Bike share for Monterey, California?

The Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) received a $57,000 grant to study the feasibility of bike sharing. County transportation planners will take public input this summer for their ideas.

The study will determine if bike share could work somewhere in Monterey County and the possible locations of bike share kiosks. TAMC directors suggested Cal State Monterey Bay (CSUMB) up by Marina and some areas on Monterey Peninsula as possible locations.

Cal State Monterey Bay

Is there demand for bikes at CSUMB? I don’t really know, but right now it seems to me the CSUMB trustees need to change their transportation policies to encourage more biking, and given their lack of geographical constraints, that seems unlikely to me right now.

CSUMB is a small suburban campus with 150 faculty and an enrollment of 5000 students. As you can see in this aerial view from Google Maps, car parking dominates the land use of this campus. I don’t know what the parking situation is like for students, but it doesn’t appear the trustees have exactly made it difficult for them on this property carved out from a section of the old Fort Ord Army post.

CSU Monterey Bay Campus parking locations

The University has a detailed schedule of fees for various parking violations ($30 if you lack a valid permit, up to $275 for blocking a sidewalk access ramp or parking in a handicap space) and easy access How To guides to dispute tickets. Cars can only be impounded for parking violations after five or more unpaid citations, if the vehicle is blocking the road under certain circumstances, or if the driver has been arrested while in the car.

If you get to and around the campus on your bike, however, and find all of the 400 or so bike parking spaces are occupied, you’re completely out of luck. CSUMB regulations prohibit bringing bikes into any buildings — including the dormitories — and university police can impound bikes illegally locked to stairways, benches, light poles, utility fixtures, parking devices, signs or any other object not specifically intended for bicycle parking. Even locking to parking meters is illegal at CSUMB! Unlike car parking tickets, there is no information on retrieving your impounded bike or contesting fines and fees.

Right now, students pay a fee to park their cars on campus, but bike ownership seems almost actively discouraged.

The roads on and around CSUMB are somewhat bike friendly. World class road and mountain recreational biking is available right off of the campus, and the gorgeous Monterey Bay Coastal Bike Path is minutes (by bike) from the campus. The roads leading to the campus could be better for cyclists.

Is bike share suitable for a small, isolated college campus designed for cars but with reasonable bike access? Difficult to say. Maybe dorm residents would get rid of their car on campus if bike share was available. The nearest shopping for those students is a Walmart in Marina, CA five miles away. Other shopping for these students is seven miles away at a big box retail center seven miles away south of Seaside, and recreational opportunities are all in Monterey 10 miles away, or Santa Cruz 40 miles to the north.

Monterey Peninsula

The 12 square mile rectangle of land that demarks the southern boundary of Monterey Bay is the center of tourism in Monterey County. The cities of Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea (where Clint Eastwood was mayor in the 80s) are located on this peninsula, as is Pebble Beach and 17 Mile Drive. Tourists flock to world famous attractions like Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

People on bikes are everywhere around the Tourist areas of Monterey, and at least a half dozen or more different bike rental companies cater to this tourist trade. Can bike rentals geared for tourism compete with a government subsidized bike transportation scheme?

The first thing I thought of was Bike & Roll in Washington DC, which rents bike to tourists in the nation’s capital. For longer duration rentals, Bike & Roll seems to be the better bargain for visitors, and as Bike & Roll points out they also accommodate families and children a little better than typical bike shares, which are geared to the single traveler.

I’m sure Mari Lynch in Monterey will cover this in more detail and with much more local insight, so be sure to watch her blog for details and updates.

Info from TAMC and The Monterey Herald. Thank you to Tom for the heads up on this.


  1. Hi Richard, I’m the alternative transportation planner for CSUMB.  It appears you have a lot of facts, but you missed a lot of what is available to you right on the internet or by contacting someone with knowledge.  In the future, feel free to contact me at to find out more about the issues, constraints, existing resources and future plans for cycling on campus.  Also, may I suggest to you to compare CSUMB to “bike-friendly campus” strategies used at other universities. Certainly agreed however, CSUMB has a long way to go.  The first step is how to deal with union negotiated contracts that disallow the University from changing parking conditions.  Lets figure out what’s feasible.

  2. I also noticed you have bike maps available.  We have a special bike map for the CSUMB region that will help you understand what bike infrastructure connectivity exists.  Ask any time.  Cheers.

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