(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

A grant award will help the City of Tigard take more steps toward its goal to be, “an equitable community that is walkable, healthy, and accessible for everyone.”

Tigard will receive a $105,800 grant from Portland General Electric’s Drive Change Fund to purchase e-bikes that will be used at two affordable housing facilities. The funds come from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and aim to boost transportation electrification. “Transportation electrification plays an essential role in accelerating the clean energy transition,” said PGE’s Elyssia Lawrence in a statement Tuesday.

The City of Tigard will use the money to fund their Power to the Pedal E-Bike Library pilot which they describe as, “a suburban e-bike borrowing program for residents at affordable apartment buildings.” “Locating e-bikes directly in neighborhoods introduces residents to this emerging technology and provides them with free trips for short-term use, eliminating the need for some automobile trips,” the city says. Its part of Tigard’s effort to increase transit and active transportation trips to 20% over the next 12 years. They intend to analyze the results of this pilot with an eye toward launching a larger, citywide system in the future.

E-bike lending libraries have taken off nationwide in the past few years. According to Bloomberg, they’re currently offered in several cities in Vermont; in Oakland, California; Buffalo, New York and several other places.

This is just the latest sign that the City of Tigard is serious about the potential of e-bikes. Last spring we noticed how they hosted a series of e-bike demo days. This also isn’t the first project funded by this DEQ and PGE collab. In 2021 we reported how the Drive Change fund awarded e-bike related grants to the Community Cycling Center, Biketown, and Portland State University.

It’s great to see Tigard moving forward with this pilot. As a recent ODOT report made very clear, the expense of e-bikes is one of the main barriers to access. Until rebates and other purchase incentives are widely available at either the local or state level, programs like this will be crucial in order to bridge the gap.

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