Bernal Merchant Seeks Immediate Removal of 29th Street Bikeshare Station

The San Francisco Examiner reports that the Mission-Bernal Merchants Association is protesting the installation of a bikeshare station on 29th Street:

In June, Ford GoBike launched its newest expansion, providing 3,500 blue bikes available to be rented, or “shared,” by smartphone app. That expansion was met with opposition from neighbors and merchants near Mission District’s 24th Street in community meetings.

At the SFMTA meeting on Tuesday, Ani Rivera, director of Galería De La Raza and a co-coordinator at the Mission Bernal Merchants Association, decried the lack of outreach on the part of Motivate, which administers Ford GoBike.

Kevin Cline, an owner of both Rock Bar and The Front Porch in San Francisco, said a Ford GoBike kiosk near his restaurant on 29th Street prompted drivers to increasingly double park.

“We’re not entirely against bikeshare programs,” he told the SFMTA board. “I do resent a complete lack of outreach. I didn’t get a letter or phone call.”

Cline requested the kiosk “be removed immediately until Ford makes an effort to reach out.”

116 thoughts on “Bernal Merchant Seeks Immediate Removal of 29th Street Bikeshare Station

  1. I live in La Lengua and this bike share station has been a great addition. There’s already a ton of double parking around the area, so I don’t concur with the anecdote regarding an increase in it.

    The station on 29th street is almost always full. What does that mean? It means folks are riding to that station as a destination. And spending money at nearby businesses.

  2. Gotta say I’m not impressed by the NIMBYism on this subject. I use bikeshare all over the world, but not in SF… because there haven’t been any bike pods near where I live. Now that they’re finally getting installed, merchants are balking? Really?

  3. Does anyone know how these sites get approved? I had the same thought as the merchant about 29th because it’s already so congested with cars and trucks and double parking and U turns, etc. Was there truly no opportunity for community comment?

    • I think the idea is that there might be fewer cars and trucks to double park and make U turns if there were more people making these trips on bikes.

    • If three people use bikes instead of cars it is the same parking situation and less traffic (3 cars). But there are closer to 15-20 bikes per pod, which means it possible to reduce traffic more AND reduce parking as people take bikes instead of cars.

      It’s worth remembering, every person riding a bike instead of a car is better for every person who drives. More bikes reduces traffic, and makes parking better.

  4. Why would drivers double park because of the bike racks? Oohh… You mean the racks are taking up metered parking spaces for the citizens of the city. Funny, I thought the meters were a money stream for the city? At some point meters need to be left for those that drive. Not for the bikes, scooters, zip cars, etc. but for drivers. Helps merchants, retailers, etc. when we can actually park near where we shop, eat, etc.

    • At some point those that drive need to walk, bike or take a scooter. Double parking is a signal that too many people are driving.

    • >Oohh… You mean the racks are taking up metered parking spaces for the citizens of the city.

      Or, parking spots are taking up the bike racks for the citizens of the city. Odd that we think it is completely fine for people to store their private property on the street for almost nothing.

      >Funny, I thought the meters were a money stream for the city?

      Motivate pays the city $30k per pod. Don’t worry, the city always gets it’s money.

      >Funny, I thought the meters were a money stream for the city?

      How about this, how about less than 1% of all parking in the city goes to bikes.

      >Helps merchants, retailers, etc. when we can actually park near where we shop, eat, etc.

      Don’t cyclist ship where they park too? How is their money not as good. If you doubt the money that cyclist pull in look at Valencia before and after they put in the bike lane.

    • Why should car drivers have priority over other users of the street? Cars get too much of the parking dedicated to them as it is, we need to make room for other street users as well.

  5. I completely agree with his attitude. That’s a terribly congested block because of the location of the mail boxes, the bike rack already outside of the cafe on the corner of 29th and Tiffany, and the unmarked intersection that is in constant pedestrian use by customers of Safeway, The Front Porch, the cafe on the corner, the Post Office, the bike shop, the bar and residents. It’s really the worst place for the Ford bikes I’ve seen, and I had no idea there was no input from residents. How can people keep on complaining about congestion when parking places keep being eaten up by parklets and bike racks? It will make the city more congested and not solve a single problem. It’s one thing to make the city more bike and pedestrian friendly, but there are many older folks like me who must use our cars to get around because of various disabilities.

