Recently, a poster on the UCLA Bicycle Coalition listserv brought up the topic of the campus’s bicycle lockers again.
When they were first installed on campus, the lockers were heralded as the latest in bicycle storage. Our department and the bike community discovered they were difficult to use and unreliable. While working to find a remedy, our department continued its efforts to install better bicycle racks (like U-Racks) in locations that didn’t compromise security or aesthetics.
Behind the scenes, our department has been working with another outside vendor in order to replace the existing locker system on campus.
In an e-mail Mike King, our bike planner, sent to the UCLA Bicycle Coalition listserv, he wrote the following:
I have been in discussion with the company we hope to contract with, and we hope to receive cost estimates and pricing agreements relatively soon. Our budget is limited, so we have to weigh our options carefully, and unfortunately aside from manual-key lockers, there are not many vendors who contract automated bike locker services.
In the interim, I can help troubleshoot the lockers when I'm on campus. I will contact the Bicycle Parking Network in order to track the owner of the moped. We already contacted the Bike Parking Network regarding users who permanently reserve lockers, and they said they would contact the users individually. If lockers are visibly-unoccupied, but the system is saying that the locker is occupied, (since this is a common problem) I can release the locker.
Also, if you can't retrieve your bike during after hours because of a locker malfunction, our department will reimburse you for the cost of a taxi. Hopefully this doesn't happen, but it's a thought to keep in mind.
Special kudos to Kyle Woodward, who spoke up about this topic and just created an app to track the availability of bicycle lockers for Android phones (in beta) and Allison Mannos and Herbie Huff, who created the UCLA Bicycle Coalition and its listserv in order to foster dialogue about issues facing the bicycle community on campus and beyond.