The City of Toronto has recently opened its second Bicycle Station to provide safe, supervised parking for cyclists. Here’s how they work.
If our tips on how to foil bike thieves weren’t enough to give you peace of mind when leaving your two-wheeled transport unattended, perhaps a place where you can store your bike under 24/7 video surveillance—with members-only key-card access—would put you at ease? It’s called a Bicycle Station, and there are now two of them in Toronto.
The first was built at Union Station in the summer of 2009; it’s currently at a temporary location near 25 York St. (#HAR), just north of Bremner, but a more accessible space closer to Front will be open next year as part of the Union Station Revitalization plan. (The new space will be larger and feature bathrooms and change rooms.) Last May, a second, smaller Bicycle Station opened at Victoria Park station (#SCR), with plans for additional stations at the redesigned Pape Station in 2013, and Finch West station once it’s completed in 2015. A City Hall Bicycle Station is also in the works.
To date, membership numbers haven’t exactly been booming, but it takes time for these sorts of initiatives to grow.
“It’s starting fairly slowly,” admits Daniel Egan, Manager of Cycling Infrastructure and Programs at the City of Toronto. “Typically, it takes about a year to start building up memberships. We don’t have a huge promotional budget, so it’s all about getting the word out to different residences and business around there.”
To become a member, fill out an application form and submit it to a clerk at the Union Station location during staff hours, from 8 a.m.-noon. (There is no online sign-up available yet.) Members pay a $26.91 registration fee, and then $21.53 for one month or $64.57 for four months. One-day parking is also available for $2.15 with no registration fee required.
Users are subject to a 48-hour parking limit, not including weekends and holidays—meaning that, for a regular weekend, members can park their bikes on Friday and have until Tuesday to pick them up. The 48-hour rule is in effect to deter people from using the stations as garages.
“We’re not in the business of long-term storage,” says Egan. “We’re just here to support commuters.”