Portland Selected for U.S. EPA Assistance Planning for Bikeshare Program

2/7/2013 -

Portland Selected for U.S. EPA Assistance Planning for Bikeshare Program
City gets help from national experts in developing a Bikeshare program

PORTLAND, Maine – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that the City of Portland is one of five communities nationwide to receive technical assistance to explore the potential of establishing a Bikeshare program in the city. Bikeshare is a program in which bicycles are made available for shared use. The program is designed to provide free or affordable access to bicycles for short-distance trips in an urban area as an alternative to motorized public transit or private vehicles. Bikeshare programs help reduce congestion, noise and air pollution and support sustainable growth that encourages local economic development while safeguarding health and the environment. As a part of the technical assistance provided, EPA staff and national experts will hold a one to two-day workshop in the city focusing on the Planning for Bikeshare tool, which will explore the potential of establishing a bikeshare program in the community.

“The EPA’s technical assistance will be a tremendous help to the city as we look to developing a local bikeshare program,” stated Director of Planning and Urban Development Jeff Levine. “Bikeshare programs offer a convenient alternative to driving and could help the city achieve its sustainability goals by reducing traffic and the environmental hazards associated with vehicular traffic.”

The Bikeshare tool is designed to provide communities with an overview of bikeshare types, development, and experience in North America. Key concepts that will be reviewed include: feasibility, system planning, business plan, operations, and health, safety, and social equity related to bikeshare. Communities will conduct a self-assessment to determine which concepts are most relevant to review. After a tour of the community during the workshop, the EPA team will develop a series of strategies and next steps to help implement a bikeshare program.
During the workshop with EPA-funded, private-sector experts, participants will explore the selected tool, as well as other ways to make progress toward community goals for environmentally responsible, economically healthy development.

"If we want a healthier environment and a stronger economy, sustainable practices must be part of community development across the country," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. ”The EPA’s Building Blocks program helps communities invest in sustainable growth techniques, so they can plan for a better future. The short-term, targeted assistance we are providing will help stimulate local economies, while protecting people’s health and safeguarding the environment."

To date, EPA’s assistance through the Building Blocks program has reached nearly one hundred and fifty communities. EPA selected this year’s recipients from 121 applicants through a competitive process in consultation with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Together, the three agencies form the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which coordinate investments in housing, transportation, and environmental protection to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently.

In addition to Portland, the selected communities for the Planning for Bikeshare Tool include Bridgeport, Connecticut, Denver, Colorado, Fort Collins, Colorado, and New Orleans, Louisiana.
More information on the Building Blocks program: online
More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities: online