Portland, The City that Works, Cancels Contract Review for Rental Bikes

Let me get this straight. Portland has been working for eight months to identify a provider for a rental fleet of 500 bicycles. The bikes could be rented from kiosks, ridden where the rider wanted to go, and returned to another kiosk. What could be simpler? We already have the bike lanes, a relatively bike-friendly city, and a relatively bike-friendly populace.

But, the City that Works isn’t working. The kinks, whatever they are, must be worked out. Shoshanah Oppenheim, City Commissioner Sam Adams’ liaison for transportation issues, said, “We want to avoid as many pitfalls as possible.”

So, after only 8 months of thinking about this, the City that Works is confused. How could we pay for this program? Where would all the kiosks be located? Would they be self-serve kiosks? Would the bikes get stolen? Oh dear — so many questions and so few answers.

Here are the facts:

Paris has 20,600 bicycles and 1,450 kiosks installed in its Velib bike rental system. 130,000 people use them every single day.

How can this possibly be? Aren’t there kinks to be worked out? Logistics to pore over? Pricing plans to consider? Theft issues? Kiosk location issues? Traffic pattern concerns? Safety? Oh me, oh my!

Goodness — this is way too complicated to actually put into place. Let’s cancel all the bids, shelve the whole idea, discuss the pros and cons from time to time, rethink all our thinking, pose some “what ifs”, put things on the back burner, spend some more taxpayer dollars determining that we can’t possibly do what Paris has done (I mean, who could?) and, after a couple hundred thousand dollars or more, simply CALL IT QUITS.

I just love the City that Works!