A key piece of the decades-long vision for the Lloyd District came into focus this morning when the Lloyd Cycle Station – and its 600 secure bike parking spaces – opened to the public.
We shared the lowdown on the the Cycle Station earlier this month and today I attended the grand opening. To refresh your memory this facility is part of the Hassalo on Eighth development that has arisen on a former surface parking lot on the 700 block of NE Multnomah. There are three new buildings in this development and they all strongly encourage a low-car lifestyle among their tenants. Along with an adjacent MAX light rail line and one of Portland’s best protected bike lanes (on NE Multnomah), Hassalo residents now have their choice of 1,200 bike parking spaces. Compare that to just 328 auto parking spaces and you can see why car ownership is only optional here.
Before the ribbon was cut this morning, American Assets Trust Vice President Wade Lange said, “Our architects took a code requirement [for bike parking] and turned it into infrastructure that’s unparalleled in North America.”
Lange, whose company owns and manages the Hassalo project (and many other buildings in the district), said he hopes everyone who works, lives, or bikes in the Lloyd will take advantage of the new Cycle Station. It’s open to members 24-hours a day and it offers free self-service bike repair, showers (for you and your bike!), locker rooms, towel service, valet (during business hours), a snack vending machine, and even a small lounge with chairs and a television.
Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat also spoke at the event. She said the Cycle Station reminds her of similar facilities in Copenhagen and other world-class biking cities in Europe. “We’re going through rapid growth in Portland, and people want to move here for our cycling infrastructure… This development will play a huge role in that culture shift,” she said. Treat also added that this type of bike parking is complementary to the growth in cycling that will come with the launch of bike share next month and new cycle tracks she plans to build throughout the city.
For U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, being on hand at this morning’s opening was a chance to reflect on the past. As a Portland city commissioner in the 1990s, Blumenauer recalled then Mayor Bud Clark asking him, “What are we going to do with the Lloyd District?” “A few years ago this was several acres of concrete,” Blumenauer said today. The Hassalo project and the Lloyd Cycle Station, he added, “are emblematic of how we want to develop as a community.” Blumenauer said getting more people to use bicycles is a “secret weapon” to reduce congestion and to make housing more affordable.
And judging by the quality of the Cycle Station it shouldn’t take too much arm-twisting to encourage bike use.
Once you roll onto the plaza on the ground floor you are whisked underground by a glass elevator. A ramp then leads you into the entrance of the Cycle Station where glass sliding doors swoosh open automatically. You can either roll directly into the bike racks or swing by the repair station to tighten a few bolts. A foot-activated air pump is also available for use. If you need to catch up on the news and chill after or before your ride, you can plop down into a big chair, put your feet up and watch some TV.
If you don’t want to hassle with anything, a valet parking attendant will meet you in the lobby upstairs and hand you a tag for your bike that you can pick up after your visit.
Before I left I ran into Lange again. I ribbed him about the Go By Bike comparison. There are a lot of transportation options in the Lloyd District I joked, but South Waterfront also has the aerial tram so they have the Lloyd beat. “Well,” Lange quickly replied, “We’re going to get that bridge on 7th over I-84. The city wants to make 7th Avenue a bike street — just imagine going through into the central eastside. It’ll be huge!”
A grand vision of the Lloyd District as the most people-friendly, low-car zone in the entire city is alive and well.
Disclaimer: Hassalo on Eighth is a BikePortland advertiser.
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – email@example.com
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