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City of Santa Monica, L.A. Metro open $2 million, full-service “Bike Center,” the largest facility of its kind in U.S.

Friday November 18, 2011

Marking a major new amenity for bike commuters and recreational riders in one of L.A. County's most popular beachfront destinations, the City of Santa Monica and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) today officially opened the new $2 million "Santa Monica Bike Center," the largest, full-service bicycle facility of its kind in the United States.

Opening weekend events include a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. on Friday, November 18, followed by an all-weekend open house featuring free bicycle parking, free bicycle rides and tours of the facility.

Two ground-floor bike center locations in the Santa Monica Place Mall parking structure combined feature nearly 5,300 square-feet of dedicated space and nearly 360 secure bicycle parking spaces, making it the highest capacity secure bicycle parking facility in the U.S.

A "hub" for the downtown community that offers close connections to existing and planned public transit, the new bike center will offer showers and lockers for regular commuters, attended valet parking for visitors, bike rentals and repairs, travel information and related services for all those who cycle in Santa Monica, a bike-riding capital of Southern California.

"Santa Monica is rapidly transforming itself into a world-class city for bicycling," said Richard Bloom, Mayor of the City of Santa Monica. "This new bike center, built from scratch into a major development site will provide commuters and recreational riders with all the amenities they need to better access downtown Santa Monica car-free."

With its year-round moderate climate, relatively flat terrain, and easy-to-navigate street system, Santa Monica is ideally suited for bicycle riding for work and play. The percentage of work commuters alone who travel by bicycle in the city is 3.4 percent, which is higher than most other California cities.

What's more, the share of people accessing work by bicycle in Santa Monica has increased by almost 30 percent from 2007 and 2010. According to a citywide resident survey, two-thirds of Santa Monica residents already own a bike and 75 percent of bicycle owners ride at least a few times per month, creating ideal conditions for local bike center utilization.

Major transit stops for Metro and Santa Monica Big Blue Bus are directly connected to the bike center's main location at 2nd Street and Colorado Avenue. The bike center is also within close proximity to the future Expo Line Phase II light rail station at 4th Street and Colorado Avenue. The Expo Line extension from Culver City to Santa Monica, scheduled to open in 2015, will also include rail line-adjacent bikeway.

The project received $1.5 million from Metro as part of its 2007 Call For Projects Program, which allocates discretionary federal, state and local transportation funds to improve all modes of surface transportation, including bikeway improvements.

"The Santa Monica Bike Center fulfills Metro's mission to fund bikeway projects that establish key linkages to transit hubs throughout Los Angeles County," said Antonio Villaraigosa, City of Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair. "It is exactly the type of project our region needs to help make L.A. a more bike-friendly community."

Cyclists can participate in the bike center by becoming members of the facility and paying low-cost fees for daily, weekly or monthly access to the facility. Daily operations for the Bike Center will be managed by Bike 'n' Park, the firm that also operates the bike center in Chicago and the Bikestation in Washington, D.C. Bike 'n' Park will utilize the facility to promote "green mobility" through outreach and education to employers and the public, and by conducting bicycling classes and tours. The company also will provide bicycle and segway rentals.

As downtown Santa Monica is making more room for bikes, it is also enhancing its walkability. The city is deploying 25 on-street wayfinding signs as well as bike lanes and other street improvements to help bicyclists make their way to and from downtown, the future Expo light rail station and the new bike center.

The Bike Center is part of a comprehensive array of projects called for in the City of Santa Monica's Bike Action Plan to increase bicycle use in the city from 3.4 percent to 14-35 percent of trips.

For more information on the Santa Monica Bike Center services and programs, visit www.bikesantamonica.org. For more information on Metro, visit www.metro.net.


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