A new bicycle parking station for commuters opens in downtown Berkeley July 1, offering free parking, 24-hour access and bicycle rental and repair services.

The new Berkeley Bike Station at 2208 Shattuck Avenue, a half a block from the downtown Berkeley BART station, is in the former Shoe Pavilion site.

The 3,550 square-foot station will replace a 400-square foot cage used for bike parking in the dark and cramped downstairs BART station. That bike station opened 10 years ago.

Workers are putting the finishing touches on the new station which sports warm colors, lots of natural light and polished wood. It has lockers and restrooms, and Alameda Bicycle, which won the contract to run the station, will offer bike rentals, bike accessory sales and repairs.

With space for 268 bikes, the new facility is funded by the city of Berkeley and BART.

Last year, the Berkeley City Council overruled its own staff and committed $60,000 a year for five years to run the station. BART is contributing $100,000 a year, and it got a $500,000 start up grant procured by both BART and the city.

"For one thing, it's above ground which will make it easier for people to actually use it and it will expand from mainly BART commuters to anyone downtown," said Gene Oh, owner of Alameda Bicycle.

"And our clients can go to work and have their bikes fixed while they are at work, so they never have to stop commuting."


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Oh said for a charge of 3 cents an hour between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and 1 cent an hour after that, bike commuters can become members and have self service access through a key card 24-hours a day.

Valet parking is free for anyone who wants to leave their bike in downtown Berkeley from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Oh said he thinks the Berkeley bike station will be the second largest in the United States behind Chicago which has a bike station that accommodates 350 bikes.