With New Sponsor, Seattle's Bike Share Program Finally Set To Launch In September
It’s official: Seattle’s much-anticipated bike share program will launch with 500 bikes in September, thanks to a $2.5 million grant from Alaska Airlines.
City officials unveiled the plan for the program, called "Pronto! Emerald City Cycle Share," on Monday.
Holly Houser, executive director of what was previously known as Puget Sound Bike Share, admits the planning process has been a bit of a bumpy ride, with their bike supplier going bankrupt in January and a dearth of sponsorships delaying a spring launch. But now Seattle is joining hundreds of other cities around the country, providing a network of kiosks where you can pick up or drop off a bike.
“And now [that] we actually have a launch date that we can say — at the end of September, we will for sure be launching,” Houser said.
The idea is to provide convenient connections for that last mile of a commute or for short trips between 50 stations that will soon go up in the University District, South Lake Union, Downtown and Capitol Hill.
“We have determined a number of viable locations for those stations. But we are now going out to the public for input in terms of how we whittle those down and what end up being our final station locations,” Houser said.
Seattle’s is the first bike share program in the country in a place with a local law requiring helmets. Those will be available at kiosks as well for an extra $2 fee. Seattle’s bikes will have seven speeds that are specially calibrated to handle the city’s hills, as well as fenders that show off the Alaska Airlines logo and protect riders from the rain.