LONG BEACH - Next year, cyclists who use the Bikestation to park and service their bikes will have a new, larger permanent downtown location.
Plans to build a new downtown Bikestation progressed Monday as Long Beach Redevelopment Agency Board members unanimously supported a construction contract with Angeles Contractors, Inc. The $982,100 contract will allow Angeles to build a 1.5-story, 2,000-square-foot Bikestation that will feature 100 secured parking spaces, bathrooms and showers.
With a contract in place, the new building is expected to be done by late February, said Development Project Manager Rebecca Wood.
For executive director Andrea White-Kjoss, news of a construction contract means a larger and finally a permanent location for Bikestation Long Beach, which has been displaced as projects have developed around the facility.
Opened in 1996, the Bikestation was originally at First Street and Promenade before it was moved to a temporary location on Broadway to make way for a new Long Beach Transit information center and Promenade Square.
"The temporary location is a very nice location, but it's not sufficient, not big enough to meet the growing demand for secured bicycle parking and the rest of the services the facility provides," White-Kjoss said. "So we are excited about the new building, and we're looking forward to it."
The facility will not only be one-third larger than the last location but will provide secured bicycle parking, an important feature as bike theft rises in the city.
In July, the Press-Telegram reported that while auto theft, petty theft and commercial burglary dropped in Long Beach, bicycle thefts surged nearly 75 percent last year, which police attributed to the rise in increased bicycle use and crimes of opportunity. According to police statistics, an estimated 600 bicycles were reported stolen last year, up from 350 in 2008. This year, the number of thefts continue to climb, with 230 bicycles reported stolen between January and May.
"For those people who are coming to downtown for whatever reason, working, recreation, getting to one of the transit options, they have a really secure place to park their bicycles and make sure that it's going to be there at the end of the day," White-Kjoss said.
White-Kjoss said the downtown facility is heavily used, with the Bikestation serving up to 4,000 customers per month and parking up to 700 bicycles per month.
"If you walk by there at any given time of the day these days, the facility is full, and we know that 30 percent of those people were previously driving cars," she said. "And what's been holding this facility back is that when you move locations a lot as we have in the last couple of years. ... It doesn't take a lot to discourage people from attempting to use alternative forms of transportation.
"So what we're really looking forward to with this new facility, which is going to be a beautiful iconic facility ... is something that puts the city back on the map in terms of their bike parking. We're just really looking forward to being in this location ... for a long time to come."
By Karen Robes Meeks, Press Telegram Staff Writer