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Bikestation coming to Hillsboro

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 12th, 2010 at 7:52 am

Bikestation DC-17
A new Bikestation is coming to Hillsboro.
(Photo is of Bikestation DC).
(Photo © J. Maus)

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.


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  • bikieboy March 12, 2010 at 8:13 am

    fantastic news - it truly will be "a catalyst for more bike-friendly improvements" - and better yet, more bicycling. Also, one would hope, it'll help alleviate the bike-on-MAX capacity issue to some degree.

    Kudos to City staff for not just sticking a bunch of bike racks in a garage and calling it good enough.

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  • Dick Schouten March 12, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Kudos to Hillsboro, Oregon!

    As often the case in recent years, Hillsboro blazes trails in this Region. And note that bikes aren't the only part of this story, but are instead part of a multi-prong effort using a variety of transportation modes to solve problems.

    Rifting off of Hillsboro staffer, Colin Cooper's quoted phrase, "We are Holland" (and paraphrasing a well used, Dutch soccer chant) ---- Hupp, Hillsboro, Hupp! (You go, Hillsboro.)

    Washington County Commissioner Dick Schouten (representing Aloha, Beaverton and Cooper Mountain, Oregon)

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  • Brad March 12, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Score for the 'Boro! Suck it Platinum City!

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  • Tonya March 12, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    I love it! Let's get some healthy competition among the metro area cities to really deliver on *all* modes of transportation. It seems like we've seen some very encouraging signs from Vancouver and Tigard recently as well. Portland - you gotta keep raising the bar!

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  • dpmf94 March 12, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    This is nice, it's good to know that city planning staff are fighting the good fight.

    That said, as someone who rides to the max in downtown H'bo every day, we do still have a significant legacy of bike-hostile infrastructure to overcome. Downtown is dominated by Baseline, Oak, 1st Ave and 10th Ave. These are high-volume, ODOT-administered roads filled from curb to curb with cars trying to make it through downtown as quickly as possible (think Powell or Sandy).

    It can be a challenge to find a safe spot just to cross Oak, Baseline, 1st and 10th. As a result, we have pretty much one safe street each for east-west travel (Walnut), and north-south travel (7th). Thankfully, planned bikestation is on 7th. But even on 7th, there's still no way to trigger the lights to cross Oak, Baseline, and Washington, other than riding up on the sidewalk and hitting the pedestrian signal.

    There is so much potential for non-auto travel in downtown H'bo. You can sit in the cafe on the corner of Oak and 10th and watch neighborhood people walking and biking to and from the businesses on 10th all day long, in the midst of a very auto-centered environment. Every once in a while you'll see a flashy customized bike done up in a chopper aesthetic.

    But to get to these destinations, people are overwhelmingly riding on the sidewalks, and I'm just dreading the bike/ped or bike/vehicle-in-driveway accident that this situation is asking for.

    So - yay bikestation - but as always, there's work to do to make sure there's a decent way to ride *to* the bikestation. If we can't improve the streets in downtown H'bo, the bikestation is going to feel like greenwashing for a big parking structure.

    Sigh.

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  • wsbob March 14, 2010 at 12:53 am

    dpmf94..., I enjoyed reading your impressions of Hillsboro. Living a short distance away in Beaverton for a long time, myself and my family have made many a trip to Hillsboro. From a livability perspective, it's a very interesting place to think about.

    Downtown, between 5th, Main, Washington, plus the older neighborhood north of downtown is great walking. Up there around 10th where you mentioned, where TV Highway dumps traffic into town, it's not too nice at all. Big development east of 10th alongside TV Highway for what?...a mile or so?... is the kind of suburban stressful, monotonous urban sprawl people dread.

    1st Avenue is kind of a busy street, but nothing that would intimidate someone experienced riding SW Broadway in Portland. The countryside is literally just 5 blocks away south on 1st. Takes you right to Jackson Bottoms Wetlands area, and much more countryside beyond. This area, extending south, west, and north, is a kind cycling heaven on earth. I hope Hillsboro residents in particular, but also all metro area residents...come to realize and understand just what an extraordinary resource the countryside out here is.

    A bike station seems like a great idea. An 80 bike capacity isn't so impressive, but if could be imagined that possibly represents 80, or even 40 cars off the road...not bad. Check out this photo I posted to a thread in the forums:

    Visual comparison of how much street space different modes of transportation use

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  • dpmf94 March 15, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    wsbob,

    Yes, I suppose my frustration w/ persistent infrastructure challenges did lead me to accentuate the negative.

    We have 3 things going for us in (downtown) H'bo:

    1. A walkable, human-scaled, pre-WWII downtown street grid.

    2. A population quite attuned to the economic advantages of non-SOV travel.

    3. The proximity of rural and urban amenities that you mention. It is very special to be able to ride 10 minutes one way and be in the midst of scenery, wildlife, or you-pick farms, or 10 minutes the other way and hop on the max or hit a decent shopping street.

    I hope we can make the most of these advantages, but the interaction of the state highways with the downtown street greed, and the familiar problem of essential services removed to the suburban sprawl area along TV Hwy, make it a challenge.

    At least we have a grocery store in the downtown street grid. So many suburbs have lost this, or never had it to start with...

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  • Tom Miller March 15, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Yeah, we came pretty close in 2007. In retrospect it was a good decision to back off. Bike stations are like bike share programs: exciting, relatively capital intensive, and context sensitive. We continue to monitor the real-time evolution of both concepts. When clear need, strong chance of success, and financial resources align, we'll make targeted investments. Maybe South Waterfront as part of Milwaukie LRT, for example. But don't fixate; that's just an idea.

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