Holiday Sale at Western Bikeworks

Bike locker rental fees set for big increase on July 1st

Posted by on June 5th, 2009 at 10:17 am

Prices are going up on lockers
managed by the City of Portland.
(Photo: PBOT)

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.”

Story continues below

advertisement

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).

John McLaren says his locker
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.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

42 Comments
  • Oliver June 5, 2009 at 10:23 am

    What is the fee for a automobile parking space @ Tri-Met park and ride lots?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Joe June 5, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Correct me if im wrong, but the new WES
    area all the lockers at used up..last time
    I checked.

    (TriMet also oversees a few lockers, usually near their MAX light right stations), 10% of them are empty.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • GLV June 5, 2009 at 10:37 am

    What is the fee for a automobile parking space @ Tri-Met park and ride lots?

    That would be zero dollars and no cents.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • JonathanL June 5, 2009 at 10:47 am

    To #2 and 3

    There is no fee for locking your bike up to a rack at a park and ride

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Will June 5, 2009 at 10:50 am

    $95/six months for a bike locker still sounds like a good bargain to me. I would pay that for a secure, sheltered place to store my bike.

    I guess it depends on what you’re used to.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Ethan June 5, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Are they doubling the rates for the City owned (auto) parking garages? I think not. A very slight increase in that rate would put pressure towards lowering single occupancy trips downtown, provide funds to pressure wash bike lockers.

    Funny how even gov’t “professionals” do not actually do comprehensive math on the savings to the city when someone rides a bike (streets, congestion, pollution, parking demands etc) instead of driving a car. The whole point is to increase costs on activities one would like to lessen, and subsidize (if needed) the ones you want to promote. Every MAX train that goes by is a testament to this methodology . . .not sure why bikes don’t get the same love.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • KruckyBoy June 5, 2009 at 11:06 am

    The rates haven’t been raised in 14 years. It doesn’t seem like that crazy of an increase with that in mind. It’s still less than a buck a day. Seems like an absolute bargain to me and is way less than what it would cost to A. park in a city parking garage for an hour or B. park in a a private lot with a monthly fee. Some things in life cost money and it’s not the obligation of every driver out there to give every biker out there a free ride.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Colin Maher June 5, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Hi,

    If you’re interested in renting a bike locker oustside downtown Portland, there are different contacts, depending where you want to park. In downtown Portland you would contact the City of Portland: (see link in post)

    In the Lloyd District, contact Lloyd District TMA: http://www.lloydtma.com/bikemap.htm

    For MAX stations and transit centers outside Portland City Center, contact TriMet: http://www.trimet.org/howtoride/bikes/lockersavailable.htm.

    In Wilsonville, contact SMART: (503) 682-7790.

    TriMet currently administers 335 lockers, most of which are in suburban areas. To make space for those on waiting lists, we’ll be adding lockers this summer. There will also be new lockers at I-205 MAX stations as well as secure bike parking areas at PSU, Sunset TC and Beaverton TC.

    Thanks,

    Colin Maher
    TriMet
    Portland, OR

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Ed June 5, 2009 at 11:17 am

    It seems to me there will never be enough lockers for everyone who wants to use one.

    For the $95 it would cost you to rent one for 6 months you can get a bicycle. Why doesn’t trimet just rent bicycles?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • indy June 5, 2009 at 11:20 am

    The city should mandate that businesses with 50+ employees provide secure location to store bikes, and/or tax them for parking.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Scott June 5, 2009 at 11:26 am

    tough % of increase, but still seems like a great deal for 6 months of secure parking.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Schrauf June 5, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Knuckyboy – you’re confused. Taxpayers, in general, may subsidize City bike parking, but not drivers specifically.

    Nice pun, however.

    I agree the increased fee is still reasonable, but I also submit that bike facilities should be subsidized significantly more than car facilities, because the other benefits of bike transportation to society far out-balance the subsidization.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Mike June 5, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Considering the garage I use costs $200/mo., it seems like a pretty good deal.
    Even better than that is the fact that most garages have bike racks in them and do not charge for bikes. Secure? Maybe not as much as a personal lockable cube, but hey, it’s free. For a dollar more per day, you get your cube and perhaps more peace of mind.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Grimm June 5, 2009 at 11:59 am

    If I used one, I would def have some sticker shock for getting the same use for double the price. If I lived or worked downtown I would have one, as I hate leaving a nice bike downtown. But its still a decent deal to be able to ride a bike and not have to worry about theft, and have a spot that is yours to use whenever. Hopefully with the price increase they are hoping to greatly expand the secure bike parking infrastructure.

    It would be great to have a bike parking garage, where you could get a membership, or even a day use pass that was somehow much more secure than just a rack.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Zaphod June 5, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Lets get the toll booths installed on the I-5 bridge and make some real money. This locker fee is pocket change for the city yet hits individuals who use it pretty hard.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Andrew Holtz June 5, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    According to the feds’ inflation calculator, $45 in 1995 is equivalent to $63 today. So this increase is in line with inflation.

    http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • bikieboy June 5, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Just to keep up with inflation since the last fee increase in 1995, a 40% rate increase (from $25 to $35 for 3 months) would be called for.

    http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/

    The extra rental fee bump up to $50 is pretty steep, but still seems like a pretty good deal: your personal 24/7 dry, secure storage for bike and gear at less than a dollar a day.

