A pilot bike share permit program is set to come to Kirkland. Photo courtesy of the city of Kirkland

A pilot bike share permit program is set to come to Kirkland. Photo courtesy of the city of Kirkland

After public outreach, Kirkland to move forward with bike share

The city hopes to have a one-year pilot up and running by May.

It’s official: bike share is on its way to Kirkland, at least for a one-year pilot.

The Kirkland City Council had initially talked about the possibility of dockless bike share last summer, when Seattle, Bothell and Bellevue already had programs or discussions in progress.

Since then, staff members have done extensive public engagement, both in person and digitally. Assistant City Manager Jim Lopez said that after the community outreach process, the city ended up with almost 1,000 responses to its bike share survey.

About 64 percent of respondents were in favor of bike share, with support in every Kirkland neighborhood, as well as from people who live outside the city. Frequent cyclists, renters and people in the 20-35 age group were strong supporters.

But there were some concerns, especially with safety, “clutter” and clogged bike lanes and racks. The positive aspects of bike share are that it provides a first/last mile transportation option, and is better for road and parking capacity and the environment than single-occupant vehicles, according to the city.

“The most significant potential positive impact of regulating bike share was reported as being easier access to transportation options,” according to a staff memo from Jan. 22, however, “staff received many comments about safety concerns, mostly around the lack of helmets as well as the presence of bikes on sidewalks.”

After getting approval for the pilot at the Feb. 19 council meeting, city staff said the program could be up and running by May, which is Bike Everywhere Month.

Mayor Penny Sweet said that she was in favor of the pilot, but wanted to explore a fleet of electric bikes, along with another growing trend in transportation: scooters. Other city councilmembers weren’t convinced.

Councilmember Jon Pascal noted that while they scooters are “a lot of fun,” he was worried about “an increase in hospital visits.” About 48 percent of Kirkland’s survey respondents were in favor of a scooter pilot, with 42 percent opposed and 10 percent unsure.

Deputy Mayor Jay Arnold supported the bike share pilot, but said he was most concerned with “egregious” situations where bikes end up in trees, or in Lake Washington. He said the city should have a response plan in place.

Councilmember Tom Neir said the city should do what it can to make sure the program is successful, for example, by installing temporary signage, publishing a map of safe routes around town and clearing up debris and other obstacles.

City staff also identified three major themes to make the pilot a success: working with Kirkland’s regional partners, making sure everyone has access to the bikes and obtaining data from the bike share companies. The fact that bike share is already present in neighboring Eastside cities was a selling point.

“Bike share will be here no matter what Kirkland decides, so we might as well get on board,” the staff memo said.

See www.kirklandwa.gov for more.

More in News

VoteWA is a $9.5 million program that came online last May and is meant to unify all 39 county voting systems in the state into a single entity. Courtesy image
WA’s new voting system concerns county elections officials

VoteWA has run into some problems in recent months as the Aug. 6 primary election draws closer.

PSE’s battery storage project could help the clean energy roll-out

The tiny pilot project in Glacier could eventually be expanded.

Kirkland officer fatally shoots man threatening 18-month-old child

King County Sheriff’s Office will conduct investigation into shooting.

An aerial photo shows the locations of two earthquakes and five aftershocks in and near Monroe, which rattled the Puget Sound region early Friday. The first was the magnitude 4.6 quake at upper right, 13 miles under the intersection of U.S. 2 and Fryelands Boulevard SE at 2:51 a.m. The second, magnitude 3.5, occurred 18 miles under the Old Snohomish-Monroe Road at 2:53 a.m. The aftershocks followed during the ensuing two hours. This image depicts an area about 3 miles wide. (Herald staff and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network)
Early wake-up call: Twin quakes under Monroe rattle region

Thousands of people felt them. They were magnitude 4.6 and 3.5 and hit minutes apart.

Courtesy photo
King County Sheriff’s Office has been giving ICE unredacted information

Both the office and jail have supplied the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

‘Feedback loops’ of methane, CO2 echo environmental problem beyond Washington

University of Washington among researchers of climate change’s effects in global temperatures.

A sign in 132nd Square Park updates residents on the potential improvements taking place within the park. Madeline Coats/staff photo
Kirkland park board reviews concepts for 132nd Square Park

The city aims to better manage stormwater in Totem Lake/Juanita Creek basin.

Northwest University awaits approval of 20-year master plan

Plan includes the addition of four new structures and the replacement of three existing buildings.

Most Read