Residents at two multi-family affordable housing complexes will be the first to take Tigard’s new e-bike library program out for a spin this summer when the city installs the bikes at each for borrowing.
The city is using a $105,800 grant award from Portland General Electric’s Drive Change Fund to develop the pilot, which will put three bikes and a storage facility at Greenburg Oaks apartments and three more at another yet-to-be-determined location.
“Tigard’s Climate Resiliency final report recommends several low carbon actions across different sectors,” said Senior Transportation Planner David Roth. “This is a pilot program that can help support that on a very small scale initially. We’re anticipating learning a lot from this pilot program. We’ll take what we learn and see if it’s something we can expand on.”
Though the city hopes to ultimately grow the program into public spaces, the initial six are exclusively for residents at their respective locations. They’ll be stored in locked areas within the complexes.
“One of the first steps is to get the storage facilities designed and built. We’re working through that right now and we’re also working through procurement of the bikes,” Roth said.
The small-scale pilot allows the city to gather data needed to evaluate the viability of going bigger with it.
“This pilot’s really important for us right now to be testing these concepts to see if they’re doable and if we expand the concept more broadly,” he said.
Transportation is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for about 40 percent, according to a recently completed climate action plan study.
“The vast majority is from daily driving,” Roth said. Tigard has set a 12-year goal to shave transportation emissions by 20 percent.
The city is currently shopping for e-bikes with enough carrying capacity for riders to haul groceries and other errand-type items.
Like electric cars, the bikes require regular recharging but take much less time to fully power.
Riders use an app to unlock bikes, and the app additionally tracks the trip metrics that will inform the next steps.
“The app should allow us to track where these are going and how much use they’re seeing. That’ll be one of the most important metrics,” Roth said. “We’ll also be doing quality surveys for the residents of these locations to help us understand what’s working, what’s not working, and what could be done better to improve the service in the future.”