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BikeStation director encouraged by Portland visit

Posted by on July 20th, 2007 at 7:15 am

“We think it’s a likely next step en route to making Portland’s transportation infrastructure as accessible as necessary.”
-Tom Miller (Commissioner
Adams’ Chief of Staff)

BikeStation Executive Director Andrea White was in town earlier this week. Accompanied by a BikeStation board member, the pair met with city officials and private developers to discuss the potential of a new bike parking facility (or facilities) in Portland.

In an interview after her trip, White said the possibility for a “bike-transit” facility in Portland is stronger now than it’s ever been,

“… there is incredible interest in and support for bike-transit centers in Portland. I would say since my last trip there two years ago, the people that we met with have moved forward significantly in their commitment to building facilities. I think it’s just a matter of where and when.”

White is especially excited by the recent interest of private developers.

Andrea White of BikeStation
Andrea White of BikeStation.
(File photo)

She says the end result of all the discussions could range from a full-service, fully staffed facility to a partially or unstaffed and completely automated underground parking system.

White says BikeStation doesn’t push a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, they will work with Portland to come up with whatever bike-parking solution serves the city’s needs most effectively.

For instance, she wonders if it might make more sense to have a “hub and satellite system that all users can access,” instead of just one main facility.

As for where it (or they) would go, White says there isn’t one, clear front-runner for a potential site.

BikeStation board member Todd Boulanger has his money on Portland State University,

“If I have to pick one…PSU would be the easiest to pull off due to the parking environment, cost of parking, large bicyclist population and bike theft issues.”

BikeStation in Long Beach, CA
(Photo: BikeStation)

In addition to PSU, other locations on the table are the old Powell’s Travel Bookstore space in Pioneer Courthouse Square and the former McCall’s Restaurant site adjacent to the Salmon Street Fountain.

Commissioner Adams’ Chief of Staff Tom Miller says centralized, secure bike parking is, “an investment we think Portland is poised to implement.” Inspired by the example of the Dutch, Miller says,

“We think it’s a likely next step en route to making Portland’s transportation infrastructure as accessible as necessary to achieve our mode split goals. Our field trip to Holland revealed the myriad of capital investments the Dutch have made to make bicycling as safe, convenient, and accessible as possible.”

But he also points out that they will be careful before moving forward,

“Because this a new concept we want to be sure we’ve thought through as many items as possible to ensure success. Investments in innovation are always more challenging than funding proven winners.”

So far, BikeStation has opened six successful facilities in 11 years with their most recent opening in Santa Barbara, California last May.

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  • Anonymous July 20, 2007 at 8:10 am

    There is a pretty exciting proposal in the works for an enclosed bike parking facility (including showers and lockers) as part of a private development in the Lloyd district that I just came across the other day. I don\’t think the plans are public just yet, but I\’ll post when the application is submitted.

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  • Dabby July 20, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    I do not think people realize what they are even dealing with here in Portland when trying to push through something like this.

    The majority of Portland cyclists will never be able to afford to use such a service,nor would they even go.

    There is a small percentage that would certainly be happy to pay for it, but not many.

    If it was boiled down to a minimum amount, or even sliding scale, it might be feasible.

    But due to the cost of a lease, especially on the mentioned locations, I do not see how it is possible at all.

    Let\’s move on and use these resources towards \”NEEDED\” bicycling projects, instead of nice fantasy ones.

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  • David July 20, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    Dabby,

    What information are you basing your opinion on? Its most likely that the people at BikeStation have done far more market research than you have.

    my guess is that with 15,000 cyclists crossing the hawthorne bridge each day to commute to work, you are going to find enough interested people to support this project….

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  • pushkin July 20, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    I\’ll bet there are a lot bicyclists who commute to downtown who would use this facility. With showers and secure parking it is a big draw. Not everyone wants to arrive at their job looking like they rode their bike in (dripping with rain or sweat in crumpled clothes).

    The Santa Barbara facility costs members $12/month, with one year discounted to $96.

    I think most Portland cyclists could afford this, they will just have to forego 12 cheap beers a month to pay for it. It depends where your budgeting priorities are.

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  • Waffle King of America July 20, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    I don\’t know, 12 cheap beers sound pretty good.

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  • tonyt July 20, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    pushkin,

    the problem is what do you do once you\’ve arrived and showered there. If you work only a couple of blocks from the place, fine, a quick jaunt is no problem. But if you work any distance, then your alternative is to get back into wet rain gear (after you\’ve cooled down) and ride, or hitch a bus, or hoof it.

