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.