By Doug Oakley
Contra Costa Times
OAKLAND — BART and the city of Oakland opened a free, secure bike parking station Wednesday in downtown Oakland as a way to encourage more people to get on their bikes and out of their cars.
The Oakland Bike Station, in a storefront at the corner of Broadway and 19th Street, has 130 spaces for free bike-parking from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. Overnight parking is $5.
The secure attended station will encourage people, who might otherwise be deterred by a high rate of theft, to bike to the Uptown site, organizers said during Wednesday’s grand opening.
“This addresses some bicycle security issues and is a great alternative to bringing your bike on the train,” said BART board director and bicycling advocate Robert Raburn. “Bike racks at BART stations are always full and ridership on trains has made it impossible for bicyclists to board them. So many bikes is a good thing, but we’re behind the curve.”
Raburn credited Oakland Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan with securing a $500,000 grant from Safe Routes To Transit that seeded the station. The station will cost Oakland and BART about $100,000 a year to operate.
The 2,400-square-foot station is the third aboveground, storefront bike parking station BART has helped open. Two others are in downtown Berkeley and at the Fruitvale station in Oakland.
The Oakland station also sells bike accessories such as helmets and lights and has mechanics available for tuneups.
Steve Beroldo, BART bike program manager, said the transit agency has other secure bike parking stations on the way. An unattended station where bicyclists use a key to access it is under construction inside the Civic Center station in San Francisco. A similar station is planned for the MacArthur station in Oakland. And attended bike parking stations are planned for the Pleasant Hill and Concord BART stations, Beroldo said.
Kaplan, who rides her bike to City Hall from her home in the Temescal neighborhood, said the bike station will complement the growing Uptown area.
“We have room to add thousands of people to this area, but we don’t have room for more cars,” Kaplan said. “So this will make it easier to bike because people have a secure place to leave their bikes, whether they are jumping on BART or coming down here to shop or go out to dinner.”