Covina, California, has the third busiest commuter train station in Southern California, according to its mayor, thus the town is investing in a nifty, digitally-accessed bike parking structure called the Mobis Secure Bike Module. While on the other side of the globe Copenhagen is trying out quite minimalistic parking by painting white lines on the sidewalk and hoping people put their bikes there, Mobis, the angel-backed start-up that designed Covina's LEED 3.0 bike facility, is hoping cash-strapped cities will see the utility in safe, user paid parking -- and predicted in its press materials that there would be 200 of these pay-to-park stations in the U.S. within the next five years! Is paid bike parking an idea whose time has come?
Free Bike Parking Versus Paid Bike ParkingMobis' concept allows cities to decide how to implement bike shelters in the way that best suits them. In Long Beach, California, for example, bike parking at a Mobis station is free and staffed during regular hours. At the other stations thus far in Palo Alto and Santa Barbara, California, and in Washington D.C., membership to bikestation.com costs $20 annually, which gets you an electronic tag that allows you get into any of the secure parking areas, with parking itself ranging from $1 per day for occasional users to $96 per year for heavy users ($8 per month).
While commuters with bikes they rely on might hardly feel the $8 per month charge, changing bike parking infrastructure from a city-supplied free feature to a pay-as-you-go and thus more elitist system is sure to have its detractors, and can be counter productive to encouraging as many cyclists to commute by bike as possible. Mobis itself was a non-profit company before getting angel support and switching to a for-profit model this year.
Covina Supports 80 CyclistsCovina's Mobis Secure Bike Module, as it is called, will support as many as 80 bike commuters, according to the city, in a facility that has secure though unmanned bike parking for 36 individual bikes. According to Mobis, Covina can add on extra modules as needed. The most luxurious of Mobis' bike parking stations is also the first, opened in Long Beach in 1996, where users have access to such lovely amenities as free attended indoor parking, air for tires, and a bike repair shop. The question is, would you pay for that?
Read more about bike parking at TreeHugger:
Bike Tree Keeps Bikes Off Ground, Away From Sticky Fingers
Solar-Powered Bicycle Parking Pods Provide Solar Hot Water Showers in Queensland
Free Bike Cages Offer Safe Parking for Commuters