    I work downtown, ride everyday, and can\’t see ever wanting to use this.

    I appreciate people\’s input, but I\’d like to hear from people who WANT this, not from people who think that other people would want to use this.

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  • Mr. Viddy July 20, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    I do not know about the reality of these BikeStations but I am definitely intrigued by the concept. I live in Beaverton so I\’d probably have no use for it but I do like the idea. I have checked out the one for Seattle and it looked pretty nice. The annual fee and annual service plan is only $116 which is pretty cheap.

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  • Amanda July 20, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    I definitely want this. I\’m changing jobs but will still work mostly downtown. I have secure parking and a place to store my clothes/clean up at my present job, but not where I\’m headed, and just spent some time researching options for continuing my normal bike commute after the switch. Bike Central looks viable, but it\’s still about 1/3 mile from my new office and looks to be a lot spendier than BikeStation is supposed to be.

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  • zilfondel July 20, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Umm, last time I was in Amsterdam, the bicycle parking garages were free, and had about 15,000 bikes parked in them. 80 bike parking spaces? Are you kidding?!

    Drop in a bucket.

    Currently PSU has a massive bicycle rack shortage almost to the level the likes that you see down in Eugene.

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  • sh July 20, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    12 bucks a month is not affordable? I wonder how many memberships they need to sell to make this sustainable…12 bucks is not much at all.

    I love this idea in a general sense (carving out space and visibility for transportation bikes, cyclist amentities, safe parking, etc.) and can visualize it being convenient and friendly to those in the near area, but i do agree with tonyt\’s question, have they heard from a percentage of people who have identified it as something they\’d genuinely use? I THINK people would use it, but i\’m lucky enough to need neither parking nor shower options outside of the office, so really, i\’m projecting.

    This feels like a \”build it and they will come\” project… something that people, because they\’ve never had such an service before, aren\’t asking for it directly, but once they have it, it becomes indispensable (like the bike oasis).

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  • sh July 20, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    btw, i believe tonyt and AO were verbally armwrestling over who would get to escort the certainly charming Ms. White in the last writeup of this…

    hull-oh! dissing the Bikestation will not get ya that date!

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  • Todd Boulanger July 21, 2007 at 10:00 am

    Hi Jonathan,

    A lot of our time spent on this visit was not so much taking about Bikestation 101, but how each partner could be setting the tone for things like the type of bike parking to be used in Portland (automated vs. valet vs. membership access, and fee vs. free, and closed stations (PSU) or stations open for users as a network) and also which type of card technology will emerge (influencing how transit adopts cash less cards for fares) and if such will lead to a mobility center concept here (one card many modes: bikes, car sharing, transit, car parking, etc.)

    Some clarifications for the article:
    - the City (in our meeting with Jay and Doug) told us that the old Powell\’s site is no longer an option, but they are looking at another potential site ~3 blocks away;
    - the McCalls site would be a BikeRepublic site (they are taking the lead thru the RFP), with Bikestation [potentially] being invited to partner with the parking and membership access components – if it becomes a BikeRepublic cafe/ recreation station;
    - Trimet is looking at the bikestation concept out at some of the their suburban P+R sites (get more of those bikes off the MAX/ while getting more bikes to the P+R vs. SOV cars) – 3+ years out;
    - the Lloyd site is very new and an exciting possibility;
    - no update on the First and Main site; and
    - there is an initial discussion for enhanced bike parking at the Riverwest project in Vancouver, WA

    An stay tuned for the next Bikestations to open in Tempe AZ and Washington DC.

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  • Mr. Viddy July 21, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    I see the positives but the negative aspect of such a venue might be ever increasing fees which will cause a drop in membership and ultimately a failure of the program. And if that happens, Portland might never recover and this wonderful concept will be lost to us.

    Either way is a moot point. I live in Beaverton so I\’ll never see something like this unless I move into Portland itself. Rob Drake is like a pile of wet clay.

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  • eli bishop July 22, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    i\’d prefer to see incentives to create more, and safer, bike parking at all locations. i want to be able to bike directly to my destination.

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  • Todd Boulanger July 24, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Here are some new links for developers wishing to learn about providing better bike parking at transit hubs or large developments:

    http://bikestation.org/pdf/BS_Marketing_Two_Broch_vert_v6.pdf

    http://bikestation.org/pdf/bikestation%20services.pdf

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