With Santa Monica’s Breeze Bike Share’s official Citywide launch set for Nov. 12, some businesses and residents are only now finding out that street parking spaces will be used for the location of some of the 75 stations across Santa Monica.
Unurban Coffee owner Pamela Stollings is one business owner not happy about the situation. Earlier this month a customer told her about a notice posted at the metered parking spaces next to her business on the west side of Urban Ave. at Pico.
“All options were explored; however, removal of one to two parking spaces is necessary in order to provide bike share access to residents, visitors and businesses in this neighborhood,” read the notice. “Stations consist of bike racks and an informational sign. No electrical work is required. The installation of each station will take a few hours, and will occur October-November 2015. Concrete work and minor sidewalk improvements are required at select locations.”
Stollings said she called the City of Santa Monica phone number listed on the notice. She said a City Planning staff member told her the installation was going ahead and nothing could be done about it.
The City did not respond by time of press to questions regarding the Urban Ave. location or how many parking spaces Citywide would be lost for the installation of the Breeze Bike Stations.
Stollings said parking was already scarce in her area of the Pico neighborhood, and losing the metered parking spaces would be like “losing one or two bars of gold.”
“I’ve been here for 20 years, and a few years back they put in bike racks along Urban Ave. next my business,” Stollings said. “Ever since there’s been five bike racks empty all day, every day. It’s not that people in Santa Monica don’t have a bike, it’s that people aren’t biking.”
Stollings said another Breeze Bike Station is going to be installed just two blocks away at Pico and Centinela.
She said that location made sense, just not on her side street that leads into a residential neighborhood.
“I don’t know how many residents are going to be thrilled about strangers biking down their street,” she said. “I’ve heard that’s how people surveil and check out whether they could rob or steal and to see who’s vulnerable.”
With the installation set to go ahead, Stollings said she is going to keep track of the bike station and whether it’s being used.
“I hope I’m surprised, but I don’t foresee it bringing a lot of business,” she said.