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Posted by on Dec 18, 2009 in General, Transit | 11 comments

What Do You Want at a Bike Station?

Many readers will be familiar with the “bike station” concept.  There are a number of them around the country; mostly at major transit stops or hubs.  They offer secure bicycle parking, often some basic bike shop services and products (tubes, lights, etc.), usually some modest food and drink, and a few have showers, changing rooms and lockers (something certainly important in Florida).

Here’s a photo of the one in Chicago:Chicago 16

There is a federal funding source that metro Orlando might be able to compete for to include a bike station at the downtown SunRail station, but this program looks for “innovative” projects which can be studied for effectiveness.  A bike station isn’t exactly innovative, but it might be if it had some sort of unique feature or service.

So I’m calling upon the CommuteOrlando brain-trust to suggest some ideas.  What sort of features at a bike station, beyond the usual, might further improve the chances that you or an acquaintance might use it?

11 Comments

  1. An idea:

    A touch-screen kiosk that shows local businesses, parks, etc. and a map-function that shows how to get there via bike (integrated with Metro Orl bike lane maps, etc.). Allow for print-out of directions so you can take with you.

    Seems to me what you want to promote is getting people on SunRail at one location with their bikes, and then when they depart they can pick up local knowledge of places to go and things to see/do by bike ………

  2. A new bike station opened this spring at Toronto’s Union Station. Details on the official Toronto website at:

    http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/bicycle-station/

    Its not quite on the scale of the Amsterdam Centraal Station’s bike parking facility, but a nice step forward for downtown Toronto. It allows commuters from the suburbs to take the subway or regional rail trains in to Union Station and then hop on their bikes to get the rest of the way to work.

  3. great idea Mighk. I think another opportunity is the development of the property adjacent to the proposed SunRail platform, it will likely be integrated into any development. Potential for public/private partnership there beyond federal funding sources.

    Since SunRail is primarily planned for commuters, the bike station needs to serve commuters too – the intermodal connections are quite numerous – having nice facilities to change into business attire, showers, etc before heading off to their office via foot or LYMMO makes Lynx Central Station an ideal locale.

    I like the information kiosk and that too can easily be integrated with SunRail/LYNX/LYMMO info too.

    In terms of research applications…how about smart technology (RFIDs) used to track bike station participants in terms of miles ridden, times of day, etc. – to aid in the development of real time data & information regarding routes, conditions, speed, etc. It could be used for the development of better transportation modeling efforts for the bicycle mode. Something that’s constantly a challenge to calibrate/quantify.

  4. There are a number of different trip types a downtown bike station might facilitate:

    Bike to downtown; park at bike station; walk to ultimate destination.

    Bike to downtown; park at bike station; take Lymmo circulator to ultimate destination.

    Bike to downtown; park at bike station; take SunRail to ultimate destination.

    Bike to downtown; park at bike station; take bus to ultimate destination.

    Bike to downtown; take bike on SunRail to other station; bike to ultimate destination. (Won’t be parking at bike station, but might there be other reasons for visiting it?)

    Short, no-sweat bike to other SunRail station; take bike on SunRail to downtown station; park at bike station; walk, bus or Lymmo to ultimate destination. Then take a workout bike ride home.

    Any others?

  5. Funny, I was starting to think about the RFID tracking mechanism too, Laura, then got distracted…

    Will probably have to find some benefit trade-off for the privacy factor.

  6. Money is tight across the country. For a first pass, I’d be grateful for the basics: parking, air pump and maybe some basic tools (though theft is inevitable), maps and public transportation schedules, a public phone, a shower and restroom, and maybe even some modest shelter away from harsh weather.

  7. how about free bike maintenance/repair, discount parts, bike maintenance and repair classes, free water and coffee, legal services, etc.

    like ascobike:

    http://www.streetfilms.org/ascobike/

  8. I love the idea of a shower – might encourage commuting for people that don’t have access to a shower at work.

    On a smaller scale, I also love the idea of tools, air, maybe tubes for sale – stuff you may need but don’t want to carry with you.

    If there were bike rentals, it would be cool to see some potential for child-carrying. It was a bummer to go to DC and see bike rentals, but no child seats.

    Wow – I would love to see something like this here!

  9. That’s a great idea about child seats…we’re the tourist capital of the world…

    I, like Mighk, were assuming the basics would be included…but yes, that should be reiterated as well. I like the idea of 24 access to members, kinda like belonging to a fitness center. Regular access for business hours where anyone can park their bike for the day, get a bite to eat, take a shower, etc…but members can access the facility with a pass card so that they can retrieve a bike, take a shower, etc. I think DC has bike stations like that…where they’re membership based so that folks can have 24 hr access.

    A major issue for the train and buses is that buses stop running at midnight or so, the train may not run into the wee hours either. Bikes can be used anytime. There is no automobile parking planned at the downtown SunRail stops. Which I believe to be a good thing.

  10. Mighk said: A bike station isn’t exactly innovative, but it might be if it had some sort of unique feature or service.

    I think the term “innovative” for this circumstance would apply. This town has never seen anything like this. This would be innovative for us whatever services are available. I like the ideas for innovative services and feel that we should make it as cool as it can be, and i realize for funding purposes it would have to be “innovative”. We should not lose sight of the fact that just having such a place would be innovative in it’s own right.

    I watched the “asco bike” piece and love the idea of the security and onsite repair. There was also mention of refreshments offered. There, in Brazil, coffee is a big deal. Here, in Orlando, orange juice is a big thing. If there were a membership fee needed to support this you could offer inexpensive services such as these to attract more use. I would use it if the need arose.

  11. I was using “innovative” from the standpoint of federal funding, not our local context.

    The types of innovations the feds would like to see might involve things like data collection, new intermodal features, or ways to improve/increase use of existing facilities.