New Bike Station Opens at Berkeley BART

Tim Maloney/Staff

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Photo: BART directors held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday to celebrate the opening of a state-of-the-art bike station at Downtown Berkeley BART, the second largest in the nation.   

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Every day, Rick Rickard bikes from his home in the Oakland Hills to the Rockridge BART station, drags his heavy bicycle down the BART stairs to the bike station and worries what will happen to it when he leaves it in a locker.

However, the opening of a new bike station near the Downtown Berkeley BART Tuesday puts his worries to an end.

The new bike station, above ground and four times the size of the old one, provides restrooms, an electronic bike-locking system, is open 24 hours a day, costs three cents an hour and makes it easier for people to ride their bikes to and from BART and park their bicycles safely. It also includes a bike rental facility, bike repairs, bikes and equipment for sale and the ability to apply for free BART parking until 9:00 p.m. five days a week.

"The new bike station answered my prayers," Rickard said. "Now I can zip right in on my bike, park it and then walk down the steps to BART."

The station - located at 2208 Shattuck Ave. - has been in the works for five years and is now the second-largest station in the U.S. according to Bob Franklin, vice president of the BART board of directors. Franklin said the station will cost $160,000 a year to operate and is the third bike station run by Alameda Bicycle. Other bike stations are located at the Embarcadero BART station in San Francisco and at Oakland's Fruitvale BART station. Future bike station locations include the Ashby BART station in Berkeley and the MacArthur BART station in Oakland.

The project was funded by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, in addition to federal grant money, but was a collaboration between the city of Berkeley, BART and advocacy groups such as TransForm and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, said Mayor Tom Bates.

The old bike station, created in 1999, constantly struggled with a high demand for its 70 to 80 spaces and was still susceptible to theft, said BART spokesperson Jim Allison.

"Bicycle theft is one of the biggest problems we have in Berkeley," said city Councilmember and cyclist Kriss Worthington. "This new station gives people a chance to have their bike in a safe and secure place, making it more likely that people will actually ride their bikes."

Allison said BART encourages people to bike to BART and wants to support those who commute greenly.

"Berkeley is already known as one of the best places in the whole country to bicycle," Allison said. "There are a lot of people interested in climate protection here, so this is a natural choice."

Frequent BART riders said they were most excited about now having a safer place to park their bikes.

"If you have a nice bike that you don't want to leave on the street, then you can bring it in here," said Phil Morton, chair of the Bicycle-Friendly Berkeley Coalition. "This is really a big win for people. This program has taken time to get started, and it's definitely a step in the right direction."


Contact Caroline Cook at [email protected]

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