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Ford GoBike opponents voice concerns with bikeshare stations

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A FordGoBike was set on fire in Oakland. (Courtesy Instagram user keephoodsyours)

Merchants are demanding a Ford GoBike kiosk be removed from Bernal Heights as part of voiced opposition to the program in some parts of San Francisco.

Ford GoBike bikeshare stations also continue to draw vandalism in the Bay Area.

This opposition, voiced at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday, may be the first time Ford GoBike opposition has spilled into an open government meeting.

In June, Ford GoBike launched its newest expansion, providing 3,500 blue bikes available to be rented, or “shared,” by smartphone app. That expansion was met with opposition from neighbors and merchants near Mission District’s 24th Street in community meetings.

At the SFMTA meeting on Tuesday, Ani Rivera, director of Galería De La Raza and a co-coordinator at the Mission Bernal Merchants Association, decried the lack of outreach on the part of Motivate, which administers Ford GoBike.

Kevin Cline, an owner of both Rock Bar and The Front Porch in San Francisco, said a Ford GoBike kiosk near his restaurant on 29th Street prompted drivers to increasingly double park.

“We’re not entirely against bikeshare programs,” he told the SFMTA board. “I do resent a complete lack of outreach. I didn’t get a letter or phone call.”

Cline requested the kiosk “be removed immediately until Ford makes an effort to reach out.”
The SFMTA board cut off discussion of Ford GoBike because the topic wasn’t on the agenda for the meeting. However, board members seemed to be in support of merchants, and pledged to discuss the topic at their next meeting.

“I think this is unacceptable,” said Malcolm Heinicke, who sits on the SFMTA board. “I’m glad you folks told us about this. This isn’t just going away.”

Ford GoBike kiosks have increasingly attracted vandalism, from slashed tires to paint dumped on kiosks. Just this week, one Ford GoBike in Oakland was set on fire and captured on video via Instagram.

“Our local team of over 100 people works around the clock to make sure that Ford GoBike is working well for our thousands of daily riders,” said Emily Stapleton, general manager of the Ford GoBike program, in a written statement. “Every time a station is vandalized or in need of maintenance, our team is out there within hours to repair bikes and clean stations.”

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