    Why does a year’s rental ($200) cost more than 2 – 6 month payments ($190)? that just seems strange, or maybe an error?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • John Lascurettes June 5, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Okay, someone explain the math to me:
    $50 for 3 months x 4 = $200/year
    $95 for 6 months x 2 = $190/year
    $200 for 12 months = $200/year
    Why does the rate go back up for a longer rental?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Andrew Holtz June 5, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    oops. dyslexia struck.. getting 6s and 9s mixed up.

    so the increase is actually more than inflation… but considering it hasn’t been raised in over a decade and probably won’t be raised again for some years… it doesn’t seem outrageous to me.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Mark Allyn June 5, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    This may seem like a lot . . . .

    But consider yourself lucky to not have to park a car in New York City. The average monthly car parking rates in NYC are about $430.00. That’s about $2,400 for your six months!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Andrew June 5, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Its about the same as what I pay for my Lloyd TMA locker. (actually $10 more than I pay). My employer covers the monthly $15 cost. I love my locker and it’s worth every penny they pay for it:)
    So the increase seems pretty reasonable given the market rate.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Quentin June 5, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Cleaning costs? What exactly needs to be cleaned, and how often? I find it hard to believe that there is any significant amount of trash or filth generated by people who rent lockers, or at least not for the vast majority of them. Why is it that only one locksmith in the entire city is able to work on the locks? Aren’t the locksmith fees covered by the key deposit and therefore not part of the monthly rent? How much are the new lockers going to cost, and how many will be installed?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Matt Picio June 5, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    This increase is indeed long overdue, and it’s not unreasonable – The old cost worked out to less $8 a month. Compare that to downtown parking at $160 per month.

    I had a locker downtown for over 2 years, and I don’t regret that at all – I considered it very cheap for secure parking.

    If people want free covered parking, there are over 20 locations in downtown that provide bike racks under cover and sheltered from the elements.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • beth h June 5, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    @ Quentin # 21:

    In California a few years back, a fellow lost his bike when the locker next to his blew up — it seems there was a small meth lab hidden inside and on a hot day the thing blew sky-high. Not ever renting a locker myself, I’m not certain what other uses they’ve seen, though I have witnessed someone pulling sleeping bags and camping gear out of a locker in NE within the last six months. So I’ll assume there my be some clean-up involved now and then, especially on a locker whose lock has been messed with.

    I think I’d rather just spend the money on a better lock myself.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Erik June 5, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I have two of these lockers: one at work, one at school. Even with the the increase they are a still a great deal. I can ride my uber-expensive race bike and leave it locked up at PSU all day without a worry. That’s valuable.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • DJ Hurricane June 5, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Just another way the “most bike-friendly big city in America” is making biking easier. LOL.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Meghan H June 5, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    I feel very lucky to work in a building with indoor secure bike parking and a shower facility. Bike commuting would go WAY up if more building owners set aside one room in their building for this purpose. When I talk to friends about biking to work (and why they don’t), not having a decent shower on site seems to be the #1 reason.

    They’re not perfect, but these lockers are a good alternative for someone who works in a building without a storage area, even with the cost increase.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Phyfe June 5, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    If the city was smart they would make more of these available. I’ve been about 15th on a waiting list for the past six months.

    Or better yet build a real deal bike parking like they have in Japan or Amsterdam.

    Staples or garage parking is nice until you want to bring your race bike downtown than you can only hope you don’t work in an uptight building like I do (above Columbia Sportswear).

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • buzz June 5, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    A steep increase indeed, but I suppose if I had an expensive bike, I would be happy to pay that much for it.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Faux Porteur June 5, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    I don’t know much about automobile parking in downtown, I’ve never had to drive downtown for work, excuse my ignorance, but I imagine its a very different situation than secure bike storage lockers. Does the City of Portland offer/operate an automobile parking program downtown? I thought it was all for-profit private businesses. Business owners that owned parking lots and could charge whatever-the-market would bear. Their prices reflect how much it costs to maintain the lot, pay their taxes, pay their staff/security and then give them a hefty profit. These bike boxes, as I understand it, are owned/operated by the city and are placed on city property. They need little/no maintenance (much less than say, a bus shelter) since they each locker is only used by one customer at a time, usually no more than 8 or so hours a day, five times a week. I would also imagine there’s fairly low turn-over so how often would they have to be cleaned out of discarded items?

    Like I said earlier, I’m fairly in-the-dark about the whole parking downtown issue, but it does not seem fair at all to compare the prices of the two services, but, I could be totally wrong. Maybe they are fairly analogous.