    • >It’s one thing to make the city more bike and pedestrian friendly, but there are many older folks like me who must use our cars to get around because of various disabilities.

      For every person that rides a bike instead of driving, there is more parking for people exactly like you. People who have to drive.

      Why not make it easier for people who can bike to bike so they don’t contribute to parking or traffic woes?

      If you drive, you should want less other people driving and more of them biking.

      Why would you want more people driving? Doesn’t it make it hard for you?

    • Parking places are not being eaten up by parklets and bike racks to a significant degree – they are mainly eaten up by cars. Too many people driving is the main cause of the congestion.

  6. It’s a bad location. The Post Office and the UPS Store already generate lots of parking requirements. The existing bike rack and parklet take up three spaces already, and now the Ford bike rental takes two more, right in front of UPS Store, making 5 in a row on that end of the block. There is always double parking at that location already, and from the north side of 29th to the south, there is a lot of foot traffic at the (unmarked) Tiffany intersection for people going to Safeway. Generally, I am in favor of bike share, but this location is not good and it should be removed.

  7. As a resident and business owner on 29th street I can attest that there was no (ZERO) public input or notice about this. One day temporary no parking signs went up and three days later the bikes were installed. I also support bike share programs, but this location is a bad idea. Not to mention, the next couple years are going to become a construction nightmare with all the much needed rebuilding after the fire, residents and merchants need all the spaces we can get to keep our community and businesses thriving. Please submit comments to SF MTA or join the MBMA in getting this bike station removed or relocated.

  8. Off topic a bit, but someone posted an interesting study where businesses did better after cities added more bike lanes:

    Wonder what would have changed if they got input for the businesses on 29’th street? They probably would have just told them to go away. Seems like everything that impacts people’s parking is highly discouraged by the residents of SF. Think new housing builds.

  9. This was already a dumb place to try to park, and losing one spot wasn’t going to make it any worse.

    Rock Bar and Front Porch should ask their patrons how they got there before making assumptions. When I frequently patronized both I exclusively walked there, and I’d bet huge numbers of their customers did the same.

  10. Living in Bernal Heights, there is almost no need for a car to do things around Mission St and Bernal Heights. The businesses balking about this are pretty much in walkable locations plus very easy access to public transportation. This is as bad as Calle 24 and Meda with their complaining about the bike program going up on 24th St. Bring on more bike shares.

    • May you never age or break a bone.

      (Or have a cold, or a need to carry bulky items, or a job that requires employees to not be sweaty messes, or a schedule to adhere to that involves many locations, or children or dogs, or deliveries of any sort, or construction on your house, or groceries, or clothes or pretty much any portion of modern life…)

      I wish that nirvana for you, Pamela.


      • Hyperbole much?
        There are 470,000 registered cars in SF. That’s a lot of people with “broken bones, Or have a cold, or a need to carry bulky items, or a job that requires employees to not be sweaty messes, or a schedule to adhere to that involves many locations, or children or dogs, or deliveries of any sort, or construction on your house, or groceries, or clothes…”

        As of this morning the bike station and 29th and Tiffany has 5 of 17 bikes available. Seems like there is a need for the availability of shared bikes in the neighborhood, no? There are still nearly 280,000 on-street public parking spaces available in the city for your precious automobile.

      • When is the last time you drove or rode in a car, Rob? And why?

        It is only fair to assume that every single person driving in San Francisco at any one moment has just as valid a reason for driving as you did.

        “Joyriding” isn’t a thing here anymore.

      • Geez, never heard that argument before. Remove a few parking spots out of 1,000’s in the city on every block and all of a sudden no one can drive. Parking was never difficult before. You can’t physically bike, therefore we can’t encourage others to do it. Well I can’t drive, therefore we need to stop encouraging you to do it. Tear out the car parking. I was never asked about it. Fair is fair.

