In a public hallway off Haywood Street, volunteers installed Asheville’s first downtown bike locker on June 24. The big metal box, split diagonally on the inside to make room for two bicycles, is one of 10 public lockers being installed in the city’s parking decks and the Rankin-Haywood hall beside the Office of Economic Development, says Asheville Transportation Planner Barb Mee. “Some will be coin-operated; some will be set up for monthly rentals,” she says, emphasizing the public/private collaboration that has brought the idea from concept to installation.
The lockers are part of the ongoing implementation of the city’s comprehensive bicycle plan, which was adopted in 2008, Mee explains. “During the development of the [city’s] bicycle plan, one of the facilities that cyclists told us was missing was secure bicycle parking,” she says. Mee credits the efforts of such organizations as Asheville on Bikes and the Asheville Bicycle Racing Club, just to name a couple (volunteers from both these groups were on hand to help insert the box panels, power-drive the screws and test the fit for a real bicycle).
Bike lockers are larger than typical lockers and allow cyclists to store their bicycle and equipment in a secure location, as demonstrated by Mike Sule of Asheville on Bikes during the installation process. His group and others have raised money to decorate the nondescript lockers with art, Mee mentions.
She also notes the city’s parking services will manage the lockers and reports the total cost at less than $20,000: For rental information, contact that department at 259-5792.
— Margaret Williams