Monday, April 23, 2007

Valet Bike Parking: Idea whose time has come

Image of bicyclist at valet bike parking in Santa Monica
From the Los Angeles Times, 04.23.07:

Cities peddle parking for bicycles
Communities hope that valet and other services will encourage residents to use bikes for commuting and doing errands.

Pity the cyclist with the $4,000 titanium road bike attempting to park at the Sunday farmers market in Santa Monica.

After 10:30 a.m., the meters and street signs were already claimed by early rising cyclists who chained their bike frames to the poles, and that hefty, pricey Kryptonite lock simply wouldn't fit around the nearest fence post.

Now, cyclists in search of heirloom tomatoes and organic cilantro can enjoy valet parking of the sort offered to BMW-driving diners at Ivy at the Shore or Chinois on Main, handing over their wheels to polite attendants who park them at a nearby bicycle stand.

In California bicycle circles, this kind of service is the coming thing.

Valet bike parking would seem a quintessentially Californian response to clogged freeways and overflowing parking lots. By encouraging more cyclists, cities are promoting environmental consciousness and outdoor cardio workouts.

Most important, for some cyclists, is knowing that someone is watching over their bike.

"You can have all the bike lanes you want, but when you get to your location, you need a place to park," said Russ Roca, 29, of Long Beach. (Read more.)
The article hails the Bikestation, launched a decade ago in Long Beach, and now replicated in Berkeley, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Seattle. Secure bike parking is often challenging to find. Secure facilities will encourage more bike travel.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has been successful passing legislation requiring large events in the city to provide secure bike parking. And there is a great valet bike parking service at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.

Image: Los Angeles Times. Santa Monica Main Street Farmer's Market shopper drops off her bike at the valet parking lot.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site


Smudgemo said...

The Bikestation in Berkeley rules! I don't have to carry a lock, worry that I'm locking to something less than secure, no weather issues, and only one or two people with access to the storage area at any given time. I keep intending to bring them homemade cookies as thanks. If you work there, I promise you cookies by next week. Now that I've put it out there, I'll have to deliver.

Christina said...

We have a bike valet service here in San Luis Obispo on Thursday nights for the farmers' market as well. It's a great idea!