MBTA Rolling Out New ‘Pedal and Park’ Bike Cages at More Stations

These structures will give riders a safer place to put their bicycles before boarding the T.

Photo via MassBike.org

Photo via MassBike.org

The days of worrying about whether or not your bike will still be where you locked it outside of an MBTA station will soon be gone.

As part of a federal grant program to provide access to safer bike-locking options, MBTA officials said they are officially opening new “Pedal and Park” facilities to the public on April 16. The first structure will be unveiled to riders at the Oak Grove station, and allow cyclists to place their two-wheeled modes of transportation inside a caged area that can only be accessed with the use of a registered CharlieCard or Bike CharlieCard.

The Oak Grove facility will be one of the first of 12 new “high security” bike parking cages that will be rolled out for public use between April and September of this year. Other spots that will be getting the bike upgrades include South Station and Braintree. Additional card-access bike cages will be opened in Malden, Davis Square, Ashmont, Back Bay, Dudley, Alewife, Salem, and Beverly. Seven will open later this summer, and the last two will open in 2014.

“Each Pedal and Park is fully enclosed and provides parking for 50-150 bikes. Each facility is provided with 6 security cameras, lighting and a police intercom system,” according to a statement form MBTA officials. The first “Pedal and Park” facilities were setup in 2008 at Alewife Station. Originally, anyone with a CharlieCard or Bike CharlieCard could access the facilities, however, starting May 1, cyclists will have to register a card in order to gain access to the cages.

David Watson, executive director of MassBike, a coalition that supports a bicycle-friendly environment in Boston and surrounding communities, says the move is a way to help promote alternative modes of transportation and attract more riders to the T. “I think it’s awesome glad they are finally getting them all built,” he says. “They have been a huge success where they have been in operation for awhile. Some people are just not comfortable locking bikes outside for security reason. You only have to go look at the stations where they are in place, even this winter—year round, really—there are lots and lots of bikes at the Pedal and Parks.”

Watson says that the facilities will also benefit local communities, because some people who may live nearby the stations, but can’t easily walk there and tend to drive, will start to travel on two-wheels instead, knowing their bike is safe. “It’s not just huge for the bike community, its huge for people who want other options for getting to transit. It will bring more people to the T, and to public transit,” he says.

Bike thefts have been a persistent problem in the past for the MBTA Transit Police, as more people have been biking to T stations in order to catch the train with little to no options for places to lock up besides out on the streets. In 2012, police said the increase in crime led to officers to establish  a task force in high-crime areas with officers from police departments in Cambridge, Arlington and Somerville “to increase public awareness relative to bicycle theft.  This task force conducted numerous outreach events on the bicycle paths through these communities.”