Secure Bike Parking at Union Station
Have a look and see how D.C. has made their biggest transit hub even more multi-modal with top-notch bike parking.
Andrea White-Kjoss: [0:04] Bike Station was founded 14 years ago in Long Beach, California. Bike Transfer Center is something that provides services that cyclists need, particularly secure indoor bike parking, as security of bicycles is one of the biggest barriers to bicycling.
Jim Sebastian: [0:20] Here at Union Station, we've found a problem with the bike parking. There wasn't enough of it. Often, bikes got stolen or vandalized. So, we tried to figure out what we could do, and at the same time we heard about this thing called Bike Station on the West Coast. It included the parking, and the retail, and the rentals and everything. [0:34] We thought Union Station would be a perfect spot for that.
Gabe Klein: [0:37] This beautiful structure, this Bike Station, was the first step in providing people really safe, easy to use, inexpensive bike parking. We wanted to do it at our multimodal center here at Union Station, because so many people, so many thousands of people per day come in and out of Union Station from all over the region.
Jim Sebastian: [0:56] You could be someone who takes the train in, or the Metro in and picks up a bike and goes to your job, or you could be someone who rides here, and just parks and works nearby. Or, you could actually bike here from somewhere else a couple miles away, and get on the train, and go to your work in Maryland or Virginia.
Stephen Marks: [1:11] We are always in the tourism end, so we would put people on bikes and have them check out the city. The neat opportunity for us is that being right next to Union Station, people arrive, and then they need to disperse from here.
Speaker: [1:24] All right, let's set me up.
Speaker: [1:25] You want to do a bike rental?
Speaker: [1:26] Yeah. [1:27] I have a couple meetings in DC today, and when I got here, I saw the new bike rental operation. I live in New Jersey, but I work in New York. I try to commute in and out of the city with my bike, so this kind of replicates the experience.
Stephen Marks: [1:44] The other cool thing that we do is that we offer mechanical services, which is not something that we did before.
Speaker: [1:49] I usually bike into work here in NoMa from downtown Silver Spring, and it's really great having the bike station here, because we can bring our bikes in to get service when they have a flat, or need tuned up. We can drop it off during the work day, and come back later that day and just be ready to roll.
Jim Sebastian: [2:04] You can join. You can become a member for about $100 a year. You get a key, and you swipe that on the door, and it lets you in. You can also get a monthly membership, or you can just pay cash by the day. [2:14] Once you get inside, you can put it on one of our double decker racks.
Speaker: [2:17] I come from Northern Maryland, but this is the best part of the day, actually. I have an hour and a half train ride from here. This way, I'm on a bike for 30 minutes. I pass the Capitol, down the Mall, past the river. It's a gorgeous ride.
Stephen Marks: [2:30] So, what we have is basically a bike parking garage. There are 140 spaces for people to use. The goal is for about 300 people to become members. People don't use it all the time. They'll use it a couple days... People will come in, get their bike, ride to work at the same time that someone's riding in and dropping their bike off. And so, there's this kind of dynamic switchover, and ebb and flow. [2:55] You basically are going to grab the handle. You just pull it straight out, and then it will slowly go down. You just push the bike forward and it lifts up. You roll it down...
Jim Sebastian: [3:07] This was a lot of work, and a lot of coordination, and a long time coming. We were lucky enough to get the land essentially for free as part of an agreement with Union Station. Then, it was a matter of planning and designing the facility. It's a pretty tight space, as you can see here. We're right between two large historic buildings, one being Union Station, and one being the Old Post Office. [3:26] We had a great architect on the project, and he came up with this shape.
Don Paine: [3:29] The actual design... We looked at bicycles. A bicycle is an elegant and extremely efficient structure, so we wanted to echo that.
Jim Sebastian: [3:36] It's glass. You can see through it, and you can see around it at either end, so it doesn't detract from the historic buildings on either side.
Gabe Klein: [3:42] This Bike Station was a first. It was about a $4.5 million project because we had to match the architectural beauty of Union Station, we had to build something really, really gorgeous. However, we want to put a lot more of these around the city. We're looking at a modular version of it, that we can place at other Metro stations.
Andrea White-Kjoss: [4:01] What you can expect, hopefully, is that there are going to be hundreds of these facilities that you'll be able to park your bike safely and securely. [music]