On Pronto! bike share program, we’re owed an apology (and $1.4 million)

Jan 17, 2017, 6:17 AM

Ahead of the long weekend, Mayor Ed Murray quietly killed the epic failure known as the Pronto! bike share program, hoping he’d get hit with limited blowback.
Murray, and a majority of the Seattle City Council (in particular, Mike O’Brien), owe Seattle voters an apology and $1.4 million.

Despite knowing that a statistically insignificant number of people used the Pronto! bike share program, the city council voted 7-2 to spend $1.4 million of your tax dollars to purchase the lemon. No one had faith that the bike-share program would work, including bicycle activists (after all, they didn’t even use it); not even Seattle Department of Transportation bike leaders signed up for Pronto!

Related: Ethics investigation launched into SDOT director over Pronto bike share

Everyone knew this was a horrific investment, made especially worse given the city complaints that they’re underfunded in addressing the homelessness crisis.

But people like Councilmember O’Brien pushed hard to save Pronto! because of his ideological affinity for bike-share programs. These bike activists did what they could to excuse away the poor membership numbers (which Pronto! seemingly lied about). They blamed helmet laws, claimed there just weren’t enough Pronto! stations, and bellyached that if only we had more bike lanes, the ridership would come!
But we knew that was nonsense. It failed because the people most likely to utilize bikes were people who already owned them.

Yet we threw money at the problem hoping it would get better. We’re owed that money back.

Related: More people vandalize Pronto! bikes than ride them

What’s so troublesome is carelessness that this bad decision was made. O’Brien, for instance, told me he “spent an inordinate amount of my time on Pronto!…” He admits the time he spent on this, in relation to the SPD precinct that he helped block, was “disproportionate.” For that, he owes you and me an apology.
It’s really easy to spend other people’s money; so easy, you write $1.4 million checks on a bike-share program no one used.

Not everyone deserves to be criticized on this. In particular, Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Lisa Herbold deserve applause. Perhaps, more so, Herbold who took an unpopular opinion with her Progressive voter base. She put the city ahead of ideologues. Maybe O’Brien and Murray should take note.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Jason Rantz

Rantz: WA Dept of Health defends mocking a death, then censors critic

WADOH mocked the death of a Washingtonian in a tone-deaf tweet. After criticism, the department triple-downed on the message.
1 day ago
police pursuit...
Frank Sumrall

Redmond’s new police tech working in tandem with WA pursuit laws

Redmond police have introduced a new GPS-monitoring technology to help track and locate criminals attempting to flee a crime scene.
1 day ago
Decatur High School...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: High School staffer faces investigation for alleged sex with student

A high school staff member is on leave pending the results of a police investigation. He's accused of having sexual contact with a student.
1 day ago
elementary school club...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Elementary school bans white students from ‘safe space’ club

A local elementary school has a student club that excludes students based on their race, according to a parent.
2 days ago
Frank Sumrall

State Rep: ‘None of these locations are suitable’ for a future airport

According to Jason Rantz, the acting chairman of CACC, Warren Hendrickson, stated he believes none of the airport locations will move forward.
4 days ago
Frank Sumrall

Ballard brewery owner nearly loses business to homeless fire

Bad Jimmy’s Brewing Co. in Ballard was nearly destroyed after a fire created by a homeless person nearly engulfed the property in flames.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
On Pronto! bike share program, we’re owed an apology (and $1.4 million)