The Province

Not all East Van residents pleased with new Mobi site

- Susan Lazaruk

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.
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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