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Santa Monica Bike Center Celebrates Its First Birthday in Style

2:06 PM PST on November 19, 2012

This weekend, Santa Monica Bike Center, the largest bike parking facility in the country, celebrated its one year birthday.

Bike Center is actually two locations (Parking Structure 7 at 320 Broadway and Parking Structure 8 at 215 Colorado) in the center of downtown with a combined 5,300 square-feet of space and nearly 360 secure bicycle parking spaces. As regular readers of Streetsblog know, Bike Center has become not just a fixture in Santa Monica and a national model on how a space dedicated towards cyclists can grow movement for bicycles and provide a sustainable source of funds for the investor and host city.

And they do it while making money. In its first year of operation, Bike Center has over 200 paying members, operated a year-round bicycle valet program which parked over 1,800 bicycles, and provided nearly three dozen bicycle education classes (free to members with a small fee to non-members.) In addition, Santa Monica allowed Bike Center to put some bicycle retail space on the corner where Bike Center resides. At the Orange 20 website, Richard Risenberg breaks down what this means in economic turns both for Bike & Park who run Bike Center and the City of Santa Monica who rents them the space and worked with Metro to provide a $50,000 grant to refurbish.

The Bike Center pays the City of Santa Monica a base rent of $1500 a month, plus a percentage of its income.

In one recent month of operation that percentage came to $17,000 over the base rent!

Yes, that $50,000 in seed money was a good investment for Santa Monica, who is now receiving a healthy income from the Bike Center.

As Streetsblog said in a recent post about Long Beach, such an investment is "Good for Bikes, Good for Business." A recent article by Gary Kavanagh, published in response to an article in the Los Angeles Times, discusses in-depth how Bike Center could be a regional model for providing bicycling parking near transit centers. Bike Center is located near the end of the Expo Line, which could be completed in 2015.

But of course, it's not just the revenue that makes Bike Center a great investment for Santa Monica. In its first year, Bike Center launched the "Soft Pedalers Ride" for seniors of all skill levels and a commuter bicycle program that allows people to "try out" a well equipped commuter bicycle for a two-week trial. Sixteen people signed up the first month. Four of them purchased a bicycle.

And in the end, that's what really makes a great investment in cycling. An investment that makes the city a safer place to cycling, trains new cyclists and even gets interested non-cyclists to give two-wheeled travel a try is a triple win for Santa Monica.

Your move, Bike Station.

(Note: Santa Monica Bike Center is an advertiser on L.A. Streetsblog, but Damien's salary is completely covered by other grants.)

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