|TO: ||Neighborhood/Community Affairs Committee Members|
|FROM:||Jimmy L. Morales, City Manager|
|DATE: ||May 20, 2019|
DISCUSSION REGARDING ESTABLISHING A PILOT PROGRAM FOR DOCKED ELECTRIC ASSISTED BICYCLE SHARING SERVICES.
KEY INTENDED OUTCOME:
Ensure Comprehensive Mobility Addressing All Modes Throughout The City
Since 2011, the City has provided its residents and visitors with a bicycle sharing service through a contract with Citibike. As part of this contract, Citibike provides approximately 1,000 bicycles which can be rented at any of its 100 stations or "docks" strategically and conveniently located throughout the City. The contract also provides revenue to the City through a revenue sharing agreement with Citibike. For Fiscal Year 2017/18, for example, the total amount of revenue provided to the City through the revenue share agreement with Citibike was approximately $574,000. The contract is set to expire in 2023 and the Citibike's sponsorship agreement with Citibank is set to expire in June 2019. Citibike is currently working to secure a sponsorship contract extension and estimates should be secured within 90 days. The City's contract with Citibike currently provides for deployment of standard human-powered bicycles which require the user to pedal.
In the last few years, however, the popularity and use of electric-assisted bicycles in the U.S. has grown and more people are using electric-assisted bikes as a more convenient means of active transportation. While no cities in Miami-Dade County are currently providing an electric-assisted docked bicycle sharing services, the County has recently executed a contract with "Ride On", a provider of electric-assisted docked bicycle sharing services. The contract between Miami-Dade County and Ride On allows for the provision of electric-assisted bicycles on County-owned facilities (such as transit stations, courts, libraries, etc.) and County rights-of-way. While there are only a couple of County-owned facilities in Miami Beach, there are a few roadways in the City which are under the jurisdiction of Miami-Dade County (i.e., Venetian Causeway, Dade Boulevard, Pine Tree Drive, La Gorce Drive, and 23rd Street). Thus, pursuant to the County's contract with Ride-On, electric-assisted bicycles can be deployed by Ride-On within the rights-of-way of the aforementioned streets in the City on an immediate basis.
City staff met with representatives of Ride On to discuss the vendor's interest in a pilot program in the City including not only County streets but also other streets under the City's and FDOT's jurisdiction. At the meeting, City staff advised Ride On that further discussions with the Administration, City Commission, and Citibike would be required to gauge interest and determine the feasibility of an electric-assisted docked bicycle sharing pilot, whether as a stand-alone initiative or in partnership with Citibike.
Subsequently, City staff reached out to Citibike to gauge their interest in a joint electric bicycle pilot initiative. Citibike has expressed a willingness to launch an electric bike pilot, or a different type of bike share system, using its existing Citibike docking stations. Citibike stated that it has been conducting research on electric bikes over the past year and expressed an interest in pursuing this initiative in the cities of Miami and Miami Beach (areas where they already have a contract for bike sharing programs) at a scope, scale, and speed of deployment that is mutually agreeable with the cities' desire. It is worth noting that an advantage of utilizing Citibike's existing docking stations for a pilot is that it would minimize or avoid the addition of new stations and potentially other infrastructure in the City's right-of-way. Per Citibike, initial deployment could be achieved in fewer than six (6) months depending on the scope of the City's electric bike pilot. Citibike also expressed some concerns and issues/risks related to a joint pilot program with another vendor and the implications it could potentially have on Citibank's sponsorship of the Citibike program in Miami Beach, and, consequently, on revenue sharing with Miami Beach. For example, per Citibike's agreement with Citibank, all bikes operated by Citibike in the Miami/Miami Beach area are contractually required to have the Citi branding and colors. At the November 30, 2018 Neighborhood/Community Affairs Committee (NCAC) meeting, the Committee discussed this item and requested that the Administration explore the potential of deploying a pilot program, possibly as a partnership between Citibike and Ride On, and to research the potential use of the existing bike lanes in the City. The item was also referred to the Tranportation, Parking, Bicycle/Pedestrian Facilities Committee (TPBPFC).
The item was discussed at the December 10, 2018 TPBPFC meeting; however, no formal action was taken by the Committee.
UPDATE SINCE THE NOVEMBER 30, 2018 NCAC MEETING
With regard to the use of on-street bike lanes, the City Attorney's Office has researched this issue and opined that as long as a bicycle meets the definition and statutory requirements established by State law (F.S. 316.003(4)) and City Code (Chapter 70), it can be legally operated on existing on-street bike lanes and vehicular travel lanes.
