BikeStation Closes its Showers

The Santa Barbara BikeStation has temporarily shut down its shower and restroom facilities due to multiple complaints about homeless people taking advantage of the amenities.

“We’ve been having problems with people who are not bicycle commuters using the showers and the restrooms for extended periods of time. The BikeStation is for bicycle commuters only–not for the general public to use,” said Browning Allen, transportation manager of alternative transportation planning for Santa Barbara.

The BikeStation is designed for employee commuters and is one of numerous stations in California, all founded and run by a private entity based in Long Beach. Secure, 24-hour bike parking, 78 bike racks, lockers and tools necessary for bike repair are among the amenities offered.

But the service is exclusive to those who purchase a membership online.

The BikeStation in the Granada Garage at 1221 Anacapa Street was created in 2007 and has had this problem since it opened, officials said.

“We just finally had too many complaints and we finally had to put a stop to it,” Allen said.

Victor Garza, head of the city’s Downtown Parking Program, is proposing a way of alleviating the situation–checking the membership roster against the video log. They will interrogate anyone who they suspect is abusing their privileges.

“If they say they are just using it for the shower, we will have their membership revoked,” Garza said.

The closing of the restroom facility was a joint decision between Allen, Garza, and officials from the BikeStation company.

There have also been cases of non-members abusing other privileges in the BikeStation, including using two or three lockers concurrently.

The management of Santa Barbara BikeStation is the responsibility of the Bicycle Coalition of Santa Barbara and the Alternative Transportation Department.

“We want to get the BikeStation facility back up and running with all the amenities so those folks who are legitimate bike riders can enjoy all the benefits of the BikeStation,” Garza said.

Common Ground Santa Barbara’s Resource Guide for the homeless cites BikeStation as a place to shower.

Garza has contacted Common Ground to request that the station be removed from the list.

This story was originally published for the Homeless in Santa Barbara blog on Nov. 3, 2012 at http://www.homelessinsb.org

For more stories I’ve written for the Santa Barbara homelessness blog, go to: http://www.homelessinsb.org/?s=emerson&submit=Search

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