Residents think a Bellevue bikeshare would be ‘awesome'

A Spin bike in Seattle. (Courtesy of Spin)

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Bellevue officials have yet to decide if the city will adopt a bikeshare program akin to Seattle's. But the city is reporting positive feedback about the idea so far.

In fact, initial public comments indicate residents think a Bellevue bikeshare is an “awesome” idea.

“I think it would be awesome!” one person wrote in an online survey about the idea. “There are so many times that I want to run an errand in downtown Bellevue that is slightly too far for me to walk, but it’s a pain to use my car all the time. It would be easier if there was a bike option.”

“Please make it happen!” another person wrote. “With all the congestion and lack of parking, a bikeshare system would be such an awesome alternative for getting around. I would shop and go out to eat in downtown Bellevue more often if I could bike instead of drive.”

Of course, there have been some concerns raised. Another respondent wrote: “I live in Seattle and to get to Bellevue I will often take a bus. Bikeshare would open up new opportunities for me to get around downtown Bellevue once I arrive by bus. It’d be awesome. Of course, I’d also want to have a complete network of protected bike lanes, especially on the slower bikeshare bikes.”

Bellevue is considering a bikeshare program at the same time it is crafting a downtown bikeway to accommodate more cyclists — including slower bikes.

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According to Andreas Piller, an associate planner with the city:

At the Transportation Commission's next public meeting on Thursday, January 11, the commission is expected to make a recommendation about whether and how to proceed with both a bikeshare pilot program and a downtown demonstration bikeway project in 2018. Their recommendation on these two items will be presented to City Council during its regular session on February 5. If the council approves both elements, by mid-2018, privately operated bikeshare services could be available citywide and a high-comfort demonstration bikeway could span downtown.

A downtown bikeway would be the first of its kind in Bellevue. It would have painted buffers, posts, or even planters to separate cyclists and cars. This is similar to the downtown bike lanes constructed in downtown Seattle in recent years.

Pillar also says that the city has received letters of support for both the bikeway and a potential bikeshare from major employers in the area.

Bellevue travel habits

Piller said that 55 percent of respondents to a survey indicated they would use a bikeshare if it were offered in Bellevue. More than 800 people took part in the survey; 52 percent live in Bellevue, while 48 percent live in neighboring cities like Kirkland, Redmond or Issaquah.

>> RELATED: Seattle bikeshare companies proving they are relevant

But that statistic wasn't the only takeaway from the survey about Bellevue and its bikeshare potential.

  • How do you get around on a regular basis?: 76 percent walk; 56 percent use a personal bike; 51 percent ride the bus; 23 percent use Link light rail; 81 percent use a personal car.
  • If a bikeshare service was available in Bellevue today, in which parts of the city would you use it?: 71 percent in downtown Bellevue; 32 percent BelRed; 31 percent Crossroads; 23 percent Eastgate/Factoria; 16 percent Lake Hills; 22 percent other; 20 percent would not use a bikeshare.
  • If a bikeshare service was available in downtown Bellevue today, how much more often would you ride a bike downtown?: 33 percent will ride much more often; 47 percent would ride somewhat more often; 20 percent would ride about the same.
  • If a bikeshare service was available in Bellevue, where would you ride?: 46 percent on the street in lanes shared with cars; 45 percent on the sidewalk; 9 percent would not ride a bikeshare in downtown.
  • If a network of comfortable and safe bicycle facilities were available downtown, how much more often would you ride a bike there?: 59 percent much more often; 33 percent somewhat more often; 8 percent about the same.
  • Where do you work?: 34 percent in downtown Bellevue; 20 percent Seattle; 17 percent in another Eastside city; 17 percent in other areas in Bellevue / BelRed / Crossroads / Eastgate.
  • How often do you typically ride a bike in downtown Bellevue?: 43 percent never; 22 percent a couple times a year; 13 percent once or twice a month; 13 percent multiple times a week; 9 percent about once a week.
  • Why do you ride a bike in downtown Bellevue?: 39 percent exercise and recreation; 36 percent not applicable; 23 percent personal errands; 22 percent go to and from work; 14 percent to go to and from transit; 17 percent social activities; 9 percent shopping.
  • Do you feel downtown Bellevue is a safe place to ride a bike?: 6 percent, very safe; 25 percent, somewhat safe; 39 percent, somewhat unsafe; 30 percent very unsafe.

The survey also found that people are very uncomfortable (53 percent) riding a bike in unmarked shared lanes with car traffic, while 61 percent would prefer to ride in buffered bike lanes (separation from traffic with paint) and 86 percent in protected bike lanes (separated from traffic with posts or planter boxes.