Award of Merit:
Steven Grover Revolutionizes Bicycle Parking at BART Stations
Steven Grover’s ingenuity revitalized bicycle parking at BART stations with a safer, better design that allows for sharing of bike lockers and uses an electronic BikeLink card for payment of rental fees. (Photo: Noah Berger)
Twelve years ago, BART faced serious problems with its bicycle lockers: arson fires, garbage-stuffed lockers, bicycle thefts and more. At the same time, there was enormous demand by bicyclists for more lockers. Rented on an annual basis, many lockers were used infrequently and stood empty much of the time. Laura Timothy, then BART’s new bicycle program manager, recalls, “There was growing pressure to remove these unsightly, hazardous, trouble-causing boxes from the stations. And with increased security after 9/11, adding more bike lockers seemed unachievable.”
Enter Steven Grover, architect, engineer, inventor and bicycle enthusiast. Grover, who designs bicycle and pedestrian bridges throughout the Bay Area and nationwide, was hired in 1998 by the city of El Cerrito to design a new bicycle storage facility. Based on an obvious need, he was inspired to design a more secure bicycle locker that could be rented on a first come, first served basis. In 2004, the first 48 of his steel-framed, theft-resistant eLockers went into service at the El Cerrito BART station. With the swipe of an electronic “BikeLink” card, bicyclists could now park their bicycles for the time needed, paying just pennies per hour.
Since then, Grover has continued to improve the look, durability and ease of use of eLockers, as well as provide higher-capacity “group parking” facilities that also use the BikeLink card for access. BikeLink has blossomed, with over 1,700 spaces in 98 Bay Area locations, from Santa Rosa to Santa Cruz, and has spread to 28 other locations nationwide. The system serves both daily commuters and occasional cyclists. Grover and his small staff in Berkeley design, manufacture, install and service their products, as well as administer the BikeLink system, which provides 24-hour customer service for nearly 10,000 users.
BikeLink has helped thousands of bicyclists connect the first and last miles of their transit commutes. “We’ve received extensive feedback from users that without these lockers they would not commute by bicycle,” said Melanie Mintz, El Cerrito’s Environmental Services manager.
According to Laura Timothy, now BART’s manager of Access and Accessible Services, “Steven revolutionized the concept of bike lockers from a single-user box to a shared resource for multiple users. The smart card system has created a community of users who share space, monitor and report on facilities, and contribute ideas for improvement. Steven Grover is the Steve Jobs of bicycle parking.”
Grover added, “BikeLink makes access to transit reliable and affordable for thousands of people who would not otherwise have viable transit options, as well as those looking for a better option than driving.”
— Marjorie Blackwell
Transactions Fall 2012 Issue: Contents