Mark McDermott

Free bike repair stations in the works

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by Mark McDermott

The Leadership Manhattan Beach Class of 2018 won approval at Tuesday night’s City Council to install three free bike repair stations in different areas of town.

The four-and-a-half foot standalone public use “fix it” stations will include tools and an air pump to cover most basic repair needs. The location of each station is still being determined, but among the places under consideration are near The Strand, both near the pier and in El Porto; Mira Costa High School; the Metlox Plaza; Polliwog Park; and Manhattan Beach Middle School.

“Please don’t consider the pier,” said Councilmember Steve Napolitano. “Let’s leave that uncluttered. Near the pier, great; on the pier, no.”

Three members of the Leadership Class of 2018, Maggie Luppon, Eric Von Fossen, and Kevin Chao, presented the project to the council.

Chao, a senior at Mira Costa High School who is part of this year’s Leadership class and who formerly served as an ambassador for the Downtown Business Association, noted that no bicycle repair shops are located anywhere near the downtown area.

“I personally believe bike stations can prove beneficial for our community wherever they may be,” he said.

“There is nothing more frustrating than going down The Strand on a bicycle and having low tires and not being able to fix it,” said Maggie Luppon, another Leadership class member.

Leadership Manhattan Beach is a non-profit community organization in which a different group of people joins together each to create a project benefiting the community; past projects include the Santa Float, binocular telescopes on the pier, concrete ping pong tables in local parks, the Live Oak Tot Lot, the “Facts on Plaques” series, and the refurbishment of the pier lifeguard station.

Luppon said the idea behind the bike repair stations was to fit with the more healthy, active lifestyle being promoted by the Blue Zones Project and to coordinate with the South Bay Bicycle Coalition’s master plan. That plan, agreed to by every municipality in the South Bay, intends to add 235 miles of bike paths and routes, including 31 miles within the City of Manhattan Beach (the city has thus far added six miles since the Plan’s adoption in 2011).  

“This is just kind of another addendum to that,” said Luppon.

Luppon said that the nearest “fix it” stations are in Redondo Beach. Other communities that have them are Long Beach and Santa Monica. Each station costs $2,300, and the Leadership class intends to install three, as well as maintenance contracts, at a total cost of about $10,000. They have applied to the Beach Cities Health District for a grant that would cover half that cost, and fundraising will cover the rest.

Public Works director Stephanie Katsouleas said that her department could handle the installations, which are estimated to only take about an hour per station.

“We’ve installed a lot of bike racks recently,” she said. “It wouldn’t take a lot of time to do.”

Mayor Amy Howorth said if there was a need identified to have more than three fix it stations the city should consider funding more in order to ensure every area of town is covered.

“I think anytime we can make it easier for people to be active, that is a great thing,” Howorth said. “So I love this project.”

Council approved the project unanimously. Proposed locations and final funding considerations will come back to the council as the project progresses.

“It’s a really nice message we are consistently sending to community members and people outside Manhattan Beach as we construct sharrows, or bike racks, or this wonderful project,” said resident Bill Hory. “It allows people from their towns to say, ‘You know what, I can pause here.’ It makes it a destination.”

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