Bike lockers could start occupying San Francisco parking spaces

San Francisco could become the first major city in the U.S. to install collective residential bicycle lockers in parking spaces, with plans being considered for Nob Hill, Hayes Valley, Inner Sunset and other neighborhoods.

That’s one of a number of recommendations in the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Strategy for Long Term Bicycle Parking study completed this month. These kinds of bike lockers are in use in European cities such as London and Rotterdam, Netherlands.

“The initial phase should be the installation of two to four facilities followed by an evaluation of their use and benefit,” the study said of the collective bike lockers. “This strategy recommends that these facilities operate with an electronic, on-demand system, at least initially, to allow turnover and use to be optimized and to help ensure that the lockers are used to permanently store bikes.”

Their use would be restricted to residents who live in the buildings nearest the structures. The study recommends testing these facilities where there is high bike usage and high rates of bike theft, such as the Mission district, Inner Sunset, Duboce Triangle, Hayes Valley, and north of downtown in Nob Hill and North Beach.

“If collective lockers prove successful, the SFMTA should develop an application process for future implementation of collective bicycle lockers similar to the existing bicycle corral application process,” the study said. “Interested property owners could apply to have a collective bicycle locker located in front of their property and agree to maintain the area free of debris.”

In total the study identifies between $4.2 million and $11.8 million in bike-parking capital projects. That would be for such things as 86 bike lockers, including an upgrade of the 52 in existing transit agency parking garages; five unattended areas like at the Transbay Terminal, agency parking garages and West Portal; and three attended pop-up bike stations that would offer amenities such as repairs, sales and rentals.

The report comes amid increasing pressure to curb a rise in bike thefts and to create adequate infrastructure that would encourage biking and meet demand. Last month, the Board of Supervisors imposed a goal of reducing bike thefts by 50 percent in the next several years. Of the 2 million daily trips taken in The City using all modes of transport, 75,000 occur by bike. The City only has 3,000 public-use sidewalk parking racks, according to a city planner.

Increasing bicycling is a significant goal as San Francisco’s population grows. By 2018, The City hopes to have 50 percent of all trips by car and the other half by public transit, biking, walking or taxi.

Long Term Bicycle Parking Strategy

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