F.S. 316.003(4) defines a bicycle as follows: "Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels. The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position or a scooter or similar device. A person under the age of 16 may not operate or ride upon a motorized bicycle."
Chapter 70 of the City Code defines a motorized bicycle as a bicycle that must have both functional pedalassist and power/electric-assist. City Code also establishes a maximum operating speed of 20 MPH for electric bicycles. Per Section 70-66 of the City Code, "Motorized bicycle means a bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a motorized bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels. The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position or a scooter or similar device."
A fully electric bicycle (i.e. without pedal-assist) does not meet the definitions and requirements in City Code and Florida Statutues, and, therefore, cannot be legally operated on bike lanes, sidewalks, or on vehicular travel lanes as they cannot be licensed/tagged by the State.
On February 11, 2019, the TPBPFC discussed this item and passed the following motion: "The TPBPFC recommends that the City enter into conversations with the existing company the City has for bicycle sharing (Citibike), as they have provided good service throughout their contract with the City." This motion was transmitted to the Mayor and City Commission via LTC # 084-2019.
Pursuant to the NCAC's request, Procurement Department staff has reviewed the current contract between Ride On and Miami-Dade County and determined that the contract does not allow for a "piggyback" and is therefore not available for use by the City.
Other options for consideration by the Administration and City Commission to procure electric assisted/docked bicycle sharing services as a pilot program include:
Option 1 - Waive competitive bidding requirements to procure a pilot with Ride On.
While City staff understands the benefit in having a single vendor providing docked electric-assist bike sharing services countywide, the Administration does not recommend waiving competitive bidding in order to procure Ride On for these services given that other electric-assisted bicycle vendors have also reached out to City staff recently to express an interest in providing these services.
Option 2 - Amend the City's contract with Citibike (no bid waiver required).
The City's current contract with Citibike includes a provision for additional services, which would not require a bid waiver and could include providing electric-assisted bicycles as part of the current bicycle sharing program. It is worth noting that exercising this provision is advantageous to the City as it would allow Citibike to continue utilizing their existing docking stations in the City and minimize or eliminate the need to install additional docking stations and impact additional on-street parking spaces.
Option 3 - Issue a competitive solicitation for procurement of a docked electric-assisted bicycle sharing program as a pilot program.
If this option is selected and a vendor other than Citibike is selected, implementation will likely require the installation of additional infrastructure, including docking stations, since the existing Citibike docking stations are designed to only accommodate Citibike bicycles. The installation of additional docking stations will likely necessitate removal of existing on-street parking spaces or result in impacts to sidewalks.
Potential Local Pre-emption
It is worth noting that the Administration has been made aware of bills which have been filed in the Florida House and Senate that, if approved, would pre-empt and limit cities' authority to regulate certain aspects of micromobility devices, including dockless electric bicycles and electric scooters, and grant certain regulatory powers to the State. The Administration is monitoring both bills closely and working with the City Attorney's Office and the City's lobbying team in Tallahassee. Updates on the status of both bills will be provided via LTC or at upcoming City Commission meetings once the Legislative session begins.
The City is moving towards becoming a more bicycle-friendly city through the implementation of various bicycle facilities and enhancements recommended in the Adopted 2016 Transportation Master Plan and Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan. Both master plans as well as the City's Adopted Modal Hiearchy, prioritize bicycles as a mode of transportation for residents and visitors, particularly in terms of providing efficient first mile/last mile connections.
Electric-assisted bicycles could serve as a more convenient means of bicycle transportation for users as compared to the standard pedal-power bicycles currently provided by Citibike, the current provider of bicycle sharing services for both City of Miami Beach and City of Miami.
Given the provision for additional services that exists in the current contract between the City and Citibike, coupled with the benefit that exercising this provision to allow Citibike to utilize their existing docking stations in the City to provide electric-assisted bicycles as part of their bicycle sharing services and thereby reduce or eliminate the need to impact additional on-street parking spaces or sidewalks (which would be required if the services were to be provided by another vendor), the Administration believes that Option 2 is in the best interest of the City. In summary, Option 2 proposes to amend the current contract with Citibike to allow for the desired docked/electric-assisted bicycle sharing services on a pilot basis.
If the NCAC concurs with this recommendation, the Administration will work with Citibike to determine approach, scope, method, and timeline to initiate a docked/electric-assisted bicycle sharing pilot program in the City.