(Cross posted at Bay City Urbanist)
On tonight's meeting agenda the council is being asked by staff to approve a contract for the construction of two Bike Station style facilities to be part of parking garages 7 and 8. This project is grant funded, and does not come out of the City's general operating budget. For those unfamiliar with these types of facilities, they provide indoor secure bike parking with an attendant for free or a nominal fee.
The Bike Station in Long Beach provides free bike parking during business hours, and paying members can secure their bikes overnight. Usually basic bike maintenance and other services are available. They're most ideal for those looking for safe long term parking, say making a whole day of shopping, or going to the movies, since the longer you leave a bike unattended at an outdoor rack the greater your chance of attracting a thief. The Long Beach facility functions synergisticly with the light rail line, and gives people looking to take a bike for the first leg of their journey a secure place to leave their bike so that their wheels and components arent' striped when they return. I imagine these facilities will get a lot of use in Santa Monica given just how many people are biking here already, and I imagine once the expo line comes to Santa Monica, they will be even more popular.
While I am excited these facilities are coming to Santa Monica, they do not replace the need for convenient bike racks spread around the city for short term parking trips, directly near places of business. New bike racks have been going in around town, and apparently more are sitting waiting to be installed, so hopefully we will see some real progress soon in permanent bike parking offerings. The Santa Monica bike valet program at special events is great, but for the day to day bike commuter, we also need secure bike parking everyday, and everywhere in the city.