Pronto Cycle Share launched in Seattle in October and racked some solid numbers by the end of 2014, garnering 43,010 miles logged by bike renters. However, the lack of overall city coverage seems to have hindered just how much Seattleites can rely on the bikes, knowing that if they go too far in one direction, there won't be any stations to park at. Seattle wants to change that and they want to change it ASAP. The city has proposed increasing Pronto's service area from five square miles to 42 square miles, reaching as far north as Northgate, far south as Rainier Beach and far west as Alki. Right now, stations only stretch from U-District to Pioneer Square.
That's an increase of stations from 50 to 250, which would put 62 percent of Seattle within walking distance of one. Also included in this audacious plan is the inclusion of electric assisted bikes. The plan also calls for half-priced memberships for students and deeply discounted memberships for qualifying low-income individuals. The expansion would also create 35-40 new jobs.
So how will this $18 million plan come to fruition? Seattle wants to fund the expansion with the help of a Federal TIGER grant, which they submitted an application for last week. Motivate, which operates Pronto, would kick in $3 million of their own.
This grant application also includes a funding request for the Northgate bike/walk bridge, which has been at standstill for some time now after failing to receive grant funding last year.
If the grant is approved and the plan moves forward, new stations could be placed as soon as 2016 with everyone being fully operational by 2017. Seattle Bike Blog has much more info on the proposal and it's potential impact on the region.
· City proposes 'massive' Pronto Cycle Share expansion [SBB]
· 43,010 miles biked + List of the most popular stations [SBB]
· Iconic Bike/Walk Bridge Designs Could Remake Northgate [CS]