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MBTA Seeking Upgrades to Station Bike Parking

The MBTA is seeking vendors who could provide a regional system of modular bike parking facilities.

The “pedal and park” bike corral inside the Alewife MBTA station in Cambridge.

In January, the MBTA issued a formal "request for information" for vendors of modular, secure bike parking systems for a project that could considerably increase the public's access to secure bike parking at transit stations and other public spaces throughout eastern Massachusetts.

"The MBTA is seeking information on secure bike parking systems with integrated access control for potential installation at MBTA transit stations and municipal property throughout eastern Massachusetts," according to the Request for Invitation (RFI) document, which was posted on January 31. "We are primarily interested in systems with small- to medium-sized modular units such as lockers, docks, or pods whose installations can be scaled to provide parking for approximately five to fifty devices depending on context."

Current Pedal & Park facilities require upgrades

The RFI document explains that the existing "Pedal & Park" cages located at some rapid transit stations, like the Alewife parking area pictured above, use specialized access cards that will be obsolete when the T finally implements its long-delayed new fare payment system.

The T also acknowledges that the current Pedal & Park facilities could be redesigned to accommodate emerging "micromobility" devices like scooters, adaptive bikes, and cargo bikes.

Since the agency needs to upgrade these facilities anyhow, the T is taking the opportunity to think about bike parking more holistically, to encourage more bike transportation to and from its stations.

"In order to take advantage of the moment, the MBTA is working with municipal partners to think more holistically about secure bike parking throughout the region, with the aim of developing a common system that utilizes deployments not only at MBTA transit stations, but also on municipal streets and spaces," according to the RFI document.

The MBTA is also asking vendors about opportunities to integrate its new fare system for access to bike parking areas.

Secure bike parking at stations, and in your neighborhood

The T envisions a system where you could park your bike at the train station in the morning, then park it in a similar bike storage pod in a curbside spot outside your apartment building for the night, using the same access card or mobile phone app.

"We would like to understand creative solutions for deployment within the public right of way," writes the MBTA in the RFI document. "Potential questions to be addressed include: How might installations of your system provide flush sidewalk-level access when deployed in street-level curbside spaces? What considerations or opportunities exist for deployment of your system as part of neighborhood-scale mobility hubs or placemaking?"

Read the MBTA's Request for Information here.

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