managed by the City of Portland.
Beginning July 1st, prices to rent a bike locker from the City of Portland will go up by over 100% — from $45 to $95 at the six-month rate.
The increases are a part of a slew of higher fees on everything from sidewalk cafe application fees to towing services in the City’s 2009-2010 budget that they expect will generate over $2.3 million in revenue in the coming fiscal year. According to budget documents, the City provides many services whose current fees do not “provide full cost recovery for the programs they support.”
The bike locker rental program is one of them.
“Those of us who rent bike lockers form the City of Portland are outraged by the recent fee increase that doubles or rent! Is this any way to encourage biking to work?”
— Jeff Creel
Currently, the City of Portland provides bike lockers at a cost of $25 for three months or $45 for six months with a refundable key deposit of $80.
On July 1st, those rates will go up to $50 for three months, $95 for six months and $200 for a full year. The key deposit will also increase to $95.
The City says the higher fees for bike lockers are long overdue. The fees have not been increased since 1995 and Parking Control Manager Ramon Corona says the bulk of it will go toward maintenance.
“We don’t have any funding to clean them and we don’t have the money. We’ve tried volunteers, but that’s not a consistent thing,” said Corona.
In addition to locker upkeep, Corona said they also need more funds to relocate existing lockers to better locations. Of the 209 lockers they currently manage, 10% of them are empty (TriMet also oversees a few lockers, usually near their MAX light right stations). Corona wants to relocate those unused lockers and also buy news ones in places where demand exists (he says they have a long waiting list of where to put them).
in a parking garage on
SW 3rd is well worth it.
(Photo: John McLaren)
Another cost the City has to deal with, Corona said, are the locks. Only one locksmith in town can work on them and they can’t be swapped out. “So we’re at the mercy of his schedule and prices.”
As for the key deposit increase (from $80 to $95), Corona says, “People lose keys a lot.”
On May 28th, the Bureau of Transportation sent a letter to all current locker renters explaining the fee increases. So far, two of the people who got that letter have contacted us to share their opinions.
Jeff Creel wrote in to say that, “Those of us who rent bike lockers form the City of Portland are outraged by the recent fee increase that doubles or rent! Is this any way to encourage biking to work?”
Creel sent a letter to the city stating that due to the price increase, “I am now left looking for an alternative as the price is now prohibitive.
“If anything,” Creel wrote, “bike lockers should a free service subsidized by automobiles as a way of decreasing our collective carbon footprint….So far I have talked to 3 people that will be leaving their lockers as a result of this fee increase.”
John McLaren has rented the same bike locker — just one block from the Bally Gym he goes to in Southwest Portland — for two-and-a-half years. McLaren said the locker’s security gives him peace of mind: “It’s a tremendous convenience,” he wrote.
Like the outrage expressed by Mr. Creel, McLaren feels the fee increases are “bad news,” but, with the City’s budget woes, he’s also not surprised to see it happen. “I still regard the locker as a great bargain and intend to keep it.”
Ramon Corona with Parking Operations says they’d like to expand the program, but bureaucratic hurdles remain. Corona says the bike locker program is “kind of an orphan” and that it was “handed off” to his department after PBOT’s bike program was dismantled years ago. “I don’t have support from anywhere else and I’m not a biker so we’re trying to make this work.”
— Learn more about the City of Portland bike locker rental program here.