Community members weigh in on bike share program expanding to East Bay

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Representatives from the Bay Area Bike Share program held a community workshop Thursday to take suggestions for bike station locations that will be implemented in Berkeley, Oakland and Emeryville starting in spring 2017.

The meeting, held at the North Berkeley Senior Center, was co-sponsored by the office of City Council member and mayoral candidate Jesse Arreguin and drew in community members to discuss ideal locations for new stations. Motivate, the group that carries out the operations for Bay Area Bike Share, has hosted multiple community workshops to engage the public in determining the best location sites.

“The purpose of these is to get feedback from the community about places to put bike share … to make sure that they’ll be most useful to the communities they’re in,” said Emily Stapleton, general manager of the Bay Area Bike Share program.

According to Emily Kettell, site planning specialist for Bay Area Bike Share, stations are ideally placed about a five-minute walk away from each other. Other factors that are considered in planning for bike share stations are proximity to transit stops, previously existing bike routes, shopping areas and places with significant foot traffic.

Cynthia Armour, advocacy manager at Bike East Bay, said ideal sites for bike share stations are “in as many different places as possible (because) … one of the keys for bike share to be successful is density of locations.”

“(Motivate) has found ways to do it without taking away parking spaces,” Arreguin said. “They’ve looked very closely how to minimize parking impact.”

Bay Area Bike Share began with a pilot program in August 2013 with 130 bikes at 16 stations concentrated in downtown San Francisco. Now, stations are located throughout San Francisco and San Jose with about 10,000 members participating in the program.

The bikes will arrive in the East Bay in three phases — the first will be implemented by spring 2017, with two stations planned on Southside, one on Upper Sproul Plaza by the AC Transit stop and one at Bancroft Way and College Avenue. There will also be bike sharing stations at and around the Downtown Berkeley and Ashby BART stations.

According to Brandon Matthews, launch manager at Bay Area Bike Share, the Downtown Berkeley bike station will be located outside Games of Berkeley before moving back to the BART station after construction is completed in the area.

The second phase will go into effect in summer 2017. Stations will be located at the Lake Merritt BART station, the North Berkeley BART station and in connecting areas.

The final phase will be completed by winter 2017 and will include stations by the Rockridge, Fruitvale and West Oakland BART stations, as well as in areas surrounding those transit stops.

According to Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz, outreach and communications manager at Motivate, they are looking to add stations on Northside, Oxford Street and Hearst Avenue, and one or two more on the west side of Berkeley. Cosulich-Schwartz said there won’t be any stations on campus because of the no-bike zones throughout the campus area.

“Bike shares would be convenient at major intersections, where bike facilities are, at certain major pinpoints,” said Matt da Silva, a graduate student at UC Berkeley who attended the workshop and is a regular bike commuter. “Berkeley Bowl is a perfect example of where I’d use bike share.”

Contact Camryn Bell at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @cbell_DC.