Sunday, August 28, 2011

Phoenix Central Station Bicycle Lockers

Phoenix Bike Lockers with Her Secret is Patience

Trying out my first bicycle locker: spacious, room for two!

I counted 20 between this group and the group across the street

Very reasonable rules, although I'm not sure about the 10pm part, that's pretty early

Trying out my lock, I probably want a beefier one, something like...

...the lock on the left

Bicycle lockers are a new thing for me. I've read about them, seen them online, certainly, but never put a bike into one and locked it up. Saturday changed all that. When I saw on PHXBIKE that these had been installed at Phoenix Central Station downtown, I knew I had to ride down there to have a look. Local transit related sites mention that the park-n-rides also have bike lockers, although the one at 38th and Washington doesn't seem to yet. Lockers open more possibilities for commuters: park-n-ride (your bike), ride a nicer bike because you can worry less about it being stolen, vandalized, or disassembled at an exposed rack, much simpler lock-up equipment and procedure since only a single secure padlock is needed, and also users of fancy British leather seats need not worry about weather, thieves, or vandals.

Bike lockers: one way for a city, or an employer for that matter, to demonstrate that they are serious about encouraging cyclists. Or for businesses to attract cyclist customers, although I don't know of any that have installed them for that reason.

Next question: can I get one for home? And another for my office?

Downtown Phoenix on Saturday morning is a ghost town. Ball park ahead on the right.

I always feel like taking the exit.

I attempted to do this ride by leaving at what was for me an early hour on Saturday morning in order to lower some of the effects of this current record-breaking heat wave, but was only semi-successful in this respect. It was 105F at 10am, and the humidity was higher than normal, with the result that I was feeling below optimal. After about 20 miles of hot pavement, I stopped beneath a shady tree to guzzle some water and gather my wits. Working in my favor was that Phoenix downtown streets are deserted on a Saturday morning, providing an extremely congenial environment for urban cycling. When I walked in the door at home, my wife handed me a tall cold fruit smoothy made with bananas and berries, which took the edge right off this hot summer morning ride.

Hmmm, perhaps the bike lockers could also dispense fruit smoothies.

On a related but slightly side note, I've seen some offhand comments about bike lockers being security risks, usually including the modifier "since 911". I suppose they could be in some settings, but these are right next to a street, which means anything you might hide in a bike locker for nefarious purposes could be exceeded many times over by what you can hide and transport in a vehicle. It's not that they present zero risk, but nothing does: think of all the things you can do with a park bench! Plus these would make good zombie defense pods once you figured out how to open and close them from the inside.

These are great, thanks Phoenix! Makes me want to ride out to the park-n-rides to see what those look like.



  1. Transit runs later than 10PM. A "12 hour use limit" keeps people from "owning" the lockers without someone working second shift coming back to a city confiscation.

  2. Bike lockers are great for the end of the "first mile" but they do nothing to shorten that "last mile".

  3. Those things say way more about supporting bicycling than some dumb bike racks.

  4. you could just trick a few zombies INTO the locker and lock it from the outside. the only preblem then is whether or not you believe zombies have super-human strength.

  5. John, I've been catching up on your blog. I like your bikes and love the new picture as your header. A very "Arizona" cycling picture in my opinion. I also like that you paint the image of just a guy exploring his town, bookstores and coffee shops...on a bike. Sounds pretty perfect to me.

  6. Steve, I see what you mean but not sure how they would time the 12 hour occupancy limit without a parking warden or additional automation ($).

    Unknown, I think walking is terrific. With that study released last week in the Lancet that said half of Americans are projected to be obese by 2030, walking that first mile, the last mile, and a couple in between sounds like a good thing.

    limom, I wonder what the relative costs and upkeep is bike racks vs. lockers.

    mr. johnnytrashbike I envision a swarm scenario would be more typical, although if faced with the small group of wanderers, it's not a bad idea, except where are you going to store the bikes if the lockers are full of the undead?

    veesee, PHX does indeed have some very positive aspects, which I have noticed a lot more by riding my bike around.

    Big Clyde! Hey! Thanks, I check into your blog once in a while too, and always enjoy reading about our fairly bike-friendly city to the south...or is it east? When I was a kid my dad told me that even-numbered freeway numbers run east-west, so you see my dilemma.

  7. I think bike lockers are a great idea to encourage bicycle commuting. I'm retired and no longer bicycle commute, but bike lockers certainly would be a great benefit for employers to consider.

  8. 12 hours is easy to enforce. Simply attach something to the locks. 12 hours later, locks with the marker attached are violators. The principle is the same as chalk marks on car tires to enforce car parking rules.

    For a refinement, they could include the locker number on the marker. In reality, they really want to avoid people taking over lockers permanently and using them as long-term storage.

  9. Well, if I walk the first mile, get on the light rail for the mid-mile, then walk the last mile, I probably didn't need my bike in the first place. I like to walk also but I cover more ground when I bike so I like biking better.

  10. Steve it seems like someone has to be paid to go around constantly attaching things to locks and monitoring them. Which would work, but is not as easy as setting a certain time each day to start cutting off locks.

    Unknown, certainly true. Also there are other combinations now possible with the bike lockers though: ride the 5.2 miles to the light rail, take the light rail 13.2 miles to downtown, lock up bike in locker, walk 3.2 blocks to office. Or have wife drop you off with bike at light rail in the morning (7 miles to light rail) take bike downtown, lock in locker, take home at night, get a brief workout riding home. Or...well the possibilities are limited only by geography and the imagination, and are certainly more numerous if you allow both walking and biking.


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