TriMet opens new bike-n-rides

Today, TriMet opened two new bike-and-ride facilities, secure bike parking for customers who use bicycles to reach transit, at the Beaverton and Gresham transit centers.

The Beaverton facility is the largest so far in the TriMet system, with a capacity of 100 bicycles. Unlike the previous such facility at Sunset TC; the Beaverton facility does not need to compete with cars, as TriMet offers very limited parking at Beaverton TC; according to TriMet, 12% of MAX riders using the Beaverton station access it by bicycle.

The facilities consists of a covered, secure bike storage area, with amenities such as air pumps and bike repair stations for minor maintenance of two-wheelers. Access to the bike-and-rides does cost money, however; one must periodically buy a BikeLink card ($20) to use them; bike parking deducts from the card at a rate of $0.03 per hour, or about 30 cents per day.

Of course, the question that’s worth asking: Why do bikers get to pay (even though its a tiny amount), but auto parking remains free along the line? Could it be that TriMet thinks the bike-riding crowd is less likely to abandon public transit (either riding bikes the whole way, or switching to cars) if presented with a fee?

Agency press release here. KGW News story here. Bike Portland’s coverage here.

18 responses to “TriMet opens new bike-n-rides”

  1. The stated reason for the tiny charge (I believe I read this somewhere) is that bikes, being extraordinarily cheaper than cars, are much more likely to be left abandoned at the beaverton transit center, and putting in the tiny fee helps make sure that rack is only used for day storage. Granted, considering that the Sunset TC’s bike-n-ride has ridiculously low usage rates, I’m surprised that abandoned bikes are much of a concern.

    Jonathan at bikeportland also noted that the facility is somewhat out of eyesight away from both the bus and max stations; its conceivable that the lack of eyes-on-the-station could lead to increased theft/crime.

    With that said, this is a great investment in Beaverton TC; I hope that the city of Beaverton can begin to build a substantial network of bike lanes and paths to encourage a larger travel-shed to this facility.

  2. Beaverton already has decent bike infrastructure and plans to build more; the big issue of course is money. Connecting the Fanno Creek Trail to Beaverton TC would be one big win; another would be filling in the gaps in the powerline trail. (Right now, there’s no good way around the hill between 155th, 170th, Davis, and Hart; and crossing TV Highway and the railroad tracks is also problematic).

    With regards to abandoned bikes–what is the policy for parking bikes overnight? Can a bike be left in one of these places during the hours where TriMet is not running? Is there a “time limit” before a bike is removed, or will that only occur if someone’s BikeLink card runs out of money?

  3. Customers only have to pay to use the enclosed area. There are also bike racks under shelter an CCTV coverage open to all for free. Charging a minimal fee to use the enclosed space is a practical way to keep customers from leaving bikes for a long time or abandoning them – similar to what towing fees do for Park & Rides.

    The pricing – $0.01/hr evenings and weekends – is desinged to encourage overnight parking for “station bikes” or trips to PDX, Greyhound or Union Station. All Bike & Rides are accessible 24/7 and bikes may be left for up to 14 days. Two weeks would run about $5 off your BikeLink card. A bike would only be removed if it is left longer than 14 days and all attempts to reach the customer fail.

  4. I understand the reasoning behind the fee, but it still sends the wrong message. Car parking – free! Bike parking – for a small fee.

    Is identifying and disposing of abandoned bikes really such a hard thing to do? I could imagine a system where a staff person puts out a notice on all the bikes every week or two saying something like, “This notice was put here on July 14. If this bike is not abandoned, not to worry! Remove this message and please continue to leave your bike here. However, if the bike is still here August 1st, it will be donated to a local cycling non-profit.”

    A few people might still use the rack for long-term storage not related to transit use under such a system. As long as there’s not a huge apartment complex across the street though, I doubt that enough people would do so to really cause a problem.

  5. Whoops, forgot to note that under my proposal TriMet would only remove the bike *if* the notice were still present (indicating that the owner had not used the bike in more than two weeks).

  6. Beaverton Transit Center does have numerous apartment complexes, and a trailer park, in the immediate vicinity. Whether the residents therein would be tempted to lodge bikes at the transit center, as opposed to keeping them in their own homes, I have no idea…

    Just to clarify: A “station bike” refers to a bike which a commuter leaves overnight at a station, and uses to commute between said station and the workplace, if I’m not mistaken. Lots of reverse commuters (who live downtown and work in the Silicon Forest) use Westside MAX–but many high-tech employers aren’t within easy walking distance from the train, and the bus service isn’t anywhere near as nice as it is in Portland, with most connecting routes providing half-hour service at best.

  7. This just highlights the need for parking fees in Trimet’s garages. What would be reasonable to start with? $0.50 per hour? Less at night?

  8. Why not that fancy SF market-rate parking everyone is such a big fan of, just charge enough to ensure there are some spots available? I imagine implementing it at a parking garage wouldn’t be so tough.

  9. I like bikes, and would gladly pay to use one of these stations (especially for the option of keeping a bike there overnight). In fact, the location in Gresham may be the prefect place for my wife to keep a second bike. I’ll have to calculate if it is cheaper to pay for parking all year, or just buy a cheap bike and expect it to be stolen eventually.

    Bike parking doesn’t have to be free, in a situation like this. But the real problem is free car parking at so many stations. Start charging $5 a day for cars, and I have no problem paying $0.30 a day for my bike.

  10. I’d be fine with just starting out at 1 or 2 bucks a day for autos. Adding 5 bucks (or over $100/month) to most family budgets would be a deal-breaker.

  11. a buck a day for cars might pay for some security. Back when I used park-n-ride I had 3 break-ins in 3 months , and quit.

  12. Shoot, just set up some bait bikes at these areas and nab the meth heads that steal them.

    Give them hefty prison sentences (of course they’re up to other nefarious criminal stuff so it’s easy to rack up the charges) and be on with our lives.


  13. I suspect a buck a day would not cover the infrastructure and enforcement for paid parking. The real issue with charging for Max parking is when it starts making it more attractive to drive to work and pay for parking there.

    Why not make the bike parking cards free, that way you can still enforce a 14 day limit but you have a record of who is parking bikes. I doubt if someone is going to go get a card from Tri-met just so they can abandon a bike in secure parking.

  14. We all hope that it works out for the bicylists, and we will be paying very close attention to just how well this does work out.
    The Sunset Transit Center one is a flop, but that is somewhat understandable since its a hard to get too transit center.

    Point of order though:

    Trimet has spent $1.4 million tax dollars to create these bike and rides. That turns out to be $3627 per bike space!

    As far as I am concerned, that’s pork barrel.

  15. Look, it’s really to figure out the right cost for parking. Just set it at whatever amount leads to a full park and ride! All this fear that raising the rate will make MAX uncompetitive with driving doesn’t make any sense. If there are 100 spaces and TriMet decides to charge X to park in them, and the spaces still fill up, then clearly the same number of people are using the park and ride! It may not be the same people, mind you…higher-income people will park, while lower-income people will either get to the station a different way or drive. But even if some low-income people switch to driving, some other richer person will switch from driving to park and riding, since now they can find a space consistently. Sorry it’s a bit convoluted, but it works!

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