      • A solution could be to provide handicapped parking on this block as well. maintaining the status quo just because it worked for some people isn’t really fair to people it was not working for. I for one think bike share is a great solution. It’s on demand transportation that doesn’t result in more cars on the road like uber and lyft, and it operates 24/7.

      • The last time I drove a car I used….wait for it….car share! (I would imagine at this moment somebody else is using the car that I only needed for a short time) so yes, I am not *totally* against cars, but I’ll tell you this: Stand on any corner and count how many cars you see, all 2,000 pounds of steel and glass, with one tiny human inside, angry that there are soooo many other cars on the road, angry that the can’t find a conveniently located parking space when they want one? Do you really think that all those people are driving because they absolutely have no other choice? Do they all have broken bones or a cold? I see it all the time, on my bicycle. People angry at each other, honking, frustrated, stressed out because there is just too many cars on the road and not enough space for them.

        I’m no dummy. I understand that for some people car ownership is absolutely necessary. But you can’t honestly tell me that the 480,000 vehicles registered in the County of San Francisco are for those people that are too old, or sick or have children or whatever other reason you cited. Could it just be that people are just accustomed to being able to hop in their own personal 2,000 pound box of steel and glass and go where they want to go when they want to go there? The City belongs to all of us. A huge amount of the City’s open space is dedicated to these privately-owned 2,000 pound boxes of steel and glass that only benefit a few people each, if that. Do the math.

      • Thank you for the impassioned missive. It’s cute that you think cars only weigh a ton and are built with steel. (Know your enemy, man!)

        But you didn’t address my question: when you took car “share,” which is still driving, you had a reason, correct? Why is your reason valid and everyone else’s isn’t?

        So… You are human, therefore you make false assumptions based on your own experience and ideas. But the truth is: there’s nothing wrong with driving a car, even if it’s just because you want to. People drive for as many different reasons as there are people who drive. Quite literally.

        There’s nothing superior about riding a bike, no matter the amount of religious fervor with which you advocate. Portraying every driver as angry, sullen and violent is just silly propagandizing. In fact, if we follow your notion to its end, you should really be advocating for an all-pedestrian populace. Bikes require raw materials, energy and resources to produce. They take up space on public streets and sidewalks. Pedestrianism is free, and requires no cumbersome infrastructure. By your metric, walking is better.

        So why do you bike and not walk? Why go two-thirds of the way to Paradise and not all the way?

        You are passionate about biking. Awesome! So go bike. And make things better for cyclists. But it is NOT your job to make things HARDER for automobile drivers. You don’t have to be anti-car to be pro-bike. Cars are an almost infinite improvement over what came before. And as a mostly competent, occasionally rational adult, I request that you stop telling me how to locomote. (I HAPPEN to prefer my human-sized hamster ball…)


      • “There’s nothing superior about riding a bike”

        Really? Nothing? Not environmentally? Or physically?

        “Cars are an almost infinite improvement over what came before”

        Cars are almost infinitely more convenient than what came before, certainly, at least through the narrow lens of getting from A to B. That convenience comes with numerous costs, though, and only a few of them are directly borne by the person choosing to drive.

      • “In New York City alone at the turn of the century, horses deposited on the streets every day an estimated 2.5 million pounds of manure and 60,000 gallons of urine… Excreta from horses in the form of dried dust irritated nasal passages and lungs, then became a syrupy mass to wade through… including typhoid fever… tetanus was introduced into cities in horse fodder and that an important cause of diarrhea, a serious health problem among children at the time, was ‘street dust’ consisting in the main of germ-laden dried horse dung. The flies that bred on the ever present manure heaps carried more than thirty communicable diseases… traffic was often clogged by the carcasses of overworked dray horses… About 15,000 dead horses were removed from the streets of New York each year…. These conditions were characteristic in varying degree of all of our large and medium-sized cities.” – James Flink, The Automobile Age (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1993), p. 136

        And here’s a link to an actual VIDEO of Market Street traffic in 1905… complete with horses, public transit, pedestrians, bicyclists, etc…

        This discussion is too long for this thread. Wish it could calmly happen IRL.

