Downtown bike station for Chicago

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Paul Turner, Jun 13, 2003.

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  1. Paul Turner

    Paul Turner Guest

    This story from today's Chicago Tribune. I thought cyclists from other cities might be interested
    and might have comments about similar facilities elsewhere.

    --------------------
    Bike depot plan may turn commute into easy ride
    --------------------

    By Gary Washburn Tribune staff reporter

    June 13, 2003

    Mayor Richard Daley, perhaps Chicago's most notable cycling advocate and certainly the one with
    the most clout, plans to take the city to a new level of bicycle-friendliness with a downtown
    "bike station."

    The station, expected to cost up to $2 million, is being planned for Millennium Park. Cyclists will
    be able to pedal in, check their bikes, grab a shower, change clothes, have a cup of coffee and go
    to downtown jobs or run errands, knowing their rides will be there when they return.

    Bicycle rentals and repairs also will be offered in the 10,000-square-foot station, to be in
    the northeast corners of Levels 5 and 6 of the park's garage. The station will accommodate
    about 400 bikes.

    Separately, officials are planning a secure outdoor area next to the garage where up to 300 bikes
    can be checked during big downtown events, such as Taste of Chicago and music festivals. It would
    replace the temporary "corrals" now in use.

    "This is the most exciting project I've worked on since I came here," said Ben Gomberg, the city's
    bicycle program coordinator. "Everything is tying together--the lakefront trail, the bike lanes
    we're putting in and connections with public transit.

    "This is another project in realizing the mayor's dream to make Chicago the most bicycle-friendly
    city in the United States," Gomberg said.

    Daley has taken heat for steep cost overruns at Millennium Park, now partly open at Randolph Street
    and Michigan Avenue. But funding for the bike station comes from the federal government under a
    program to ease congestion and improve air quality.

    The city has received one $950,000 grant and will seek additional funds from the same pot of money
    to cover the project's entire cost, said Brian Steele, a spokesman for the city's Transportation
    Department.

    "The storage areas will be free, but we are looking into possibly doing some type of charge, perhaps
    a membership-type arrangement, for use of shower and locker facilities," Steele said.

    The city will seek bidders to operate the rental and repair service and, separately, a coffee and
    juice bar.

    The Chicago architectural firm Muller & Muller last month won a $120,000 contract to design the
    station, to open by next Memorial Day.

    Besides serving people who use bikes to get downtown, the station will be available to other
    commuters, particularly those who arrive at the Metra terminal at Randolph and Michigan and bike the
    last leg of their routes to North Michigan Avenue, for example, or the West Loop, Gomberg said.

    "It is not unreasonable for someone to take the [train] in, pick up the bike they stored overnight,
    go on their way and at the end of the day drop off the bike and head home."

    Other potential users may live in downtown apartments and condominiums without storage space
    for bicycles.

    Downtown visitors who want to ride along the lakefront could use the new station's rental bikes,
    officials said.

    "That's something we think would really work," said Nick Jackson, director of planning for the
    Chicago Bicycle Federation. "It will be nice to have a [rental] location downtown."

    Jackson said bike stations have been used in Europe for years and are in place or planned in U.S.
    cities such as Denver; Los Angeles; and Berkeley, Long Beach and Palo Alto, Calif.

    Bikes have come a long way in Chicago since Daley became mayor in 1989, Jackson said. The mayor is
    an avid cyclist who sometimes goes for 100-mile rides near his Michigan summer home.

    "He has been a huge factor and he has made a big impact," Jackson said.

    Hundreds of bike racks have been installed citywide and 75 miles of bike lanes have sprung up on
    city streets, with 25 more miles planned by next year. Meanwhile, the CTA has outfitted its buses
    with bike racks and allows bicycles to be brought aboard trains during most of the day.

    A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday at the Chicago Cultural Center to discuss the "Bike 2010
    Plan," the next phase of citywide improvements.

    On Friday, meanwhile, Daley is expected to speak at the annual Bike to Work rally in the Loop even
    as the city prepares for Sunday's Bike the Drive, a ride sponsored by the bicycle federation that is
    expected to attract up to 18,000 cyclists. Thanks to Daley, they will have exclusive early-morning
    use of Lake Shore Drive.

