Bike Commuters Clean Up and Lock Up in Brisbane, Australia

300x300_cycle_centre_ent.jpgFrom the Australian Bicycling Council comes word of a new amenity for bicycling commuters In Brisbane, Australia. Called cycle2city, it provides secure weekday parking and showers for up to 420 members, who will pay between $5 and $7 a day for the privilege of using the facility (that and other figures quoted here are Australian dollars, which are close to even in value with the US dollar these days).

The $7-million bike center in Brisbane’s central business district was funded by the Queensland government and the Brisbane City Council, and is operated by a private company. The first of its kind in Australia, it offers swipe-card access and some pretty swank-looking accommodations. The cost of membership is roughly comparable to the local transit fare, depending on what type of ticket one uses.

Local government officials, quoted on OurBrisbane.com, see it as one element in an overall strategy:

State Government and Brisbane City Council have welcomed the centre as part of the battle against traffic congestion. Brisbane City Councillor Jane Prentice said the people of Brisbane now had the perfect reason to ditch the car in favour of more active, healthy and sustainable travel options.

"King George Square Cycle Centre demonstrates our commitment to encouraging people to live a more active, healthy and sustainable lifestyle," said Cr Prentice.

"The more people we get travelling on two wheels or two legs, the more cars we take off the road enabling us to live healthier and greener lifestyles that will contribute to ensuring Brisbane’s long-term sustainability."

Transport Minister John Mickel said that, by using the King George Square Cycle Centre, the average commuter could save more than $25 dollars per day.

"The average car commuter can spend up to $33 per day on off-street parking alone when travelling into the CBD," Mr Mickel said.

Think a paid bike commuter facility like this one could fly here in New York, say in Midtown or the Financial District?

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Think a paid bike commuter facility like this one could fly here in New York, say in Midtown or the Financial District?”

    I thought of this 15-plus years ago, and even studied it closely to see if it would work. It looked possible, given the commercial real estate bust at the time. In my concept the service would have a monthly fee and receive a close to store (in those pre-business casual days) suits, to free up closet space in the home.

    Unfortuantely, there is nothing in the zoning resolution such a service could qualify as other than a health club, which would require that space be rented for a multi-month environmental review process and a seven month ULURP process so the facility could prove it wasn’t a house of prostitution (don’t ask). That killed it financially — the initial cost before space could even be renovated, and the risk of being screwed by a community board and stuck indebted for a lease with no prospect of revenue, made it unworkable.

    But I worked at City Planning at the time. Now in the private sector, I say just self-certify and lie and call it a dry cleaning establishment with accessory bike storage and showers. When it comes to zoning, after all, everyone lies.

  • At $20/month (or $149/year), the McDonald’s Cycle Center in Chicago offers a much more advantageous deal.

  • McDonald’s Cycle Center offers consulting services: “If your city or company would like to open a Cycle Center, we would love to help. Please call us at: 888-BIKE-WAY.”

    http://www.chicagobikestation.com/services.htm

  • Anni

    Yes the McDonalds centre is cheaper however it is to my knowledge funded by the government. cycle2city is a private business that has spent 8 years trying to get this centre built and functioning. They need to make a dollar.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “cycle2city is a private business that has spent 8 years trying to get this centre built and functioning.”

    Gee, you’d think they were trying to open a business in NYC!

    The cost of real estate in NY makes every hour of delay prior to opening and revenue coming in an absolute killer.

  • Unless the BCC invests substantially in bike infrastructure for the streets of Brisbane, this is going to be a failed project. Travelling around the CBD by bike is a deadly game because apart from a bike lane from the Roma St Parklands to the new facility, there’s really not much in the way of dedicated bike infrastructure.

    Sure, there are a couple of yellow stencils on the ground that mean “Hey, cars, there might be a bike at some point” but until I start seeing bike lanes that stretch for an entire street rather than running for 5-10m each side of an intersection (there is a big green bike box on Adelaide St, though) I’m not going to be convinced that this is going to signal a cycling renaissance in Brisbane.

    The BCC’s “Brisbane 2020” document shows a target modal share for bicycle trips at an underwhelming 5%. It’s been at 4% for the last few years and was at one point 5% until they started converting bike lanes into shared lanes (bike lanes which one can legally drive and even park in) and building massive road projects which disrupt commuting routes.

    I’d rather the Brisbane City Council offer incentives to companies and building owners who provide end of trip facilities for cyclists in their buildings. Brisbane’s CBD may not be as big as New York’s but there are plenty of places that are a bike ride’s distance away from the cycling centre that don’t have access to end of trip facilities.

    What’s more, the pricing is very expensive. This won’t be used by regular commuters but by people who have decided they’re going to try riding a bike to the CBD. Yes, it’s possible to spend $33 on parking but that’s in a private garage in a shopping centre. A lot of people who drive to the city have a spot provided for them by their place of work. That’s okay, though, because the BCC and Queensland State Government are more concerned with soundbites and the appearance of being proactive on progressive issues than actually doing something.

    Cycle2City might have cost $7million but there are a whole bunch of major road tunnels being built and planned which will cost in the billions of dollars (perhaps going into the tens of billions). This is still a car city.

  • Ace

    Wouldn’t most people will opt for an air conditioned subway or bus commute rather than “parking and showers”?

  • #7: It depends. Many bike commuters prefer the regular opportunity for fresh air, scenery, exercise, and (depending on the route) time efficiencies of biking over a subway ride, even with air-conditioning.

  • d

    I shower at home and then sweat terribly waiting for the subway during the summer. I’d much prefer a bike ride in shorts and a t-shirt and a chance to shower closer to work. It’s no different than the many people who belong to a gym closer to their place of employment rather than their home. They commute in, workout at the gym, shower, and then are steps away from work. A place like this would just mean that I could combine my commute with my workout.

    Plus, I could keep my bike safely locked all day and not worry about it being missing when I leave in the evening.

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