        Bottom line: Car-hating isn’t new or compelling. It’s just easy. Be pro-bike, not anti-car.

      • Well, that’s a bit before the era I had in mind. 🙂

        To be clear, I’m not anti-car at all. Quite the opposite, in fact, but I do think their role in our city is outsized at this point.

      • Cars are literally destroying our environment. So yes, it is good to discourage their use as much as possible. This is a “Transit First” city you know, as voted on by the Board of Supervisors and then reaffirmed by voter initiative. Most people drive because it is too cheap and too convenient and they don’t about the cost that they impose on others, especially future generations.

      • Which narrative, Shark? Having been involved in an MTA project elsewhere, I can confirm that they schedule some meetings with no notice, plan meetings and then send email a few days later saying ‘we’ll tell you when the next meeting is’ and put up fliers just a couple business days before a midday meeting. And sometimes the location for the fliers…defies belief. Or just confirms that they’re really not looking for community involvement.

        No, had those people known, the complaint might have been – I had to work, submitted comments by email, never made it into the record. Or I went in, and my comments fell on deaf ears.

  11. I often bike and drive through that intersection, and the problem here is drivers that double park.

    It is absurdly easy to drive up the ramp, and park in the Safeway lot. I think the solution here is more tickets for double parkers.

    • agreed! People double park whether there are Ford bikes or not. It is a part of SF culture that needs to change.

    • Absurdly easy to park in Safeways lot? Even if not shopping there? The complaints about private cars parked on public streets pale in comparison to your opinion of private cars parking in a private lot and then not doing business with said private company.

  12. I’ve been using bikes from this station almost every day since it was installed. I usually grab a bite or coffee at the Cafe78 next to the rack after each ride, so I think my business to local merchants has gone up. We need more climate friendly transportation.

  13. I’m irked that the businesses didn’t get a proper seat at the table, but removing the bike share at this point is throwing the baby out with the bath water. As someone who worked at St. Luke’s for 10 years, I can tell you parking was a problem way before Front Porch or the fire. The parking in that area is already a lost cause. Any problem the racks pose for parking space is just a drop in the bucket. The double parkers just need to stop double parking! Or get more tickets. I drive or bike depending on if I have my kids or not, so I’m not super anti -or pro- anything. I do think, however, we need more bike opportunities and that parklets and bike share programs are GOOD for business b/c they promote community. Double parkers don’t. Except for the elderly who live in the area or others who are disabled and can’t walk far, double parkers running in “for just a sec” just need to be ticketed the hell away. Wow, I’m full of lame sayings today.

  14. I hope in the future there is better outreach to local businesses and residents. While I am a fan of the bike share program, there should be more notices/outreach than just taping a piece of paper to a pole.

    On the other hand, I hope everyone is boycotting Calle 24 due to their success at keeping the Bike Share stations away from 24th. Good work Erick Arguello!

  15. I empathize with frustration about how the city handles communication on these issues, but every time I’ve seen an accusation of “zero outreach” it usually boils down to “I didn’t hear about it.” Comments above indicate that fliers and at least one hearing occurred. Based on my own experience with notifications, I would be surprised if there weren’t also mailed notices, but those look kinda like junk mail, so maybe they didn’t make it through the filter? I know it’s happened to me.

    The double-parking on 29th is an issue, but it pre-dates the parklet, bike rack, and bike sharing. Deliveries to Cole Hardware (RIP) and the UPS Store are the real issue. There’s likely some Lyft/Uber double-parking for patrons of Front Porch and Rock Bar, too…

    Parking spaces are public land. Just because they’re currently used for cars doesn’t mean there aren’t different/better uses for them. It is unlikely that we’ll have unanimity about that, but we shouldn’t let that lock us into the status quo.

    • Lets keep the bikes and get rid of all the Ubers and Lyfts. I don’t remember any public outreach when those hit the streets. This solution will reduce the amount of double parking going on well beyond 29th street.

