Electronic bike parking may deter BART commuters

Bicycle riders will be able to park their two-wheelers at the Embarcadero BART station for longer periods of time, but some worry the new system will increase bike thefts.

Since the transit agency put a new system in place at the busy station, commuters can park their bikes whenever it’s open. The previous setup restricted parking to commute hours on weekdays.

BikeLink, the new program, started Monday and allows bicycle-toting commuters to access the station’s existing parking cage with an electronic card. In lieu of a full-time attendant, BART will employ a series of security cameras, transit agency spokeswoman Luna Salaver said.

The program also will save BART money. The $3.22 per bike the transit agency spent with a valet is slashed to 42 cents with BikeLink, according to Salaver. The BikeLink program is already used in several BART locations in the East Bay, but this is the first time it’s being employed at a San Francisco station.

Theft has not been a huge problem at the Embarcadero station — three bikes have been stolen during the past two years, according to BART — but some cyclists fear that will change.

Anne Wellington, an Oakland resident who takes her bike on BART daily, said she uses her BikeLink card for lockers in the East Bay, but would not do the same at the Embarcadero station.

“There’s not going to be an attendant on duty,” Wellington said. “What’s to stop someone from going into the cage and taking a bunch of parts from all the bikes?”

Along with security concerns, some cyclists don’t like the increased cost of parking. Commuters have to pay $20 for an electronic access card and a $5 registration fee.

The $20 goes toward parking at the station, which costs 3 cents an hour from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays. It’s a penny an hour outside that time frame.

“I’m not a huge fan of paying $25 to park my bike at a place I’m not even sure is secure,” said Ron Bishop, a bicycle instructor from Oakland.

For others, the hassle of carrying yet another card is enough to deter them from BikeLink.

“I have plenty of cards already in my wallet,” said Eric Mehlhaff, who takes his bike from Richmond to the Embarcadero station daily. “Why do I need another one for parking my bike?”

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

 

Watch those wheels

Bike thefts at BART stations:

653 Total thefts during 2009 fiscal year (July 2008 to June 2009)

59 Thefts at Pleasant Hill station (most of any station)

2 Thefts at Embarcadero station

Source: BART

BARTBay Area NewsLocalSan FranciscoTransittransportation

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

District Attorney Chesa Boudin announces charges against former SFPD Officer Christopher Samoyoa in the 2017 fatal shooting of Keita O’Neill at a press conference outside the Hall of Justice on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
DA Boudin charges fired SFPD officer with manslaughter over fatal shooting

Ex-Officer Christopher Samayoa to face criminal charges in killing of Keita O’Neil

The area near the Castro Muni Metro Station is expected to be affected by construction work on the Twin Peaks Tunnel, with lane closures on Market Street and some loss of parking. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Construction on Twin Peaks Tunnel to begin November 30

Area around Castro Muni Station will see greatest impacts including lane closures on Market Street

(Genaro Molina/Pool/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Newsom calls latest surge of COVID-19 cases ‘unprecendented’

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation California’s latest surge of COVID-19… Continue reading

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, during a news conference on March 10, 2020. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
LA County suspends outdoor dining at restaurants as coronavirus surges

By Alex Wigglesworth Los Angeles Times Los Angeles County public health officials… Continue reading

Renderings of the main entrance to upcoming Mission Bay elementary school on Owens Street. (Courtesy photo)
SFUSD offers first look at planned Mission Bay elementary school

San Francisco school officials this month unveiled the design of a planned… Continue reading

Most Read