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.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

File photo.
Redmond man described as violent extremist arrested in Kirkland

He was charged, alongside three others, for a conspiracy in Seattle Feb. 26.

Needles littered the ground throughout a homeless encampment at Federal Way’s Hylebos Wetlands, which is public property. Sound Publishing file photo
Republican leadership doubts effectiveness of homelessness spending

Democrats propose hundreds of millions toward affordable housing.

Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht gave a response to an Office of Law Enforcement Oversight report on Feb. 25 before the King County Law and Justice Committee. The report recommended ways her department could reform use of force policy and internal investigations. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Council unsatisfied with Sheriff’s response to use of deadly force report

The King County Sheriff’s Office could be required to explain why it didn’t implement recommendations.

King County approves low-income Metro fare waivers

Low-income transit riders could see their King County Metro fares waived beginning… Continue reading

King County Council has nine members who each represent a district. Courtesy of kingcounty.gov
Charter amendments could allow King County Council to remove elected officials

The change was recommended by the charter review commission.

Voters could vote to affirm subpoena powers for civilian KCSO oversight agency

The King County charter review commission recommended enshrining the power in the charter.

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Democratic lawmakers roll out spending plans for climate change, homelessness

Republican opposition calls for tax relief, rather than spending the increased revenue.

Welcoming Kirkland’s lead facilitator, James Whitfield, headed the Feb. 20 meeting. Blake Peterson/staff photo
‘We’re collecting all input’: Welcoming Kirkland has second town hall meeting

Like its Feb. 15 predecessor, the Feb. 20 gathering was focused on business and police protocols.

Big Finn Hill Park entrance. Blake Peterson/staff photo
Kirkland council, police address Big Finn Hill Park security concerns

Currently, Big Finn Hill Park is operated and maintained by King County as a regional park.

Most Read