What Could the Future Hold for Toronto’s Bicycle Station?

Recently, Toronto celebrated the opening of our first Bicycle Station. Located within Union Station, the bicycle station offers secure bicycle parking, changing areas and a vending machine that dispenses tire tubes for flat repairs.

According to the Toronto Star, our bicycle station is off to a “bumpy” start. Only half of the 180 available bicycle spaces have been scooped up at $25 each for a lifetime membership. Personally, while we’re nearing the end of the mainstream cycling season in Toronto, 50% isn’t a bad start at all. More from The Star:

The $400,000 Union Station facility is considered a pilot, the prelude to a bigger bike station to be built at City Hall next year that will accommodate up to 400 bikes.

But no sooner had it opened on May 26 than the strike hit, shutting it down for most of the summer. And then there’s the location and signage – photocopied pages directing cyclists to it are taped to the corridor walls.

The station will get better signs once it has moved to the east side of York St. this winter.

But even that spot is temporary. Union Station reno plans call for the bike station to move up to Front St. in a couple of years. It was always conceived as a street-front operation, said Sean Wheldrake, Toronto’s bike promotions coordinator.

While a secure place to park a bicycle downtown overnight is a benefit in itself, there’s more for members:

Membership benefits
The benefits of an individual membership include:

  • 24-hour secure bicycle parking (card entry)
  • Access to showers and lockers at a location nearby
  • Use of the shared bike program (see terms)
  • 10% off bicycle parts and accessories (at participating local bike shops)
  • Bicycle Station t-shirt, free bike map, Dandyhorse Magazine, and Momentum Magazine
Of course, with only one bicycle station currently in Toronto, the lifetime membership doesn’t provide access to anything else, but that should change in the near future as some TTC stations (and hopefully elsewhere) begin adding their own bicycle stations.
However, since this is only a pilot project, then what could the future of bicycle stations in Toronto become?
First, let’s go to Chicago:
McDonald’s Cycle Center offers not only secure parking, but showers, repair service and even bicycle rentals. It’s essentially a one-stop shop for cyclists.
Pretty impressive, right?
And in São Paulo there is something called ASCOBIKE:
Housing 1,700 bicycles this station also offers legal advice, bicycle maintenance and education for members.
As you can see, there is loads of potential within bicycle stations, now, will Toronto uncover this potential?
Discuss bicycle stations in the BikingToronto Forum