In a somewhat surprising development, the city and DecoBike have now both backed off on boardwalk bike-sharing.
“The city, per discussions with DecoBike, will focus on expanding the bike station locations by increasing the use of bike share for transit connectivity and short trips, which continues to support the city’s Climate Action Plan efforts and mobility hub plans,” said Stacey LoMedico, the city's assistant chief operating officer. “As a result, the city is proposing new locations in the urban core areas, which will be presented to the appropriate community planning groups.
“Based on this current focus,” continued LoMedico, “DecoBike will remove and relocate the bike stations listed below to urban locations through a city community outreach process. The removal of the stations will begin [this week] and conclude the week of Sept. 11.”
Beach bike-share station locations proposed to be reassessed/moved include: 4198 Mission Bay Drive, 1492 N Harbor Drive, 1899 N Harbor Drive, 4500 Ocean Blvd., 780 Thomas Ave., 700 Grand Ave., 760 Pacific Beach Drive, 1005 W Mission Bay Drive, 1098 W Mission Bay Drive, Dana Landing Road and W. Mission Bay Drive, 5800 Newport Ave., 2100 Spray St., 2727 De Anza Road, 2576 Laning Road, and 1240 East Mission Bay Drive.
This most recent turn of events was hailed by DecoBike boardwalk station opponents, who had become weary of tangling with DecoBike, trying to get them off the boardwalk and not competing with local bike-rental businesses.
“It appears the city is proposing to use bike share as originally intended; transit connectivity," said Brian Curry, a real estate consultant and immediate past president of Pacific Beach Planning Group. "The city’s previous program emphasized renting to tourists and providing direct competition to our local bike shop owners. Further, bike share kiosks should have never been placed on our boardwalk. Let’s hope the city follows through with their latest proposal."
Another longtime resident and member of Pacific Beach Planning Group, Eve Anderson, said: "It's about time we returned that incredible view of the ocean and Crystal Pier to locals and visitors. DecoBikes – without warning – simply yanked out the benches that faced one of PB's iconic views and set up their bike kiosk.”
Especially relieved by this most recent turn of events are small business owners catering to recreational bicyclists, like Matt Gardner, longtime owner of Cheap Rentals and Mission Beach Rentals near Belmont Park, who were crying foul claiming their businesses suffered from unfair competition from DecoBike.
“I've lost about $120,000 over two years,” Gardner told Beach & Bay Press previously, adding,“I'm giving the city and DecoBike every chance to make it right.”
Making it right, according to Gardner, would mean “establishing a true commuter-friendly ride sharing network — or they recoup the money that's been taken away from me.”
Garner claimed the lion's share of DecoBike rentals, as much 77 percent, is for recreational tourists, and not as the final leg of a commuter trip utilizing mass transit, for which the bike share network is intended.
DecoBike refused further comment on the announced relocation of some of its coastal bikeshare stations, including those on Pacific Beach boardwalk.
The city signed a 10-year deal with DecoBike to set up bike rental kiosks on city property. Launched in January 2015 as a way to boost residential bike commuters, kiosks would also be a means of income because the city would share in a portion of the rental profits. The key to the deal was the minimal expense to the city, as the Florida-based DecoBike would foot the bill for the infrastructure.