Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on March 12th, 2010 at 7:52 am
If all goes according to plan, Hillsboro (about 20 miles west of Portland) will be the first city in the Portland region to have a one-stop bike storage, shower, and locker facility — also known as a Bikestation.
While at the National Bike Summit I ran into Andrea White-Kjoss, the President and CEO of Bikestation (a division of Mobis Transportation Alternatives), who confirmed the news. I have since heard from City of Hillsboro Planning Manager Colin Cooper, who gave me more details on the project.
Cooper, a self-described “avid cyclist,” says the opportunity to build a Bikestation arose when the City of Hillsboro partnered with Tuality Hospital and Pacific University to garner funding for an “Inter-modal Transit Facility” (ITF). The ITF will be a five-level parking garage with 20,000 square feet of street-front retail, 15 electric vehicle charging stations and, what Cooper refers to as “a significant amount of bicycle parking.”
“Someone could ride in from the hinterlands and shower here prior to jumping on MAX to go to downtown, leaving their bike behind.”
— Colin Cooper, City of Hillsboro Planning Manager
Initial plans called for the bike parking to come in the form of wave racks and bike locker/boxes — but Cooper wasn’t satisfied. “I said that wasn’t enough,” Cooper recalled, so he pushed City staff to consider the Bikestation concept.
According to Cooper, the plan is to build a bike parking structure within the ITF facility that could hold 80 bicycles. The bike parking would be accessible 24/7 with an electronic key-card, it would have a men’s and women’s restroom and two shower rooms with changing areas.
According to an article in The Hillsboro Argus last fall, the complete facility will be built for $4.2 million which came through a combination of stimulus funds and Oregon State Lottery bonds.
The ITF is located on SE Baseline Road between 7th and 8th streets — just steps from the MAX Blue Line, Tuality Hospital and Pacific University’s Health Professions campus. That location makes it perfect as a multi-modal hub says Cooper. “Someone could ride in from the hinterlands and shower here prior to jumping on MAX to go to downtown, leaving their bike behind.”
From Cooper’s perspective, this project is just one piece of a puzzle he’s putting together that will vastly improve bicycling in Hillsboro. “You heard it here first… We are Holland,” says Cooper as he explains that, like Holland, the Tualatin Valley is flat and has moderate temperatures year-round. Cooper adds that he’s aligning the people and resources to “really start effecting some excellent change here in Washington County.”
Bikestation’s White-Kjoss says the new facility could help in that effort. “The leadership from the City of Hillsboro on this will help serve as a catalyst for even more bike-friendly improvements, as we’ve seen from other cities with these facilities.”
Construction of the ITF begun last fall and a grand opening is expected to happen this August. The Bikestation piece of the project does not have a solid timeline because the City is still ironing out some budgeting issues related to its operation.
Portland has flirted with a Bikestation for years. Back in March of 2007, Andrea White-Kjoss said she was in “advanced discussions” to partner on one with the Bike Gallery as the operating partner. A few months later, White-Kjoss was “encouraged” by a visit to Portland to discuss potential locations. After that visit, Mayor Adams’ (then Transportation Commissioner) Chief of Staff Tom Miller told me a Bikestation is, “… a likely next step en route to making Portland’s transportation infrastructure as accessible as necessary.” Despite that early momentum, a Portland Bikestation has yet to materialize.