    I think there should be many more secure bike lockers, they should be cheaper, they should be advertised better (many people don’t know about them) and they should have locks that regular city workers could service rather than a company that they’re “at the mercy of”.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • DJ Hurricane June 5, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    There is no doubt that the city has been able to increase prices because there is so much demand for these lockers. And there is an acute need for more. This is something that should be on the BTA’s radar.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • matthew June 5, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    mr. creel’s sense of entitlement is a sad thing. mr. mclaren seems like he has both feet planted on the real world. the bike lockers are a great value even with the rental increase. my only gripe is that there are not a whole lot more of them and maybe the lock maintenence issues. for me issue is pretty much the same as car parking. both users want clean, safe, secure and conviniently located spaces. and we should be willing to pay for these things. they are not privileges we should be afforded by anyone but ourselves.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Todd Boulanger June 5, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    As one who has had to manually clean out the Vancouver lockers…leaves butts and trash love to get sucked into closed lockers level lockers and moss loves to grow in perfed lockers (lockers with mesh sides). Annual cleaning is necessary for long term maintenance (minimize rust and organic build up) and biannual cleaning would be nice.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Brad June 6, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    What takes up half a car parking space but rents for 1/10th of the price? A bike locker. Get over yourselves and either pay the fee or lock up to a rail like everyone else. I wish that Seattle charged for them but they don’t so people just sit on them like rent controlled apartments so it’s impossible to get one, ever.

    Pay the fee and quit whining. It’s whining like this that killed it for cyclists in the state legislature this year.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • 007 June 6, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    I think it’s a good idea to raise the fee. I have seen lockers at the Overlook Park yellow line station and the lockers are always locked but not actively used. If the price is higher maybe they’ll get rented by cyclists who really need them every day.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Quentin June 7, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Brad,

    When you do the math for 335 lockers, it kinda leaves you wondering where all that money goes. Granted, $16/month ain’t very expensive, but $16/month multiplied by 335 lockers comes out to about $64,000 a year, and it just leaves you wondering what exactly is it about a bunch of boxes bolted to the ground that costs $64,000 a year.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Faux Porteur June 7, 2009 at 10:17 am

    @007 #35

    Why should the city raise the price of the lockers just so they get used “every day”? How does that logic work?

    Should a monthly bus pass be expensive so only people REALLY serious about riding the bus invest in one?

    Also, if a locker is locked, how can you tell its not being actively used? The lockers I’ve seen didn’t have windows in the sides, maybe there’s different ones at the Overlook Park station (I’ve never been there). Although it would seem silly to allow would be vandals/thieves see inside the lockers.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • KimJSCP June 7, 2009 at 11:38 am

    There are certainly many factors to consider here (many of them mentioned by previous posters) and I really don’t know whether this increase is right or not.

    But, Considering the cost of space, $190 (or $200) per year seems like a bargain. Buying that space to park a car, would cost far more (I am assuming that approximately 4 bike lockers = 1 car parking space) and even plain storage space costs more than that.

    Has vertical storage for bikes been considered? I imagine they would take only half of the ground space as the current lockers do and they would work almost as well (maybe not for meth labs or sleeping), plus I think it would be easier than the current configuration if you wanted to squeeze 2 bikes in one locker.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • old&slow June 7, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    Ask your employers if there if a spare utility closet or something where you work. Not everybody can do this, but i have stored my bike in a utility closet for years, we moved offices a few month ago and my employer lets me bring my bike in, remove the front wheel and store it behind a door in my office. A lot more employers will do this these days. I also work by the bike lockers at the WES line at Hall Blvd. and they are empty so this is probably just an issue downtown.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • es June 8, 2009 at 11:48 am

    $90 for six months is practically free. Deal.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Ray June 22, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    The PDOT bike locker 122% increase is absurd. PDOT is increasing street parking fees about 35% (from 1.25 to 1.65 hour)…it would be front page news if theye increaseed those fees 122% to the neighborhood of $2.75 an hour? They really can’t, because they need to compete with private parking at a cheaper rate. As an unemployed, full-time student, already facing sharp tuition increases in the fall, I don’t need to deepen the pain by shelling out an additional $100 over the next year to park my bike. Should they increase the fees? Probably, if the current fee schedule doesn’t cover the cost of the program. Is a 122% increase reasonable for a city that has done so much to encourage cycling? Not hardly….

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • KimJSCP June 22, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Ray, not only is it NOT absurd, but it is in line with inflation AND since 1995 street parking rates have increased 113%, while these bike locker fees are only going up 111% (not 122%).

    Additionally, bike locker users have had a reprieve from the rate increase, while parking meter users started paying “extra” in on 2-1-1998. Also, if you look back, all of the street parking rate increases HAVE been front page news.

    I don’t like the increase either, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fair or needed. But, I especially don’t like to see inaccurate arguments against the increase here, because it only serves to make us collective cyclists look like idiots.

    You can’t compare an increase covering 14 years for cyclists to an increase covering 4 years for street parking and that does not take in to consideration that you are not even comparing the same kinds of parking (short term on street versus long term off street) because last time I checked, on street parking for bikes was still free.

    Recommended Thumb up 0