After neighborhood pushback, first Ford GoBike stations headed to Marina District

Ford GoBike rentals are bound to the Marina District for the very first time.

That’s the culmination of a half-year long tussle between Supervisor Catherine Stefani and Motivate, the entity behind Ford GoBike. Lyft bought Motivate last year.

Stefani announced she blocked Ford GoBike stations from being built in the neighborhood in a newsletter to neighbors in July last year, citing a lack of outreach from the company that had angered neighbors who wanted a say in where the stations would go — or if they could be built in the neighborhood at all.

Now, Stefani confirmed she’s in support of the first two stations set to be built in the Marina, though she was still cautious on Lyft’s relationship with the neighborhood.

“We need more transportation options including bikes to combat congestion on our streets,” Stefani said in a statement, “but the companies operating them need to perform proper outreach and act as good neighbors.”

The two stations will tentatively arrive in March. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said the permits would “likely” be awarded based on recent positive feedback, and with Supervisor Stefani’s blessing it would take exceptional, last-minute opposition to halt the permit the process.

And in what was a surprise to some bike advocates, one of those first stations will be perched quite close to one of the Marina District’s wealthiest — and historically oppositional — stretches, Marina Boulevard, known for its proximity to the Marina Green and its sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay.

That station will be built at Buchanan Street and Marina Boulevard, across from the Marina neighborhood Safeway and at the end of the 43-Masonic Muni route, which is also near Fort Mason. The station will also be along a popular bike route from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge.

The second Marina District station will be installed on Bay Street, near Fillmore Street, right behind Marina Middle School, which is also near the end of the 22-Fillmore Muni route.

Support for the stations was largely positive at a Friday engineering hearing at City Hall held by the SFMTA, which permits tech bike rentals.

SEE RELATED: Supes, neighbors block Ford GoBike’s citywide expansion

When told this support may have manifested into approval for the stations, tech bike rental advocate Patrick Traughber, who co-founded the group “Our Bikes SF” said “that’s excellent news!”

“It was great to have unanimous support for these two stations in the Marina,” he said. “I’m hopeful that by the end of March we’ll have these stations installed— the first in (Board of Supervisors) District 2!— after almost six years since bike share stations were first introduced.”

Traughber also added that these stations were “stuck in the city’s process for more than a year” so he is hoping for a speedier process in the future.”Demand for these two will likely be huge since they’re the only two in the area, as we are seeing with the station in North Beach,” he said.

The Marina District is one of the many neighborhoods in San Francisco which does not have any Ford GoBike stations for bike rentals accessible by mobile phone apps, which industry professionals call “bikesharing.”

An analysis by the San Francisco Examiner of proposed Ford GoBike stations, and ones allowed to be built, showed supervisors had slowed buildout of those bike docks citywide, despite a signed agreement with Lyft-owned Motivate to allow them to build in San Francisco.

This also isn’t the first bikeshare service to serve the Marina District. Dockless bikes from the Uber-owned JUMP are available in the area, though there are only 500 JUMP bikes citywide, versus thousands of Ford GoBikes, which must be parked at docks which sit in former automobile parking spaces.

joe@sfexaminer.com

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez
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