bike storage at light rail

bike lockers at SacRT light rail Glenn station in Folsom
bike lockers at SacRT light rail Glenn station in Folsom (SacRT rental, BikeLink, bike racks)

If you are a light rail user, you may have noticed bike storage lockers at some of the stations. Two types of lockers exist:

  1. rental lockers at 19 SacRT light rail stations, which are listed on the SacRT “Biking with RT” webpage
  2. on-demand lockers at 3 SacRT light rail stations in Folsom, plus the Folsom Pedal Stop bike station

The rental lockers work well for people who routinely commute the same route to and from work, and are leased for 6 months or 13 months at pretty reasonable rates. The downside to rental lockers is that they can be used by only one person, and are empty when not in use by that person. Mike Mattos, SacRT Chief of Facilities & Business Support Services Division, said that these lockers were mostly purchased at the time of rail extensions, and they are repaired and replaced from operating funds. They move lockers from one station to others as demand changes. They have explored on-demand systems, but have not installed any because they don’t feel that any vendors so far meet their criteria. He pointed out that the downside of on-demand systems for typical commuters is that they don’t then have a guaranteed space at their station.

The on-demand lockers in Folsom are part of the BikeLink network, which is used in the bay area and other locations, and are owned by the City of Folsom. Jim Konopka, Senior Trails Coordinator at the City of Folsom, said the Folsom Pedal Stop and bike lockers at SacRT light rail stations were purchased by a grant. Ongoing costs come from the small rental fee, which is 5 cents per hour. He said the lockers were primarily used by commuters who bike to the stations and work in downtown Sacramento. He said they would like to expand the system, but won’t select locations and seek funding until their bikeway master plan is updated next year. Jim said “We are moving away from the monthly rental storage. The on-demand storage is our priority and so far has worked out very well. It is a much more efficient system and by not committing one person to each locker, it provides an opportunity for more users.”

The Folsom City Newsletter of March 1, 2013, has an article entitled “New Historic District Bike Parking.”

Folsom Pedal Stop sign
Folsom Pedal Stop sign

BikeLink facilities in Folsom:

  • Iron Point station, 8 lockers
  • Glenn station, 4 lockers (plus 6 SacRT rental lockers)
  • Sutter station, 8 lockers
  • Folsom Pedal Stop, across Reading St from the station, in the parking garage, 60 racks

I’ve written previously about the BikeStations in Berkeley and at BART Embarcadero, and I’ve used the lockers at BART Richmond several times. As an irregular commuter and user, the on-demand systems work well for me. Though I have a folding bike that I can carry on almost all pubic transportation, and conveniently take inside at most of my destinations, sometimes it is enjoyable to just put the bike away and walk.

I would like to see both types of systems become more common and abundant at light rail stations and transit centers. On-demand lockers would be a perfect solution for people who find the bike racks on the front of buses full, and understandably don’t want to leave their bikes locked outside at the bus stop all day. I’ve heard stories from a number of light rail users that their bikes where stolen when the left them all day and into the evening locked to regular racks at the stations. Having an exposed bike during low-use times when thieves had free run is risky, and that is why stations and transit center need to have long term storage. The light rail cars at times are just stuffed with bikes, to the point where it becomes difficult to get on and off. I don’t want SacRT to limit this, as it indicates real and valuable demand, but it could probably be reduced if there were more on-demand lockers.

Additional photos in “Sacramento Transit” (Flickr).

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