Pronto, Seattle’s bike share program, is going away. It’s closing on March 31. That’s the bad news for its fans and users. The good news is that you can sign up for the time remaining for only $10. That’s about one latte a month.
Bike sharing seems like such an obvious program to provide in Seattle. Despite hills and rain, the city has been known for its cycling community for decades. An extensive network of bike paths, trails, routes, and lanes make Seattle much more accessible than most cities. Seattle drivers are relatively more accepting of cyclists than they are in other cities. Almost every city that has begun such a program has met with success.
Why did Pronto fail here? Welcome to a debate that will continue until a bike share program does succeed here. Unfortunately, that may have to wait until political amnesia sets in.
One way to shorten the time is to create more advocates, fans, and users before the bikes go away.
As SeattleBikeBlog reported, of the $5M allocated for the program’s expansion;
“About $3 million of the funds will go to Safe Routes to School and other 2017 biking and walking projects in the downtown area, including bike lanes on 4th Ave, planning for bike lanes on Pike and/or Pine, and accessible curb cuts in Pioneer Square.“
Seattle isn’t giving up on bicycling and pedestrians. Walking and cycling are wonderful solutions for city planners because the people provide the power and manage their use without great debates. Shared bicycles connect inevitable gaps in mass transit, and don’t require ever-expanding bike racks on buses or in trains.
Bike sharing may be back someday. For now, the official funds go elsewhere. If you haven’t tried it yet, now’s the time. For $10 you can find out what everyone will be debating the next time the topic comes up.