Alewife Station’s Bike Cage: Cambridge, Mass.
In the greater Boston area, a secure bike parking facility for bikes has been erected at the end of the T's Red Line in Cambridge. It boasts one incredible amenity: it's completely free!
Alewife station is perfectly situated at the edge of the burbs and perpendicular to The Minuteman Bikeway, one of the most popular rail trails in the U.S. Wanting to encourage even more customers to launch an intermodal bike commute, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) fast tracked two unmanned bike cages that can hold hundreds of bicycles in a secure, covered cage, protected by high-tech surveillance. From the crowded weekday parking action we saw - with hundreds of bikes parked outside the cage to supplemental racks - it looks like a hit.
[00:12] Welcome to the LA station bicycle parking cages. This
is one of the two new bicycle parking cages that have been installed
recently in the last two months.
Ken Field: [00:21]
One way to get to the Red Line for a lot of people is by bicycle by
using the parts or all of the Minuteman path. So that really is
an important connection for a lot of people.
[00:34] So I’ve arrived at Alewife Station on my bike and I’m about
to enter the bike cage to park. All I need is my Bike Charlie
Card and you just tap it and that unlocks the door. Once you’re
in the cage you just need to find an empty place to park your bike.
If your bike’s not too heavy it’s pretty easy to put them up in
the upper racks. You just have to get the front wheel in and then
guide it forward, and then there’s a little bump you have to get it
over that holds the wheel in and you just need to attach your lock back
here to the chain stay.
[01:10] One of the most exciting aspects of the project was from start
to finish we were able to have these cages operational in about four
months, which for a large public agency like the MBTA that rarely happens.
Normally it takes years. There are a couple of components to this
particular facility that are maybe worth mentioning. One is that
it doesn’t cost the bicyclist anything. The people who want
to use this facility get a card that also functions as a way to ride
on the subway, if you put money on the card. But they use that
card to have access to the cage and park their bike safely.
[01:47] In our research we found that this is one of the first unmanned
bicycle cages in the country, at any transit station in the country.
[01:54] As you can see there are still hundreds of bike parking spaces
outside the bike cages here at Alewife and you’re welcome to use them
if you can find a space. But they’re pretty much full today.
[02:04] We just finished this bicycle cage in September and I just want
to point out a number of the components which I think are important
for people to realise. As you can see we have high security chainling
fencing and what’s interesting about this is that it’s a tight mesh
fence, it’s a security fence, so that it’s much harder to climb
the fence. It’s also much harder to cut the fence. And
you can see that we have a canopy up here. The canopy is really
important because of the climate here and because that it’s… for
people who have high-end bicycles, it’s important to keep the bicycle
dry. And people are just more comfortable locking and unlocking
a bicycle when it’s some place that’s protected from the elements.
You’ll notice on the ceiling here, these black domes here, these are
security surveillance cameras, okay, and there are four of these in
the cage. They’re looking at both the door and also at the interior
space. Everything that happens in this cage, even this interview,
is actually on film. Also you can see we have a high level of
lighting here. Lighting’s also important, especially this time
of year when it gets dark fairly early. We have two different
types of bike parking racks here, probably because we wanted to try
out a couple of different systems. On the right hand side you
can see the conventional inverted U type racks. On the other side
of the cage, over here, we have double stack racks. A couple of
other important factors have to do with information for the customers,
and by information I mean signage, and have signage on the door here
reminding people that when this cage fills up there is parking space
available on the other side of the station.
[03:32] Well the buzz is that people love it. People are excited.
It adds to the general feeling that when you’re a bicyclist, you’re
part of the community. You’re part of the mix, that people are
respecting your needs and welcoming you in.
[03:44] The reaction has been very positive, and I think it speaks for
itself that the cage is pretty much full right now.
[03:51] I understand that T’s already talking about building more
cages. It helps even more so legitimise and honour the bicycle
as a key mode of transportation.
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