Bike parking in San Francisco has just become more secure with the grand opening of a locked bicycle parking station inside the Civic Center BART and Municipal Railway station.
The 90 new enclosed bike parking spots at Civic Center, as well as the 96 existing enclosed bike parking spots at the Embarcadero station, are only accessible to verified users with a BikeLink card.
The access card and user verification process costs $5 and then 3 cents per hour to park.
Robert Raburn, a member of the BART board of directors, said that with this secure bike parking, people will feel confident that when they leave their bike at the station it will be there when they return for it.
"I hope we will have bike stations in every station," Raburn said.
In the Bay Area, there are already tens of thousands of BikeLink customers, according to Jeffrey Lidicker, a sustainable transportation engineer for BikeLink.
BikeLink is working with regional transportation agencies to expand secure bike parking as many of their bike stations are at capacity already.
Raburn said that by 8 a.m., the secure bike parking at the MacArthur BART station in Oakland is full.
Tom Radulovich, a member of the BART board of directors and executive director of the Livable City organization, which advocates for improved design and maintenance for people walking, cycling and using public transit, said the secure stations are a step in the right direction and allow people to leave their bikes in a secure place all day or all night.
"BART and bikes compliment each other beautifully," Radulovich
However, Radulovich noted that the bike stations would be even more popular if they were Clipper card-compatible. He said he doesn't know when Clipper cards could be used at the bike stations, but suspected it still might be a number of years away.
In the meantime, a BikeLink card can be purchased online at bikelink.org or via phone at (888) 540-0546. Additionally, the cards are sold at a number of East Bay BART stations and retail establishments around the Bay Area.
Lidicker said BikeLink has developed the technology for "contactless" payment via Clipper and hopes to roll it out to the public as soon as possible, but he didn't have an estimate for when that might be implemented.
He said the company is also working on a phone-based payment
Steve Beroldo, the bike program manager at BART, said that in addition to the 90 secure bike parking spots at Civic Center, there are also 60 new bike parking spots that are accessible for free at the station and do not require a BikeLink access card.
There are now 248 bike parking spots in all at Civic Center, Beroldo said.
Funding for the Civic Center bike parking station came from San Francisco's Proposition K and Proposition AA, as well as California's Proposition 1B, according to BART officials.
Construction and upgrade costs at the station were about $650,000, BART officials said.
Beroldo said he hopes all the new parking spots will allow people to leave their bikes at the station, explaining that about a quarter of all the bikes that go on the trains are there because cyclists don't feel comfortable leaving their bikes at a station.