Dude, where’s my bike parking?

Bike Parking on Commercial Drive

Bike Parking on Commercial Drive (Sept 2014)

I love cycling to The Drive. Apparently so do a lot of other people, which is great until you need to find a place to lock your bike. I dread looking for a place to lock my bike where car doors won’t hit your bike, other bikes aren’t rammed into yours, or I don’t have to hike a block or two away. I am tall fellow with a flip-style oval lock so finding something thin, but strong to lock my bike to, is a chore. I have been told to buy a cable or just lock my front wheel (bad idea – front wheels come off in seconds). There other options. I read in the fall Momentum magazine about pinhead accessories that lock all the necessary components, and I have considered many of the different security accessories. However, given the best way to secure your bike is to make it more secure than other bikes, there has to be a better way.  Sitting on a patio next to my bike or being able to see my bike from inside a business is ideal. I just lock my bike and glance at it every so often. Assuming I have a proper lock situation, I still need to find a place to lock my bike, and in my line of sight is not often an option.

The racks provided by the city are always full as are the trees, poles, and parking meters near popular corridors. Five years ago, 74% of all bikes counted on The Dirve were locked to objects other than racks. These are the “desire lines” of bike parking. But, they are bad solutions. Car doors smack bikes locked to parking meters. Young trees can be damaged and old ones are too thick. Poles are often only secure by one bolt at the bottom.

Now the city does have program for installing bike racks, but you either get the coat hangers, which leads to mashed cables and handlebars, or the single upside down U-shape, which is good for all bikes, but bad due to the limited capacity of two. If the City doesn’t take the initiative businesses can by apply for a permit. However,

The permit is free, but you are responsible for buying the bike rack, getting it installed, and maintaining it. Purchase costs will average roughly $300 to $500. (source)

I find this ridiculous given that the parking for cars is free, bikes, have a negligible impact on maintenance costs, and cyclists spend more money locally, i.e. more tax revenue.

The other program is bike corrals where surface car parking is removed for a large amount a bike parking. The Drive has a few of these and they are often full too! (Sorry, didn’t have a recent Vancouver photo)

Bike Corrals in Portland Oregon -2014

Bike Corrals in Portland Oregon -2014


The City is given a lot of credit/criticism about their support for cycling and the great strides they are taking. But, are we doing enough? What if the City put a bike corral on each block on The Drive, one on each side of the street, and expanded the popular ones? What if the city made it safer to bike down The Drive and not just near it? What if the City expanded the sidewalks for larger patios, street furniture, and planters? What if car parking was moved off The Drive?

Gil said it best:

Streets are the biggest public spaces. Should they be for car storage or for great public spaces? It’s a matter of priorities. ~ Gil Penalosa


UPDATE: Well that was quick.


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