      • Here, Here! Best idea yet. Uber and Lyft contribute way more to congestion (and lord knows, double-parking of which the “how-to” is probably in the Uber training manual) than this bike rack, not to mention their business model built on the workers providing the capital.

        At least Ford provides the bikes and maintains them (so far, ha.). They are also hiring the Chariot drivers directly, though probably not at union wages. Sorry for going off-topic.

  16. The photo on the post is of the newest station right in front of Precita Park. It’s bad enough that there is no parking for residents and now to have some random bike station is really irritating. It needs to be removed ASAP. I also don’t appreciate it being located right a cross from the Elementary school. Who knows what kind of weirdos it’s gonna attract to our neighborhood. Bad enough we got a tent city down the street.

    • There is plenty of parking in the far-out suburbs. Perhaps residents of urban environments should become accustomed to it being in short supply?

      You are the first person I’ve heard concerned that BIKESHARE brings a rough element. Do you think bike station is code for heroin den? I mean, there is no law outlawing bikes from proximity to a public school, and the very notion is laughable.

      Seems like a city park is the perfect place to have shared bikes available.

      • Kim’s comment is completely baffling to me. A bike station at a public park that’s also close to numerous bus stops and a great cafe makes total sense. Plus, there’s one (hopefully soon to be another) station right near the 24th Street BART, which will certainly be useful to service the residents of Precitaville and Santana Rancho. I think CARS parked along the park are a far more interesting bit of bait for the “weirdos” you mention.

        I just came back from a visit to Vancouver, and I was stunned to see how many residents and tourists alike were making use of their bikeshare program. Traffic is bad enough in this city; we need to figure out other methods. I think this is a great start.

    • > “Who knows what kind of weirdos it’s gonna attract to our neighborhood”
      Are you talking about the anarchists that Calle 24 has encouraged to destroy property?

    • The bike rack in front of Precita Park was placed in a previous no-parking zone. But yeah, let’s complain about it anyway!

    • “collecting data on users” can be a loaded phrase. Are you using this neutrally, positively, or negatively?

      • Of course there’s no telemetry because point B is always one of their stations—GPS would be superfluous. I’m not worried about the privacy aspects of things like this anyhow, the point is the city handed over public space for corporate use (which is in contrast to the city charter.) Bike shares are fine, and these Ford bikes probably won’t last long, but it’s a shame how it was implemented.

      • The public space in question was previously “handed over” to private individuals to use one at a time. It’s totally reasonable to debate how much public space to devote to each purpose, but it’s not like we suddenly shut down a shared space.

    • Next thing you’re going to tell us is that Google isn’t a public service, it’s some scam to mine our personal information and sell it to marketers!

    • yup, wouldn’t doubt that they would like to replace them with self-driver robot cars or their jitney bus. Let’s hope that maybe its only electric bikes

  17. I like bike shares, though I haven’t used them in SF. But I was surprised to see the Ford bike share on 29th Street, as it is a consistently congested street. Are they (Ford) compelled to use public streets- or does the City give it away for free? It seems the SafeWay parking lot would have been a great option…

      • Thank you Ivan- I just Googled Motivate, and now I better understand. Safeway still seems an option, but it’s lack of visibility and cachet probably negates it as a pod. The most heated arguments on BernalWood always seem to involve the issue of parking, I guess this is one more aspect of that. This city is densifying far quicker than the existing transit infrastructure can bear. If only they had built the 30th BART station long ago, and not destroyed the city trolley system that used to exist, and so on and so on…

  18. Was there any public outreach about where these bike share racks were to be located? Was there just one meeting at city hall, with no notice to the neighborhoods affected? How did they decide how many bikes to put in what locations? I am dismayed by the number of them that have suddenly sprung up. I am hopeful that the ones that are not used will get removed, or at least reduced in size.

  19. Redesign business area parking spaces as tiered so there’s more spaces by reducing the size to accommodate only compact and sub-compact autos, adding some high priced parking spots designed for SUV’s and trucks, which could also be used by anyone else willing to pay the higher rate.

