Korte: once again, Scottsdale is an Arizona leader

(Submitted photo)

This time, it’s in the area of dockless bike-sharing.

Virginia Korte

By now you’ve probably seen the brightly-colored bicycles popping up on street corners and along city bike paths. Private and independently-owned bike-share companies like ofo, Limebike and Spin have chosen Scottsdale for their bike-for-rent operations because of our active residents, large number of tourists and bike-friendly community.

What you may not realize is the bikes come at no cost to the city or taxpayers. Users download a smartphone app and rent the bicycles, usually for $1 an hour.

Unlike communities that have invested millions of dollars in city-owned bike-share programs, Scottsdale taxpayers don’t pay a dime for the bicycles available in our city.

Yes, there have been growing pains as bike-share users learn where to leave — and not leave — bicycles when they’re done using them. I take to heart the concerns of some in our community who worry about bikes blocking public right-of-way or appearing cluttered.

But I am tremendously optimistic about bike-sharing. This is yet another amenity for Scottsdale. Residents and tourists — those who’ve left their own bikes at home — love the service, and some Scottsdale resorts are even requesting extra bicycles to make available to guests.

Additionally, bike-sharing offers a creative solution to some of our public transit shortcomings — providing a clean, green and convenient alternative for short-distance travel. That translates to reduced carbon emissions, less traffic congestion and happier, healthier commuters.

Scottsdale’s usage of bike-sharing has been incredibly popular — more than 110,000 “rides” were tracked in just the first three and a half months of the service. On the day of Scottsdale’s Parada del Sol Parade last month, the companies tracked about 4,000 rides. These kinds of statistics demonstrate why Scottsdale is one of the most successful markets in the country for bike-sharing.

As with any new product or service that hits the market, there are going to be hiccups in the beginning. Bike-sharing is no different. Scottsdale City Council is monitoring the situation closely; however, and city staff is working with the bike-share operators to make sure this new amenity meets our community’s standards for public safety, access and aesthetics.

Already, we’re seeing real improvements on the ground as bike-share companies use their technology to place bicycles where they are needed most and retrieve idle bicycles.

Users themselves are a big part of the solution as they learn the “dos and don’ts” of bike-sharing. In the meantime, I look forward to this new amenity becoming further welcomed into our community.

Editor’s note: Ms. Korte is the vice mayor of Scottsdale

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