From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 07.27.08:
Parking a bike gets tougher in SeattleSecure parking for your bicycle is a critical need for bike commuters. The lack of secure parking is often a key obstacle for prospective bike commuters, who can't bring their bicycles into their workplace and are concerned about theft. Employers could do more to encourage bike commuting by converting spaces in their parking lots to accommodate bicycles--12 bikes could fit into the space occupied by one car.
It hasn't gotten as bad as trying to park a car in Seattle. There's no need to ride around in circles for blocks finding someplace to lock up a bicycle. But as gas prices skyrocket and more people get from here to there on bikes, Chris Cameron is among the bicyclists who say it's gotten harder to find an open bike rack. You've seen the result--bicycles locked onto racks four deep. "You have to get a little creative," said Cameron, bike commuting program director for the Cascade Bicycle Club.
A shortage of bicycle racks in Seattle? "ABSOLUTELY," said one response to a P-I reporter's question on the Cascade Bicycle Club's Web bulletin board. He blamed the replacement of parking meters for fewer bike-parking kiosks. "Anyone know how many thousands of parking meters have been removed from city streets? They have NOT been replaced with lockable bike racks all over town, sending bicyclists the not-so-clear message that car parking is more important (read revenue stream) than posts bicyclists can lock to," he wrote. (Read more.)
Many communities are recognizing the value of bike lanes and other street safety enhancements. Bike lanes can be cheap to create--often just a stripe of paint--and provide a high visibility facility offering potential ribbon cutting photo ops for publicity seeking politicians. Bike racks are often the neglected component of cycling infrastructure. They can be capital intensive, perhaps $200 or more per rack not including installation. They often require permission from property owners, and may arouse the animosity of advocates for pedestrians and disabled people by encroaching on sidewalk space. Street parking spaces could be converted to bike parking, but this conversion often provokes opposition by retailers. The shortage of bicycle parking is increasing, as many communities such as Seattle convert individual parking meters into validated "pay & display" spaces using an central automated station.
At a time when more people are using bicycles for transportation, it's critical that government agencies develop more secure bicycle parking, including staffed central bike station facilities.
How's your city doing with bike parking?
Image: Peggy Archer.
Visit: Bikes get safe place to spend day, Seattle Times
Visit: Portland Bike Parking: Corral vs Oasis, StreetFilms.org
Visit: Sacramento's Mayor Wants To Add More Bike Racks, KOVR-TV 13
Visit: Making a place to hitch two-wheeled steeds, PhillyBurbs.com
Visit: CycleSafe.com Bike Lockers
Visit: Bike parking a challenge in NYC, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Bike racks are beautiful, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Where's the bike rack?, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site