The future of bike share programs in the Puget Sound region may not be limited to Seattle, rather, companies are aiming to expand across Lake Washington — maybe further.
Bellevue is considering allowing private bike share companies to operate within its boundaries. This is similar to what Seattle is testing with three different companies, including Spin, Limebike, and ofo. Currently, those who use the services are confined to Seattle city limits.
“A healthy subset of our riders travel between neighboring cities (such as Seattle and Bellevue),” said Derrick Ko, CEO of Spin. “… our goal is to provide a seamless system for the entire Seattle metropolitan area.”
Ko confirmed that Spin is looking to bring its bright orange bikes into Bellevue:
Yes, we are very interested in operating in Bellevue — in fact, it’s one of the top requests we’ve gotten thus far from our user base. We look forward to working closely with governments in neighboring cities to extend our service area throughout the region. We have had preliminary talks with the Bellevue, and we’re excited that they have taken this step forward.
A City of Bellevue spokesperson confirmed that Limebike has spoken with the city about expanding there as well. The city has not officially embraced any program yet.
“Over the coming months, Bellevue staff plan to meet with business groups and other organizations as part of broad engagement with the community to consider how to make downtown a comfortable, safe, and attractive place for people to bike,” said Andreas Piller with the Bellevue Transportation Department. “This will include consideration of whether, when, and how to permit privately-run bike share and options for introducing the first high-comfort bikeway to Downtown through a demonstration bikeway project.”
Eastside bike share
An Eastside bike share system is not a new concept. In 2016, Redmond spearheaded a feasibility study to test the potential during a time when Seattle was dealing with its now-failed Pronto program. Redmond, Bellevue, Kirkland, and Issaquah were all aiming for some form of a shared system, a City of Redmond spokesperson said at the time.
Bellevue is hosting an informational bike-share event at its city hall on Sept. 27 that is a collaboration with King County and “partner jurisdictions” Redmond, Kirkland, and Issaquah.
It is all in line with Ko’s statement that Spin aims to work with “neighboring cities” — not just singling out Bellevue — for expanded service “throughout the region.”
The Eastside interest comes as the 520 Bridge bike trail is expected to come online, connecting Seattle with Bellevue and providing a direct connection for the bike share rides. The 520 Bridge bike trail is slated for a fall opening, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. The floating I-90 bridge also has a bike lane that connects Seattle with the Eastside.