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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Surprise! Bike share not working as planned in Chicago and NYC

At the moment, it's just startup troubles, but there will likely be problems for this absurd Portland product all along the way.

Comments (4)

“Gaaully” Surprise surprise surprise! Two million of Portland’s share of Federal Transportation Dollars down the drain and the high tech part proves fickle in other US cities. One thing for sure, the Fed, Metro and PBOT definitely knows how to waste taxpayer funded transportation dollars. Saltzman voted for this gumball project only if NO city money was involved. One wonders if that will hold true. It is doubtful. The City will likely be providing something; if not dollars, something else such as free rental space, no permit fees or whatever, transparent or not. The taxpayers have been/will be taken for an unwarranted costly ride!

Bike share is awesome. Seriously. Don't knock it until you try it. It works really smoothly with little vandalism or theft. I was surprised at how well it works and you will be too. The kind of short trips modern bike sharing works for is so much better/cheaper/ faster than what cars or streetcars can do.

I'm not a fan of the way Portland leaders raided federal funds meant for underserved areas for bike share funds, but the general idea is sound.

Fort Worth just announced the start of its bike share system last month, and Dallas hipsters are now whining about when we're going to get one as well. What's conveniently forgotten is (a) Fort Worth is currently flush with revenues from the big Barnett Shale natural gas boom, and (b) we hit 108 degrees yesterday. With the first, having watched plenty of similar booms and busts in my time here, I know Fort Worth can subsidize the whole system now, but what happens when the Barnett runs dry, the fracking proponents leave for the next boom town, and the city is stuck having to pay for the whole system? With the second, I'm an avid bicyclist and have been for most of my life, and I'm not stupid enough to try biking in 108-degree weather. Considering that I'm already acclimated to Texas summer heat and I wouldn't do this, is Fort Worth ready for the lawsuits when some twit unprepared for summer in North Texas decides to use bikeshare and drops dead from heat shock three blocks down the road?

Extreme heat? Expect some amusing exploding tire episodes as unsuspecting riders bail at a Starbucks for a cold drink, park the bikes with fully inflated tires in the blazing sun or baking heat and return to find that the laws of physics have been at work. Time to walk back to the bikeshare kiosk where, hopefully, the software is working.

("You canna change the laws of physics, laws of physics, laws of physics!")

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