Citing concerns about bikeshare’s rapid rise in Seattle, councilmember Lisa Herbold has proposed legislation that would increase their prices and limit their number and location–while boosting their availability citywide.
Joined by Councilmembers Mike O’Brien and Kshama Sawant, the legislation would keep total bicycle numbers at 300 and increase it by 25 annually, following Council approval. Companies could apply to add more bikes–many of which were made in China and rent out for $1–for a fee. This, argued the councilors, would increase their reach in lower-income neighborhoods like Rainier Beach.
“We’re worried these bikes aren’t accessible to all,” said O’Brien. So the Council will mandate equal distribution across census tracts. In areas of “low opportunity,” adding bikes will come with a higher charge.
“For too long the poorest areas have gone without bikes,” said Sawant. “If a big corporation wants to add more in those areas, they’ll have to pay.”
To ensure the bicycles’ affordability in such areas, a fee will be assessed of between $1 and $25. The legislation, if approved, would be enforced by The Mandatory Access and Diversity Bike program, or MAD Bike.
(Satire, but just let’s wait and see.)
Roger Valdez is Director of Smart Growth Seattle, a pro-growth, pro-housing group that advocates for more housing of all types, in all parts of the city for people of all levels of income. He has had a twenty-five year career in politics, education, public health, urban planning, and hopes to stop Seattle's dangerous experiments in taxing and over-regulating housing production that will turn it into the next San Francisco.
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