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Faced With Flocks of Tourists—Town Will Charge for Bike Parking

Sausalito will charge for bike parking, instead of limiting the number of bikes entering the city's downtown, mostly from San Francisco by biking across the Golden Gate bridge and often taking a Golden Gate ferry back.
June 23, 2015, 8am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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T.W. van Urk

"The Sausalito City Council voted 4-1 [on June 9] in favor of charging for bike parking downtown that will also fund the city’s bicycle ambassador program," writes Soren Hemmila of Marinscope. "As the number of bicycles in town increase, city officials have considered programs to deal with downtown bicycle congestion and ensure pedestrian and bicycle rider safety."

Planetizen noted Sausalito's apparent bike problem in March. At that time, charging wasn't a consideration. Most of the bikes are rentals from San Francisco.

No, there will not be parking meters on bike racks, as one might imagine. "The members of the ambassador service direct bicyclists to parking on Tracy Way and will collect parking tickets from users," writes Hemmila.

“Our charming downtown is turning into a bike parking lot," admitted Councilwoman Linda Pfeifer who voted against the resolution establishing a seasonal fee for parking on Tracy Way adjacent to the Ferry Landing. "It seems we should be looking at a holistic solution that integrates bicycle staging areas and more regulation strategies."

According to a favorable Marin Independent Journal editorial, "(t)he city estimates that a parking fee of $2 to $3 per bike could raise as much as $250,000 between June and October. Most of the revenue will be used to pay for the ambassadors, a local nonprofit program that last year recruited volunteers to staff the parking lot and give visitors directions to bike parking."

It notes that Sausalito cyclists (as opposed to visitors) will be exempt from the fee, as you might have suspected.

For those considering a leisurely boat ride back to the City, Golden Gate Ferry won't charge you for bringing a bike aboard. Capacity: 200 bikes on the Sausalito Spaulding class vessel. However, reservations are required during the summer. [Make them with the San Francisco bike rental agencies.]


High-capacity Spaulding vessel, M.S. Marin. Credit: Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District

As for those bike racks in downtown, don't even think about it should you plan a visit on two-wheels. "Even before the council endorsed the parking charge and program, City Hall removed on-street bike racks throughout the downtown," notes the editorial.

Should you bike across the bridge, there's a good chance you need not worry about ever being charged, though it's too early to say. Legislation to prevent it passed the Assembly and advanced to the Senate. But you will need to pay a fare for the ferry trip back, though no surcharge for the bike.

Hat tip: MTC Headline News

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Published on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 in Marinscope
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