GoBikes vandalized again in SF’s Mission District

bikes share bikeshare ford gobikeA row of flat rear tires at the 17th and Dolores street Ford GoBike station. Photo by Laura Wenus

For the second time in as many weeks, all of the rear tires of bicycles at the Ford GoBike station at 17th and Dolores streets are flat.

Ford GoBike stations and cycles have been vandalized repeatedly in recent weeks after a dramatic expansion of the program, formerly known as Bay Area Bike Share. Photos circulated of one bike stripped and stashed in a tree in the Mission and another thrown in Lake Merritt.

More formal opposition to the program has also emerged. A coalition of neighborhood groups in the Mission, calling itself United to Save the Mission, is asking for an economic impact study. One group in that coalition, the Calle 24 Latino Cultural Corridor, previously succeeded in booting bike-sharing from 24th Street.

On 17th Street, too, the bike-share station has neighbors disgruntled – at least according to Edwin Mascaro, who works at the 17th Street Upholstery. The new station, which he said was installed completely without warning on a recent weekend, sits squarely in front of the upholstery shop, taking up several parking spaces.

“The neighbors got pretty upset, because they didn’t notify anyone. It happened all on the weekend, the next day it was installed,” Mascaro said. “We’ve been here 30 years. We’ve never had these kinds of issues.”

Mascaro said the business has reached out to Motivate, the company that runs the bike-share program (Ford is a financial sponsor, not the operator) to see about getting the station moved at least a few feet toward the corner, which could free up one parking spot.

For its part, Motivate maintains that local businesses are contacted before a station is installed — and that it has met with the proprietor of 17th Street Upholstery to discuss whether any changes to the station might be made.

Stations are required by city permitting to be set back from the crosswalk a certain amount, said Motivate’s Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz, but the case is under review.

“Our team is working really, really hard to make sure that the bikes are in good working order and that the stations are clean,” he said. “We’re responding as fast as we can.”

By Monday afternoon, they had fixed the bikes at 17th and Dolores. Staff also work to relocate bikes to stations as they empty out so a ride is always available.

Motivate has around 100 staff members who help maintain the system and keep the stations stocked with usable bikes, Cosulich-Schwartz said. About 6,000 people around the Bay Area are Motivate bike-share users, taking 2,500 daily trips on an average weekday. Motivate has seen ridership grow 35% week over week through the expansion.

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16 Comments

  1. If you live, work, or shop in the Mission and you like cheap, accessable, clean transportation, sign the petition to show your support for bike share.

    https://www.change.org/p/supervisor-hillary-ronen-bring-ford-gobike-to-24th-street-san-francisco-cheap-clean-healthy-transit-for-all

  2. Robert Tillman

    I just signed as well.

  3. Ricardo

    They claim that they clean these stations not true just see the ones at 19th and Folsom and 17th and Harrison streets and several others in the mission they not only take parking and also prevent the street sweeper from doing its job. Question the city is losing money from the ones parked at the meters and this is all over smart move by the city then they claim poor.

  4. Matt Smith

    It always comes down to parking spots. The rest is just blather.

  5. Ron Winter

    This is NOT a bike “sharing” program. A corporate entity is appropriating public space for profit.

    • jwinstonsf

      Which corporation are you talking about? Ford is just advertising on these bikes. Cars parking in schoolyards and on sidewalks use up way more public space.

      • Ron W

        Motivate, the bike “sharing” corporation from New York takes the profit. Ford gets the publicity, and is mining tracking info from people who use the gobike app to collect data to build routes for their boutique shuttle service, Chariot. The streets are public spaces funded by taxpayers, and should not be handed over to corporations for profit.

        • If you want to invest in bike sharing, do’t. There is little or no profit. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/moneytips/bike-sharing-101_b_8106300.html

          They do not collect data for Chariot. This is a rumor that is absolutely untrue. What good would bikeshare ridership data do for a bus company run by another company anyway? Here is the data they do collect: https://www.fordgobike.com/system-data

          Public space is used by corporate sponsored bus shelters, toilets, newspaper companies, restaurants,fruit stands etc. Why not reallocate a couple of spaces from two private cars to thirty bikes?

          • Ron W

            If you believe Ford is really interested in “sharing” just to place their name on bikes for the potential advertising revenues, then you’re involved in a form of magical thinking for which any argument is useless.

            Gobikes i.e. Motivate, is just another in a long list of growing and speedy consumption of public space by private corporations.

        • Katie Kilkenny

          if the streets are public spaces and funded by taxpayers, why isn’t it illegal for people to smoke cigarettes whose corporations profit from people smoking? It is a clear known health hazzard that kills people including the gawd forsaken second hand smoke we are exposed to.

          Ron?

  6. Katie Kilkenny

    Calle24, see what you are creating? you are continuing the “us and them” mentality. Why don’t you make a statement to your group about not using violence against property? Why aren’t you talking about how much better this neighborhood is?

    Remember when cabs wouldn’t even come to the Mission? Garfield park was the place to go for drugs? Women teams wouldn’t play soccer at garfield park out of fear? Gangs shootings occurred regularly. Not that long ago. Not that long ago at all. 10 years

    No doubt, we also need to protect the Latino Culture around here. Put that bike station in as a start instead of circling the mission and closing it off in the us and them mentality.

    Working together is the way forward and even thankfullness at how much safer the Mission is due to growth.

    Ask anyone long term, Latino or otherwise, and we all agree it is way better and safer.

    • Ron W

      Calle24 has absolutely nothing to do with the opinions I’ve expressed here, though I admire their position on Ford Gobikes. Your above argument equates gentrification with neighborhood salvation, while hoping to “protect the Latino community”– a position which is oxymoronic and specious, at best, as recent history has shown vis-a-vis the unrelenting effects of gentrification on the Mission. No wonder there’s so much pushback against Motivate/Ford, the companies behind this bike “sharing” scheme, which has become a new symbol for the very gentrification you seem to applaud on one hand, and decry on another.

  7. Walter Glaser

    Apparently they put amount of bikes right in front of Buena Vista Horace Mann school on Valencia with no outreach to the school. Sounds like the outreach from the hamfisted corporation is poor.

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