal transportation grant that was awarded last December.

"Bike share will be a great addition to North America’s most bike-friendly city," Mayor Sam Adams said in a statement. "It’s a simple, attractive alternative to making quick trips by car."

Adams said that Portland has been watching other bike-share systems in cities like Washington, D.C., and Denver to see how they've operated before moving forward with one in Portland.

Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share Inc. was selected last year to run a bike-share program in New York. The company, a division of Alta Planning & Design, is also pursuing the bike-share business in Seattle, San Francisco and Vancouver, British Columbia and is a likely bidder on the Portland system.

Portland's transportation department reports there are 16 bike-share systems up and running in the U.S. with another 14 in the planning stages.

The department launched a website, www.pdxbikeshare.com, this week to collect input from the public on where to locate bike-share stations.

The formal request for proposal for the bike-share system is expected to be ready by the end of the week.

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