Anyone who’s been to South Campus Transit Station lately has likely noticed the hulking metal bike lockers that have taken over a significant portion of the concrete bus island.
As ETS spokesman Dennis Nowicki explains, the recently installed lockers are part of an ETS’ pilot project, slated to conclude sometime in fall of 2010.
“It actually commenced last year …,” Nowicki notes. “We wanted to test out some lockers because there was some interest from people to have a more secure device in which to store their bicycles.”
However, as Nowicki goes on to say, there were some problems with the lockers’ original design. As a result, they were taken down, retrofitted to address the issues that had been raised, and have just now been set up again.
“We’ve added a little window to them, changed the lock hasp … and there’s been a change made so that you can open it from the inside. In case anybody ever got trapped inside one of the lockers … they could get out.”
One of the benefits of the bike lockers over bike racks, Nowicki points out, is that a locker provides a cyclist’s bike with protection from the elements. Unfortunately, the lockers also take up a lot more space than regular bike racks — and space at transit stations is at a premium.
“We’re not completely sold on the idea of these types of lockers,” Nowicki admits. “We know there’s a lot of interest in interfacing cycling with transit, so we’ve increased the number of buses with bike racks and increased the number of bike racks at a number of our transit centres. And, now, we’re just looking at some different concepts right now for improved bicycle storage. You know, something that would offer some weather protection.”
One idea that’s been floated around and will be tested at the new Eaux Claires bus station, has been to simply put a roof over the bike racks. For stations that have already been designed and built, however, retrofitting a roof isn’t always as practical.
“In fall time, we’ll make a decision about what we’re going to do with the lockers; whether we’re going to continue down that road or not,” Nowicki concludes.
So far, he laughs, the new lockers haven’t gotten enough feedback to make a decision.
“I guess there are some people who bike all year round but, for most people, it’s still winter.”