Not all East Van res­i­dents pleased with new Mobi site

The Province - - NEWS - Su­san Lazaruk [email protected]­media.com

Van­cou­ver and the pri­vate com­pany that runs the Mobi bike-shar­ing pro­gram have been ex­pand­ing to east of Main Street as planned, giv­ing East Van­cou­ver nine sta­tions with an­other eight planned.

More than 18 months after the pay-per-use bike loan pro­gram first ap­peared on city streets, Mobi is on track to grow to 200 sta­tions and 2,000 bikes, in­clud­ing three new sta­tions near the Com­mer­cial Sky­Train sta­tion.

“We have re­ceived a lot of pos­i­tive sup­port and feed­back as Com­mer­cial/Broad­way is our No. 1 most re­quested lo­ca­tion for a sta­tion,” Mia Ko­hout, gen­eral man­ager of Van­cou­ver Bike Share, a pub­lic-pri­vate sub­sidiary of the U.S.-based bike­share gi­ant Cy­cleHop, said in an email.

The lat­est sta­tions are among the 50 planned for East Van­cou­ver, in ad­di­tion to the 123 op­er­at­ing in down­town Van­cou­ver and west of Main Street. They in­clude two near VCC-Clark Sky­Train sta­tion and four in Mount Pleas­ant along East 10 Av­enue, said a spokes­woman for the city’s en­gi­neer­ing depart­ment in an email.

The other eight are planned for the Com­mer­cial Drive area. The bikes will even­tu­ally roll out to Strath­cona, Grand­view-Wood­land and into Kens­ing­ton-Cedar Cot­tage and ex­pand through the Down­town East­side and Mount Pleas­ant.

The city said in its most re­cent up­date on Mobi us­age in Novem­ber there had been 650,000 trips to­talling two mil­lion kilo­me­tres made by 35,000 users on the dis­tinc­tive blue bikes since the July 2016 launch.

Van­cou­ver’s sum­mer trips per day av­er­age is fifth in the world after Barcelona, Paris, New York and Mon­treal. But not ev­ery­one is happy with Mobi’s choice of lo­ca­tions for the bike racks.

“The lo­ca­tion se­lec­tion process is not trans­par­ent,” said Perry Boeker, who lives near the new­est Mobi rack that was be­ing in­stalled Wed­nes­day at Wood­land Drive and 10 Av­enue in East Van­cou­ver. “They’re rail­road­ing it in.”

Boeker, who rides his bike to work and sup­ports bike-share pro­grams, couldn’t find any neigh­bours who had been can­vassed by Mobi be­fore the lo­ca­tion was an­nounced.

When he and other res­i­dents sug­gested mov­ing the rack “to have less im­pact on the peo­ple who live here,” he said Mobi em­ploy­ees were “pig­headed. They’re not lis­ten­ing at all.”

He said the cor­ner is al­ready busy with school buses drop­ping off chil­dren and sug­gested the city move it a half-block away next to a park.

Boeker noted the city had to back down from in­stalling a bike rack in 2016 in the West End be­cause co-op res­i­dents were given no no­tice.

But the city and Mobi both said Wed­nes­day that all res­i­dents and busi­nesses within 20 me­tres of the new­est rack were can­vassed. Staff go­ing door to door made three at­tempts to reach them and left in­for­ma­tion be­hind for those they didn’t.

“There has been lots of di­a­logue in the neigh­bour­hood,” said the city’s chief en­gi­neer Gerry Do­bro­volny.

At first, 12 res­i­dents had con­cerns, but after speak­ing with staff, three re­mained op­posed. There were 14 let­ters of sup­port for that lo­ca­tion and 11 sup­port­ive let­ters from peo­ple who lived in the area, he said.

Do­bro­volny said the lo­ca­tion will be re­viewed after in­stal­la­tion and noted the racks are por­ta­ble and can be moved.

Cy­cleHop’s orig­i­nal pro­posal to the city in­cluded plans for 225 sta­tions with 2,250 bikes over two phases.

But Ko­hout said last week “there are no set plans be­yond the ex­ist­ing ex­pan­sion to East Van­cou­ver and 2,000 bikes at 200 sta­tions at this time.”

FRAN­CIS GE­OR­GIAN /PNG FILES

Perry Boeker, who cy­cles and sup­ports bike shar­ing, said Mobi is ‘rail­road­ing’ in a sta­tion in East Van­cou­ver.

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