    Copyright (c) 2003, Chicago Tribune
     
    Tags:


  2. Bikerider7

    Bikerider7 Guest

    Paul Turner <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > This story from today's Chicago Tribune. I thought cyclists from other cities might be interested
    > and might have comments about similar facilities elsewhere.

    There are several such bike-stations in California -- Long Beach, Berkeley BART, Palo Alto Caltrain.
    There are also plans for bike-stations at Fruitvale BART and the San Francisco Financial District.

    The biggest challenge is covering the operating expenses. For a small-time operation like Berkeley's
    (which parks a few hundred bikes per day), the cost comes to a couple bucks per bike. This amount is
    covered by a grant. Personally, I view this price as a bargain since car parking at BART stations is
    a _lot_ more than that ($30k per space just in construction costs) but coming up with the funding is
    always the biggest challenge. One possible solution is combining the bike parking with a bike-shop
    operation where the shop owner parks bikes in exchange for reduced rent.

    Overseas, it is a totally different story. Train stations in Japan and many European countries are
    overflowing with bicycles and bike stations in Germany, Denmark, Holland, and Japan dwarf any of the
    tiny California operations. The bike-stations in Japan are the most impressive: giant multistory
    parking garages filled with thousands of bikes -- and completely automated.


    >
    > --------------------
    > Bike depot plan may turn commute into easy ride
    > --------------------
    >
    > By Gary Washburn Tribune staff reporter
    >
    > June 13, 2003
    >
    > Mayor Richard Daley, perhaps Chicago's most notable cycling advocate and certainly the one with
    > the most clout, plans to take the city to a new level of bicycle-friendliness with a downtown
    > "bike station."
    >
    > The station, expected to cost up to $2 million, is being planned for Millennium Park. Cyclists
    > will be able to pedal in, check their bikes, grab a shower, change clothes, have a cup of coffee
    > and go to downtown jobs or run errands, knowing their rides will be there when they return.
    >
    > Bicycle rentals and repairs also will be offered in the 10,000-square-foot station, to be in
    > the northeast corners of Levels 5 and 6 of the park's garage. The station will accommodate
    > about 400 bikes.
    >
    > Separately, officials are planning a secure outdoor area next to the garage where up to 300 bikes
    > can be checked during big downtown events, such as Taste of Chicago and music festivals. It would
    > replace the temporary "corrals" now in use.
    >
    > "This is the most exciting project I've worked on since I came here," said Ben Gomberg, the city's
    > bicycle program coordinator. "Everything is tying together--the lakefront trail, the bike lanes
    > we're putting in and connections with public transit.
    >
    > "This is another project in realizing the mayor's dream to make Chicago the most bicycle-friendly
    > city in the United States," Gomberg said.
    >
    > Daley has taken heat for steep cost overruns at Millennium Park, now partly open at Randolph
    > Street and Michigan Avenue. But funding for the bike station comes from the federal government
    > under a program to ease congestion and improve air quality.
    >
    > The city has received one $950,000 grant and will seek additional funds from the same pot of money
    > to cover the project's entire cost, said Brian Steele, a spokesman for the city's Transportation
    > Department.
    >
    > "The storage areas will be free, but we are looking into possibly doing some type of charge,
    > perhaps a membership-type arrangement, for use of shower and locker facilities," Steele said.
    >
    > The city will seek bidders to operate the rental and repair service and, separately, a coffee and
    > juice bar.
    >
    > The Chicago architectural firm Muller & Muller last month won a $120,000 contract to design the
    > station, to open by next Memorial Day.
    >
    > Besides serving people who use bikes to get downtown, the station will be available to other
    > commuters, particularly those who arrive at the Metra terminal at Randolph and Michigan and
    > bike the last leg of their routes to North Michigan Avenue, for example, or the West Loop,
    > Gomberg said.
    >
    > "It is not unreasonable for someone to take the [train] in, pick up the bike they stored
    > overnight, go on their way and at the end of the day drop off the bike and head home."
    >
    > Other potential users may live in downtown apartments and condominiums without storage space for
    > bicycles.
    >
    > Downtown visitors who want to ride along the lakefront could use the new station's rental bikes,
    > officials said.
    >
    > "That's something we think would really work," said Nick Jackson, director of planning for the
    > Chicago Bicycle Federation. "It will be nice to have a [rental] location downtown."
    >
    > Jackson said bike stations have been used in Europe for years and are in place or planned in U.S.
    > cities such as Denver; Los Angeles; and Berkeley, Long Beach and Palo Alto, Calif.
    >
    > Bikes have come a long way in Chicago since Daley became mayor in 1989, Jackson said. The mayor is
    > an avid cyclist who sometimes goes for 100-mile rides near his Michigan summer home.
    >
    > "He has been a huge factor and he has made a big impact," Jackson said.
    >
    > Hundreds of bike racks have been installed citywide and 75 miles of bike lanes have sprung up on
    > city streets, with 25 more miles planned by next year. Meanwhile, the CTA has outfitted its buses
    > with bike racks and allows bicycles to be brought aboard trains during most of the day.
    >
    > A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday at the Chicago Cultural Center to discuss the "Bike
    > 2010 Plan," the next phase of citywide improvements.
    >
    > On Friday, meanwhile, Daley is expected to speak at the annual Bike to Work rally in the Loop even
    > as the city prepares for Sunday's Bike the Drive, a ride sponsored by the bicycle federation that
    > is expected to attract up to 18,000 cyclists. Thanks to Daley, they will have exclusive
    > early-morning use of Lake Shore Drive.
    >
    >
    > Copyright (c) 2003, Chicago Tribune
     
