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City Council approves new bikeshare rules prompting ofo to leave SeattleCity Bike

UPDATE Orca mother carries dead calf for sixth day as mily stays close by

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But the Seattle Department of Transportation has expressed skepticism that, withmegaprojects and a construction boomstrangling downtown, it will be able to construct all the lanes. And the most significant planned downtown bike lane, along Fourth Avenue,remains delayed until .

The Seattle Department of Transportation plans to use fee revenue to administer the program, conducting twiceyearly audits on the companies to ensure proper bike parking, and to build up to new bikeparking corrals throughout the city.

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The nearly mile extension of the Second Avenue bike lane through Belltown, completed earlier this year, cost about million, although percent of that money went to new traffic signals.

But new bike lanes on lower Pike and Pine streets cost less than , total, for about a halfmile.

Advocates for the blind and disabled had worked with the council over the last two weeks to try to address bikes clogging sidewalks and blocking pedestrians.

But just because the City Council wants more bike sharing doesnt necessarily mean the private bikeshare companies in a new business with dubious profit margins will accept some of thehighest permit fees in the nation.

The exorbitant fees that accompany these new regulations the highest in the country make it impossible for ofo to operate and effectively serve our riders, said Lina Feng, the general manager of ofo Seattle.

The council also unanimously passed anonbinding resolutionthat sets firm deadlines the end of for the city to build a halfdozen longplanned bike lanes through downtown on Eighth Avenue, Ninth Avenue North, th Avenue South, South King Street and on Pike and/or Pine streets, among others.

The Seattle City Council passed legislation Monday to bring more bike shares to Seattle and more bike lanes to downtown. But more bike sharing depends on private companies accepting higher fees, and the Seattle Department of Transportation is dubious of the bikelane timeline.

That would be about double the number of bikes that have been on the streets in , as three bikeshare companies have been operating undera pilot program.

Mayor Jenny Durkan, whose signature is not required for the resolution to pass, has declined to comment.

The ,orso bikes currently in the city were used an average of about , times a day in May and June for as little as a ride, although the program has drawn complaints about ridersnot wearing helmetsand leavingbikes parked haphazardlyand blocking pedestrian access.

We do have significant concerns, Darby Watson, SDOTs acting chief of staff, said earlier this month about the City Councils timeline. Its a significant challenge building anything in the right of way in downtown, particularly in this period.

The city has postponed and delayed various aspects of this a number of times, to the frustration of many in the community including myself, Councilmember Mike OBrien said. This is an ambitious set of plans, but theres no obstacle we dont see a way to overcome.

SDOT hasstruggled to keep bike lanes to budgets, even if the most expensive projects are muchmore than bike lanes, and have included extensive rebuilds of sidewalks, traffic lanes and traffic lights.

LimeBike, one of three companies currently operating, said it will apply for a permit to operate both regular and electric bikes. But they might be the only one sticking around.

The resolution contains no funding. OBrien said the money for the bike lanes is already in SDOTs budget; the agency just needs to prioritize it.

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Spin, which has the fewest bikes currently on the street, has not responded to questions, posed over several weeks, about its future plans in Seattle.

Joel Miller, the citys bikeshare manager, said five to companies have expressed interest in operating in Seattle under the new regulations.

The Seattle City Council moved to make dockless bike share a permanent fixture in the city Monday, passing legislation that would allow up to , of the bikes to operate here, while also setting a nonbinding deadline for the city to build a network of protected bike lanes through downtown.

For third day, grieving orca carries dead calf in water

Grieving mother orca lling behind mily as she carries dead calf for a seventh day

And ofo, a Chinese company that isshutting down most of its U.S. operations, announced after the council vote on Monday that it would leave Seattle, citing the perbike, peryear fees.

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JUMP,a bikeshare company owned by Uber, would like to operate in Seattle, but has lobbied the Seattle Department of Transportation SDOT on the maximum allowable speed for electric bikes and says its waiting to see final permit regulations.

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The bikeshare legislation, passed unanimously, allows up to four companies to operate in the city, each paying , for the right to scatter up to , bikes on the citys sidewalks.

An amendment added Monday forbids SDOT from spending more than , of the fee revenue until the agency has a written plan for directly enforcing bike parking rules.

Many of those lanes have been planned since at least , but have remained unbuilt.

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