LONG BEACH, CA (BRAIN)—Bikestation is preparing to unveil its latest locations in the cities of Claremont and Covina this month. Both will be supported by local retailers and are located along the Metrolink commuter rail that stretches across the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
The stations provide the 45,000 rail passengers who commute annually secure, long-term bike parking and hopefully will encourage others to consider taking the rail and completing their commute on bike, according to Andrea White-Kjoss, president and CEO of Bikestation, a division of Mobis Transportation Alternatives.
“About 30 percent of Bikestation facility users were drivers before,” White-Kjoss said. “Our vision is to have a network of facilities at every transit stop and downtown development as well as college campuses.”
A lofty goal but one that seems within reach as cities across California and the nation at large search for ways to reduce traffic and car emissions. White-Kjoss said that the rate of growth in Bikestations has sped up in the last couple of years. In California alone, plans are underway to open two dozen over the next three to five years, she said. The city of Santa Monica is looking at installing three alongside its popular Third Street Promenade.
The first Bikestation opened in 1996 in Long Beach. Now, nine facilities dot California, Washington State and the District of Columbia. “California has been a leader and is certainly a place we’re focused on but the East Coast is next,” she said. “The [new] Washington, D.C. Bikestation opened the flood gates.”
The Long Beach, California, company with a staff of 20 works with cities and local agencies in the planning and development of the facilities, offering operational, funding, design and project management services.
Often, local retailers get the ball rolling. White-Kjoss said that was the case with the new Claremont Bikestation. Brian Cox of Jax Bicycles, an eight-store Southern California chain, first approached her about opening one at the National Bike Summit last year, she said. Jax will offer repair services at the new Claremont Bikestation across the street from its store. And Bikestation is partnering with Covina Cyclery to support its other location.
“These retailers understand that it’s not competition; it’s synergy,” White-Kjoss said. “The same thing goes for the Palo Alto Bikestation. We’re interested in working with more retailers.”
Funding to build the Covina station came from the city, and funds from the Caltrans Bicycle Transportation Account covered most of the cost for the build out of the Claremont station, with a small match coming from the city, she said. But cities can tap into several different local and district funds to cover costs, she said. Most Bikestations are a result of public and private ventures, she added.
The Bikestations are designed to function on a “hub and spoke” type of system, White-Kjoss said, where a main, staffed location will support the other “spoke” facilities, which are unstaffed but provide members with 24/7 access to bike parking. Besides bike parking, some offer bike rentals, showers, sell small parts and accessories such as lights, locks, tubes and tires, provide tools and a stand for riders to work on their bikes, and repair services. Memberships for 24/7 access run about $100 a year.
“We’re not a bike co-op but we offer communities that service,” White-Kjoss said.
The grand opening of the Claremont and Covina Bikestations is Feb. 24 at 8 a.m. Festivities will begin at the Metrolink station at Claremont Depot in downtown Claremont.