Should a seldom used bike locker be relocated out of downtown?

Bicycle lockers on Clarence Street in London, Ont. on May 10, 2022. (Daryl Newcombe/CTV News London)

A bank of bicycle lockers rented only 10 times since last August may be a prime target for relocation.

On Tuesday, the Civic Works Committee recommended extending a discounted rental fee until the end of a pilot project that is evaluating three locations where the city installed secure bike lockers last summer.

Between August 2021 and March 2022 there have been:

  • 42 rentals at Wellington/Dundas
  • 48 rentals at Covent Garden Market
  • 10 rentals at Clarence Street near Victoria Park

“Right now, they do look like utility boxes,” admitted Coun. Shawn Lewis who advocated for signage and instructions around the nondescript lockers.

“Has any thought been given to modifying the pilot project and relocating one of these lockers to one of our transit hubs to see what the uptake would be out there?” Lewis asked.

He suggested the Clarence Street lockers might be better utilized near London Transit hubs at Argyle Mall, Masonville Place, or White Oaks Mall.

“I think we’re missing the boat,” added Lewis. “The majority of Londoners are not cycling from the suburbs to the downtown, but they may well cycle from their suburb to their local transit hub.”

Each bank of lockers cost about $25,000, so civic administration is evaluating their usage before broadening the program to other locations in London.

Jay Stanford, director of climate change, environment and solid waste said the lockers can be moved, but advised leaving them in place until the pilot project ends this fall.

The relaunch will include better signage and advertising so cyclists know how to rent the lockers.

Stanford said the location just north of the Victoria Park bandshell was chosen based on pre-pandemic demand that they hope will return this summer.

“The traffic we hope will be returning to Victoria Park this summer, and to tie into increased activities in the Richmond Row area,” he said.

The Civic Works Committee did not recommend relocation at this time.

Council will discuss the struggling pilot project at its meeting on May 24.