Guest Editorial: PV Not Sharing the Bike Share Love

By Scottsdale Pinetop

As the debate about bike share programs rages on in Scottsdale, neighboring community Paradise Valley can’t seem to escape the discussion either. In recent months, various bike share companies have migrated into the Phoenix and Scottsdale downtowns areas, often crossing city limits. For many Paradise Valley residents, this appears to be a problem and has many asking if expanding the bike share program there is just too much of a good thing?

Known as a “dockless” bike program, bike share companies populate a city with bikes and place them in pedestrian-friendly locations such as sidewalks, parks and downtown areas. Activated by a smartphone app, bike users typically pay $1 per half-hour to locate, ride, and lock bikes without the need for a bike rack. Consequently this leaves bikes abandoned along sidewalks, the canal or on private property.

The Paradise Valley Town Council began discussing the topic at the end of February and tensions on the issue only seem to be growing. Some members have chosen to embrace the colorful bikes and trust that the industry can resolve many of these issues on their own. Others argue that the bikes are creating unnecessary litter that damages the beauty of Paradise Valley and call for immediate attention.

Just as there is a divide in opinion, there is just as big of a divide in finding a resolution. Ideas presented include creating designated locations where parking a bike is acceptable, distribution of rules and regulations and assigning a resort-only system that only allows hospitality industries to utilize bike-share. In summary, Paradise Valley doesn’t appear to be any closer to a solution than Scottsdale.

There’s no easy solution to the bike share dilemma. It’s no question that bike share is transforming and modernizing transportation within downtown areas and creating a cost efficient, community friendly and colorful way of getting around Scottsdale. But Paradise Valley is not Scottsdale, certainly not it’s Old Town. It’s the “best small town in America” as Mayor Collins often states. And keeping the litter of for-profit companies off its streets is one way to keep it that way. Paradise Valley was a pioneer in the use of photo radar to slow speeding and reduce accidents. It needs to same integrity from this generation of councilmembers to address the latest trash debate.