  20. .. And can we stop with the bike “share” thing? It’s Bike Rental.

    Talk about a framing success that would make George Lakoff proud.

    P.S; it’s not rideshare either. It’s a cab, it’s a taxi.

      • It’s not bike rental. When you rent a bike, you return it to the same location you rented it from.

        As for it being a monopoly, perhaps we shouldn’t repeat the pattern we have with transit where we have over 25 transit operators in our 9 county Bay Area, all 25+ of them competing against each other for funds, designing and building duplicate projects and redundant and expensive infrastructure.

  21. It IS bike rental, just as there is car rental where you pick up at one location and drop off at another. i.e. pick up at SFO drop off at OAK,

    It is bike RENTAL with multiple drop offs. And with people DRIVING around shuttling bikes from full stations to empty ones.

    As for the MONOPOLY, with competition in bike share the pricing will stay lower that if we create a monopoly, you can’t compare bike share infrastructure to public bus and light rail. Apples to oranges

  22. Yes, competition in bike rental infrastructure would be a good thing. Also hopefully by competitors whose stands are less intrusive eyesores on urban space than the ones by those Ford monopolists.

  23. Regardless, this was poorly planned out. The bike station on 29th street takes up 2 and 1/2 parking spaces. The is dead space there that could have been used for adding more bikes, or keeping an extra parking space. Another case of poor City planning. There will be more double parking (The UPS Store is there), and it will become worse once Cole Hardware opens (across the street from their delivery door).

  24. I’m honestly curious and not baiting anyone when I ask; San Francisco residents that use these, what do you like about them as opposed to owning and riding your own bicycle?

    As a sometimes-to-often cyclist, they seem less convenient and more costly than riding the bike I already own; but—I don’t know what I don’t know. Honestly, would someone inform me? Aside from the horrendous branding, maybe I’ll see the magic in them one day?

    • The primary advantage I see is not needing to find a secure place to lock my bicycle at my destination.

    • I used to ride my bike to the Mission. Then it got stolen. I replaced it, and the new bike got stolen too.

      I no longer ride my own bike to the MIssion.

      Bike share offers similar convenience without the risk.

    • Also, if friends or family come to visit- they can use one and I can ride my own rather than driving or walking around!

    • My apartment is too small to store a bike inside, and also it’s extremely convenient to not have to worry about getting your bike back home when you ride…. Especially if you’re going to someplace like rock bar.

  25. I often leave my house without a bike, but I’d love to bike home. Bike share enables that one-way bike ride, but only if there’s a solid network of stations.

    For example, this morning I took my kid to school on Muni and then took BART to work. I would have rather ridden a bike home, but since there are no stations near my house (yet), that wasn’t an option.

    • Yes, Mattdh666! I’m you in reverse – I like to bike to work after school drop-off, but coming home, I have things to carry, extra stops that make it hassle (not to mention the hill) to be on a bike. I like to ride the bike 1-way and leave it. Also, in other cities, I have used these in conjunction with transit to get around and then…leave it. For those times when Muni gets you part way there, but the nextbus says the next bus won’t be there for 30 min (or longer), if there are enough stations around, you can pick one up, and …not have to take it home. It could be that the City should improve the pricing, or various other factors, but I really cannot believe that in SF, we are debating whether we are for or against increased biking. The perfect should not be the enemy of the good.

    • Same here, I took Muni to work but then took a Go bike to daughters after school program, which is about two miles away and inconvenient for either driving or taking Muni.

  26. Has anyone lost the connection that a bar needs car parking? That station is exactly where it should be. I bike that way to take advantage of the connection to Valencia off Tiffany (which recently got a protected intersection), and I see dozens of cyclists there at any given time. The more plausible reason that this owner doesn’t want this bikeshare station is that his employees park there. You can see those spots from either door.

    Either way, a bad business decision to fight bikeshare, less customers and if they remove the station without placing one within less than a block I will boycott as well. I have spend hundreds if not thousands at those places.

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