The new bikeshare station originally planned for the 24th Mission Street BART plaza will instead be installed at the neighboring Mission Branch Library, making the Ford GoBikes available at 300 Bartlett Street.
The compromise was agreed on Thursday morning at the BART board meeting in downtown Oakland, after impassioned Mission residents spoke their opposition to the bike station in the plaza. The motion was made by board director Bevan Dufty, over objections from colleagues who argued that the new location makes the bikes less accessible.
“I timed how much it took me to walk from the Plaza to the library and it was only 45 seconds. A hundred steps. Saying otherwise is dishonest,” Dufty said.
The solution will only be temporary, given the pending retrofitting of the library building, and will have to be revisited in 16 months.
Mission residents and activists took turns at the mic, protesting what they called the “corporate intrusion” and poor community outreach of Motivate, operator of Ford GoBike in the city.
“People talking about accessibility do not belong to our communities, and do not care about the plazas we respect and love so much,” said Vicky Castro, executive director of La Raza Centro Legal.
Ford GoBikes are at the 16th Street BART Station and more than a dozen other Mission locations.
Occupying two corners of the 24th Street and Mission intersection, the Plaza has long served as a community hub and a meeting place for citizens and vendors who set up booths during weekends and for special festivities.
“I’m tired of white, affluent people coming with their first-world problems when there are communities being displaced and public spaces overridden,” added Mission resident Larisa Pedroncelli.
Bike supporters in the room stressed the importance of seamless connection between transportation services (train, bus, bikes) to discourage people from using Uber or Lyft as a last-mile solution.
However, Mission residents countered saying that Lyft-owned Motivate was not making much of a difference. “They are trying to put their corporate advertisement on a vital part of our community,” complained resident Carlos Bocanegra.
The decision by the board of directors will now result in the installation of 15 docks in front of the library. Jean Walsh, Motivate’s director of external affairs, said previously that they needed 30 docks in the vicinity of the BART station to meet the rider demand.
“I just ask that we put the bikes at the library, and maybe Motivate can do a better job at listening to the community, and show some respect,” Dufty said.