First, Montclair Township debuted a “Pop Up” bicycle lane on National Bike and Walk to School Day on October 8th. Next, the township furthered its bicycling accessibility and safety by opening its first 24 space bike parking depot on Thursday, October 16th. The parking depot allows commuters to safely lock their bikes inside Montclair’s Bay Street train station parking structure, removed from outdoor elements to which other bicycle racks are exposed.
A five year waiting list for a parking spot at the Bay Street station parking area and concern about vandalism and theft provided the impetus for the new parking depot. The new parking depot aims to attract more commuters and facilitate a cycling culture, according to Ralph Monti, the President of the Bicycle Touring Club of North Jersey. The bicycle parking depot located in the parking structure has several advantages compared to the bicycle storage facilities provided by NJ Transit.
The bike lockers that NJ Transit offers for rent at select locations are capable of storing 375 bikes and its outdoor can accommodate 2,300 bikes. However, commuter concerns include bicycle vandalism and theft, according to Cyndi Steiner, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition. The Coalition is hosting space sign-ups on its website. The bicycle depot consists of multi-level parking, lockers for rent, and air pump inside a locked facility, and coverage from weather elements.
Officials are hoping this type of enhanced facility will change the perception of commuting to work via cycling. The target audience for this facility include commuters who drive a short distance to the train station or are driven to the train station and dropped off. This approach looks to be duplicated, as Steiner claims that the most preferable locations for bike decks are in parking structures at transit stations. With an abundance of train stations nestled in transit oriented areas, New Jersey’s development patterns are very compatible with this type of infrastructure.
The new bike depot in the Bay Street station cost slightly less than $40,000. For the depot to be constructed, a space in the deck originally intended for offices that were never built had to be converted. This particular location in the structure was previously unavailable for parking. Therefore, the bike depot does not interfere with current commuters’ parking areas.
Funding for this project was provided by a variety of organizations like Sustainable North Jersey, PSE&G, Partners for Health, and in-kind support from The Pinnacle Companies. No direct taxpayer money was used in the construction of the depot. This new facility is an important step in improving the accessibility to safe bicycle parking racks, which facilitate healthier communities. Montclair Township officials are currently investigating the installation of similar facilities in several other train station locations.