  3. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "bikerider7" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > There are several such bike-stations in California -- Long Beach, Berkeley BART, Palo Alto
    > Caltrain. There are also plans for bike-stations at Fruitvale BART and the San Francisco Financial
    > District.

    Yup. Try www.bikestation.org

    > The biggest challenge is covering the operating expenses. For a small-time operation like
    > Berkeley's (which parks a few hundred bikes per day), the cost comes to a couple bucks per bike.
    > This amount is covered by a grant. Personally, I view this price as a bargain since car parking at
    > BART stations is a _lot_ more than that ($30k per space just in construction costs) but coming up
    > with the funding is always the biggest challenge. One possible solution is combining the bike
    > parking with a bike-shop operation where the shop owner parks bikes in exchange for reduced rent.

    Two bucks a day to safely store a bike is an excellent value. I'd certainly be willing to pay that
    in downtown Long Beach or Berkeley! It's no different than a locker at a ski area. I'm pleasantly
    surprised the costs are that low. But I'm also glad someone cares enough to cover this with a grant.

    > Overseas, it is a totally different story. Train stations in Japan and many European countries are
    > overflowing with bicycles and bike stations in Germany, Denmark, Holland, and Japan dwarf any of
    > the tiny California operations. The bike-stations in Japan are the most impressive: giant
    > multistory parking garages filled with thousands of bikes -- and completely automated.

    I've seen Japanese bike parking where bikes hang on a moving overhead rack, like a dry cleaner's.

    One thing I'd like to see is bike racks *inside* malls. Bike racks at malls are usually perfectly
    situated for drive-by theft and vandalism. There's no reason people couldn't walk their bikes
    inside, where thieves and vandals are less likely to mess with them, in front of other people. Mall
    managers tend to be buttheads about this kind of thing though. The local mall here hardly has
    anywhere to lock a bike outside. Why not devote one of the many vacant stores to bike parking? Or at
    least put something to lock to in front of the door, not only where it's convenient, but where it's
    in plain view. Oh well, just one more reason for me not to shop at malls and big-box stores...

    Matt O.
     
