Bicycle storage pod in New Plymouth CBD under review after bikes stolen

Two bikes have been stolen from New Plymouth District Council’s bike pod in the CBD and a new locking system is being considered.

SIMON O’CONNOR/Stuff

Two bikes have been stolen from New Plymouth District Council’s bike pod in the CBD and a new locking system is being considered.

New Plymouth’s council is considering how to tackle vandalism at its $35,000 central city bike storage pod after two bikes were stolen and someone tried to set it alight.

Users of the pod are being asked whether they still need access and how often they use it, as the New Plymouth District Council is considering its use, and what options it has.

“We have had someone leaving rubbish and trying to set fire to something in the bike pod. We also had a couple of bikes taken over the lockdown period,” an email to users said.

“In the meantime, please ensure you lock your bike to the racks and do not leave overnight, as we cannot guarantee they are any more secure than a normal public bike rack.”

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In an emailed statement, NPDC integrated transport coordinator Kym Smith said about 120 people had registered to have access to the pod, which has room for 10 bikes and a locker for each cyclist.

”We’re fixing some minor fire damage to one of the lockers and removing rubbish. It’s the first damage to the pod since it opened in 2012.”

Smith said a new locking system to make it more secure was being considered, as well as how to cater for e-bikes and e-scooters.

The pod was installed in 2012 as part of the council’s Let’s Go project, joint funded by NZTA, to encourage more people into active transport.

Three more pods, two in New Plymouth and one in Waitara, had been planned once the first one was being fully used, but they never became a reality.

Smith said the pod was regularly used by commuters, particularly in the summer.

There are some small ongoing costs and staff time in monitoring and cleaning the pod, but no major repairs have been needed since it opened, she said.

The council did not answer how much the pod cost to maintain and repair since its opening.

However, Smith said the Let’s Go project had helped lift active and sustainable travel in the district, with the number of commuters using pedal power up by 35 per cent since it launched 10 years ago.

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