toronto bike parking

$1.2 million bike storage facility coming to City Hall

City council might not always like bike lanes, but the parking garage under Nathan Phillips Square is going to be getting a full-featured, $1.2 million bicycle storage area very soon. And no, this one's not an April Fool's joke.

Approved 3-2 yesterday by the government management committee, the bike corral will include 380 secure storage lockers, four showers, pumps, and basic tools for minor mechanical tweaks. The area will be accessible 24-hours a day and be open to all cyclists.

Construction, funded under the revitalization budget for the Nathan Phillips Square, was deferred in July 2011 when it was discovered losing 24 parking spaces would cost Toronto Parking Services around $70,000 a year. Coun. Mary Fragedakis successfully motioned to waive the lost revenue pending final approval by city council next month.

Coun. Doug Ford called the loss of revenue from the parking spaces "disgusting." "That's the gravy train. That is reckless spending," he added. "To put showers here at City Hall at $1.2 million. It's disgusting."

Jared Kolb, Executive Director of Cycle Toronto, visited the garage on several occasions and found many of the spaces on the lower levels empty, generating zero revenue.

"[Cyclists] need access to safe and secure parking, and people want shower and change facilities to get into their work clothes after a sweaty commute," says Kolb. "This helps enable and extend cycling to more people."

Though use of the bike lockers requires payment of a fee - $2.15 for single use by non members or a discounted rate with a $26.91 lifetime membership - the charges are only intended to cover the operating costs. A similar bike storage area with without showers is already open at Union Station - another at Victoria Park station accepted its first bike in May. Pape and Finch West subway stations will get theirs in the next few years.

What do you think of the new bike parking? Should the city be taking away more parking spaces and making it convenient to cycle to work, or is the money all that matters?

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: ZensLens/blogTO Flickr pool.


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