  4. Zoot Katz

    Zoot Katz Guest

    Sat, 14 Jun 2003 00:01:44 GMT, <[email protected]>, "Matt O'Toole"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >One thing I'd like to see is bike racks *inside* malls. Bike racks at malls are usually perfectly
    >situated for drive-by theft and vandalism. There's no reason people couldn't walk their bikes
    >inside, where thieves and vandals are less likely to mess with them, in front of other people. Mall
    >managers tend to be buttheads about this kind of thing though. The local mall here hardly has
    >anywhere to lock a bike outside. Why not devote one of the many vacant stores to bike parking? Or
    >at least put something to lock to in front of the door, not only where it's convenient, but where
    >it's in plain view. Oh well, just one more reason for me not to shop at malls and big-box stores...
    >
    >Matt O.

    A mall would have to be persuaded it was losing significant numbers of 'desirable' clients by not
    providing bicycle parking or be legislated into providing a minimum.

    Even those who do provide bike racks give little thought to their placement.

    Most often fault is that the rack is situated close to and parallel to a wall. Turning the rack
    ninety degrees would double it's convenient capacity or provide the same amount of parking with a
    smaller rack.

    I've seen racks so close to a wall that, with a U-lock, you could secure nothing but the
    front wheel.

    One of my favourites is when the bike parking leaves the saddles directly under the drip line of a
    roof overhang.

    The idea of vacant stores being used for bike parking is sound in that it has potential to add life
    to the dead zones in an otherwise thriving mall. Ideally they'd be close to an entrance which would
    also seem to be desirable and therefore expensive locations. Being displaced by'paying tenants might
    alienate clients who had come to rely on the space.
    --
    zk
     
  5. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Zoot Katz" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > A mall would have to be persuaded it was losing significant numbers of 'desirable' clients by not
    > providing bicycle parking or be legislated into providing a minimum.

    Even if you could make the case they'd never give you the satisfaction. These people fly by the seat
    of their pants and the petty power trip of being king of their little kingdom. And they won't be
    told what to do.

    > Even those who do provide bike racks give little thought to their placement.

    If thought is given, it's to keep the unsightly things away from the main entrance. The same applies
    to bus stops. In a mall manager's eyes, bicycles and public transportation are for losers and
    lowlifes who can't afford cars, and every mall manager wants to pretend he caters only to "upscale"
    customers.

    > Most often fault is that the rack is situated close to and parallel to a wall. Turning the rack
    > ninety degrees would double it's convenient capacity or provide the same amount of parking with a
    > smaller rack.

    Yes, but it would stick out more prominently. Gotta figure out a way to hide that yucky bike rack.

    > I've seen racks so close to a wall that, with a U-lock, you could secure nothing but the
    > front wheel.

    > One of my favourites is when the bike parking leaves the saddles directly under the drip line of a
    > roof overhang.

    Both of these situations apply to almost every public bike rack in this area, which is relatively
    bike-friendly (it's a university town).

    > The idea of vacant stores being used for bike parking is sound in that it has potential to add
    > life to the dead zones in an otherwise thriving mall. Ideally they'd be close to an entrance which
    > would also seem to be desirable and therefore expensive locations. Being displaced by'paying
    > tenants might alienate clients who had come to rely on the space.

    A lot of these mall owners are kidding themselves that they'll ever get tenants in these spaces.
    Most of the time they're doing anything they can to make it look less dead. And I think bike users
    who came to rely on such a space would be happy to have it, even for a short time, even if it had
    to be moved.

    We have a wonderful local bike trail (a rail-trail) that terminates at the mall. Many people use it
    to commute to work, either by bike or just walking. However, from where the trail ends, you have to
    ride all the way around the mall to find a bike rack.

    Matt O.
     
  6. John Everett

    John Everett Guest

    On Fri, 13 Jun 2003 08:27:49 -0500, Paul Turner <[email protected]> wrote:

    >This story from today's Chicago Tribune. I thought cyclists from other cities might be interested
    >and might have comments about similar facilities elsewhere.

    As a cyclist and Chicago area resident I'm happy Daley takes an interest in our needs. As I pilot
    I'm still pissed he had Meigs Field demolished. :-(

    jeverett3<AT>earthlink<DOT>net http://home.earthlink.net/~jeverett3
     
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