City issues RFP for Tacoma Bikeshare Planning Study

The City of Tacoma has issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) seeking consultants to complete a feasibility study for a bikeshare program, according to a legal notice published this month in the Tacoma Daily Index (see “City of Tacoma Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability REQUEST,” Tacoma Daily Index, Sept. 10, 2015; and here and here).

Bikeshare programs allow people to check out bicycles for short trips around the city. In October of 2014, the City of Seattle partnered with the non-profit organization Pronto Cycle Share to introduce a bikeshare system that includes 500 bikes and 50 stations throughout the city. Similar programs have been launched in at least two-dozen U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C.; Austin, Tex.; Boston, Mass.; Denver, Colo.; and New York City.

The City of Tacoma’s 2010 Mobility Master Plan—which is designed to develop a comprehensive network of bikeways and pedestrian walkways citywide—includes a bikeshare program that aims to enhance the city’s transportation network and make cycling a more viable option for all.

The City of Tacoma has issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) from consultants to complete a feasibility study for a bikeshare program, which allows people to check out bicycles for short trips around the city. Last year, the City of Seattle partnered with the non-profit organization Pronto Cycle Share to introduce a bikeshare system that includes 500 bikes and 50 stations throughout the city, including (pictured) Capitol Hill. (PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

The City of Tacoma has issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) from consultants to complete a feasibility study for a bikeshare program, which allows people to check out bicycles for short trips around the city. Last year, the City of Seattle partnered with the non-profit organization Pronto Cycle Share to introduce a bikeshare system that includes 500 bikes and 50 stations throughout the city, including (pictured) Capitol Hill. (PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

The RFP prepared by City of Tacoma staff notes the proposed Tacoma Bikeshare Planning Study will:

  • include recommendations on bikeshare system types and a variety of technologies that best fit Tacoma’s market, topography, culture and destinations;
  • evaluate whether the existing Mobility Master Plan supports the development of a bikeshare program, or if modifications are needed. If modifications are needed, the study will include recommended changes to the Mobility Master Plan;
  • provide innovative solutions to Tacoma’s current and future assets and challenges, including possible pilot programs or phasing implementation.

The RFP prepared by City of Tacoma staff also notes that as part of the Tacoma Bikeshare Planning Study, the consulting team will:

  • assist City staff with determining specific goals and objectives for Tacoma’s bikeshare program;
  • identify possible bikeshare user groups (e.g. residents, students, tourists) and significant destinations (e.g. transit, downtown, Point Defiance Park) for bikeshare stations;
  • conduct a series of interviews with stakeholders, and possibly assemble a stakeholder committee to help guide the planning process, as well as host a site visit and “handlebar tour” with City staff and interested stakeholders;
  • develop an analysis of barriers and opportunities such as existing and planned bikeways facilities, transit station connectivity and access, and issues of topography; make recommendations for filling existing gaps in the bikeways network proposed in the City’s 2010 Mobility Master Plan; and identify conditions that may need to be changed and provide the critical timing for improvements to ensure the success of bikeshare.
  • facilitate a discussion with the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Technical Advisory Group and Transportation Commission to inform the bikeshare process;
  • facilitate one public meeting to raise awareness of the project and solicit input from the community of residents and business;
  • develop online crowd-sourcing tool for input on issues such as recommended station locations and bike station access;
  • facilitate two meetings to apprise the community of the findings and conclusions of this planning study;
  • develop recommendations that will assist the City in launching a bikeshare program in Tacoma;
  • map out options for integrating a bikeshare system in Tacoma with the regional system Pronto Cycle Share including information on the benefits/costs of being a part of an existing system and network;
  • develop a chart with bikeshare system types including a variety options such as permanent and transient docking stations (smart bikes vs. smart racks), electric pedal-assist and standard bicycles. Include associated cost estimates for establishing and maintaining those systems. Provide planning, operational and scalability issues associated with each system. Provide consultant opinion on suitability for Tacoma;
  • give consideration to as yet unknown bikeshare programs that would best suit the environs and culture of Tacoma. The City is interested in numerous possibilities such as artist sponsored painted bikes, circular route systems to destinations of significance, etc. with consultant opinion on the feasibility of a new model that best serves the needs and conditions of Tacoma;
  • propose a pilot study to test the concepts of bikeshare. The pilot should be scalable and have identifiable goals such as increases in economic development, tourism or bike ridership;
  • provide the City with detailed options for raising a funding package to implement an initial bikeshare program with options for larger build-out;
  • create detailed five-year financial plan for Tacoma to implement, support and maintain the bikeshare system;
  • develop a business model for how the City could go about accessing grants, private dollars, and other resources to fund the initial program;
  • (if budget allows) provide the City with preliminary design assistance for bikeshare stations and work with Staff to develop a permitting process for stations;
  • (if budget allows) create a kick-off event for a bikeshare pilot that would serve as a big draw for the community.

The City is looking for consultants with experience helping to create bikeshare plans in other cities. The deadline for consultants respond to the Tacoma Bikeshare Planning Study RFP expires on Tues., Sept. 29. A one-year contract could be awarded in October. The City has budgeted $60,000 for the study. More information is available online here.

To read the Tacoma Daily Indexs complete and comprehensive coverage of the City of Tacoma’s Mobility Master Plan, click on the following links: