Bik-e-town launch puts squeeze on bike parking

Biketown floods the city with orange. But where have all the bike parking racks gone?

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When OB Editor Linda Baker biked to work last week, she was surprised to find that the Southwest Broadway on-street bike-parking rack she’s used for the past couple of years had disappeared.

Her first thought was to blame Portland’s new bikeshare service: Biketown.

In the past week, 100 bright orange, on-street Biketown hubs have been installed in inner city Portland — including one just outside the Oregon Business offices on Southwest Morrison. Those on street hubs have replaced four on street bike parking racks. (As it turns out, Baker’s favorite rack was not one of them; it was removed because of recurring damage, which is another story.)

bike town rack se portland a 07132016Once the service launches July 19, 1,000 Nike-sponsored bikes will flood the parking hubs in commercial and residential neighborhoods around the city. They won’t be hard to miss: the bikes will be Nike florescent orange with a select 100 wrapped to mimic either the Nike Air Max 95, the Nike Air Trainer 1 or the Nike Air Safari.

Biketown was finalized in January, making Portland a relative latecomer (65th in the U.S.) to the bike-share community. But that wasn’t for a lack of trying. The Portland Bureau of Transportation had tried to organize a bike share program for eight years, until Nike agreed to sponsor Biketown to the tune of $10 million.

Willamette Week reports 600 members have signed up for annual passes. The goal is to sell tourists on the program as well.


RELATED STORY: Portland Gets the Bike Share Program it’s Always Wanted

Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Paris, where commuter cycling is gaining in popularity. When the subway was stopped due to a protest, we rented bikes for the afternoon, which made traveling through the city a breeze. 

Biketown bike racks, which are located on the street, do raise questions about existing parking, for bikes and cars. The racks have drawn the ire of homeowners who are concerned about the loss of parking.  

And as our editor discovered, Portlanders who commute on their own bikes — a number that exceeds that of any other city — may now find it a tad more difficult to find a parking space.