Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Give Input Tonight On Neighborhood Bike Share Stations And Vote On-Line For More Laurelhurst Stations

Bike Share

Puget Sound Bike Share, in partnership with Alta Bicycle Share, is holding a community planning workshops tonight at 6pm at the University Heights Center, Suite 209/210 (5031 University Avenue) as part of their Phase I program area. 

Phase I includes 50 stations and 500 bikes in the U-District including Seattle Children’s as well as South Lake Union, Downtown and Capitol Hill. 

The workshops will "provide an opportunity for the public to learn more about the program’s launch timeline, functionality, installation, ongoing operations, membership, and to weigh in on station locations based on an extensive menu of qualified sites. 
The menu of qualified sites includes 100 potential station sites in the Phase I system area that have been identified and pre-approved based on:
  • Population density and points of interest for residents and tourists
  • Proximity to existing transit infrastructure in order to extend the city’s overall network mass-transit footprint
  • Proximity or frequency of a nearby station in order to create a contiguous service area that can be travelled end-to-end with relative ease and speed
  • Technical feasibility and compliance with City siting guidelines
If you can't attend the meeting, you can submit input via the online mapping tool, to tell PSBS where you think a bike share station would work best.

Currently, PSBS's map shows only one bike "viable" bike station in Laurelhurst at Children's.
Paulo Nunes-Ueno, Children's Director of Transportation, told us that the hospital  contributed half a million dollars to Puget Sound Bike Share to host a station and to provide helmets throughout the system.
He added that even though the station is their property, the station will be located adjacent to the public right of way and most importantly, it will be accessible by the public 24 hours a day 7 days a week.   
"We are looking at putting the station on our side of the sidewalk on Sand Point Way, near the transit stop. We will pour a concrete pad to accommodate the station," he added.
We asked Holly, Executive Director for PSBS why there is only "viable" station planned for all of Laurelhurst and she responded:

The station at Seattle Children’s is indeed an exception to the 1,400 feet rule and it’s placement is solely due to the institution’s long time commitment to bike share and sponsorship of the program.  While we wish we could include more stations in the neighborhood, we are restricted by our budget, which currently affords 50 stations to be spread across the U-District, Capitol Hill, SLU and downtown.  The good news is that our September launch is only Phase I of a larger system, which will expand as quickly as funding and demand allows.
  Some of the proposed bike locations submitted by residents are:
  • Center for Urban Horticulture
  • Laurel Village - UW Student/Family Housing
  • North west side of Laurelhurst Park
Catherine Hennings, a long-time Laurelhurst resident and avid bicyclist who has been attending the bikeshare meetings, told us:
I am very enthusiastic about the program as it as a way to give a much broader group of people access to bikes and an easy, convenient way to get around town without a car. 
However, if the only station close to the neighborhood is at the Seattle Children's entrance at Sand Point, it may have limited benefit to our neighborhood.  But it would still allow many neighbors to walk there and be able to take a bike one way to the light rail station at the UW, for example.  
I think it would be terrific to have a station at the Center for Urban Horticulture, which was proposed by a Laurelhurst neighbor. This station would serve the other side of the neighborhood as compared to the Seattle Children's station and would allow neighbors to take bikes to football games or light rail and connect via the Burke-Gilman trail to other destinations.  
But I am afraid it is going to be a long shot for that station to compete with other locations in the first "round". I think the only possibility is if we could get enough neighbors (50+) to "vote" for it on the bike share website. Right now, it only has 4 votes! 

Here are some comments left last month on the site about Laurelhurst stations: 
It is important to have at least one station in Laurelhurst where the 25 bus has been cut down to once her hour or less
The station could support many people in Laurelhurst where the public transport is already pretty bad. 
This would be a great resource for this neighborhood because of the lack of public transportation

Starting in September 50 bike stations with 500 bikes will be set up around Seattle, coordinated by PSBS, a nonprofit partnership of public and private organizations formed in June 2012 , with equipment provided by Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share, the City website says.
Puget Sound Bike Share's site says that: bike share system is one in which bikes are available on demand to provide fast and easy access for short trips. Their vision is "to provide King County residents and visitors access to a low-cost, fast, flexible, and convenient transportation alternative with economic, social, and environmental benefits to the region."
To submit a suggestion for a bike station go to the map and navigate to the blue station location pins and vote for the ones that are most suitable for a particular area.
Last week it was announced that Alaska Airlines is going to be the major sponsor, and the name of the program will be PRONTO! PSBS swill be unveiling the logo along with the bike color in the next few weeks.
(photo courtesy of PSBS site)


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