Make Paradise, Put Up a (Bike) Parking Lot
In many neighborhoods nowadays, you can no longer count on finding a traffic sign or parking meter on which to lock your bike. As bicycling grows in popularity, so does the need for secure, convenient places to park. This is especially true for commuters, who may not want their bike exposed to weather and potential thieves on the street eight hours a day. Solutions being pioneered in the leading cities include: requiring builders to include bike parking spaces at businesses and apartment buildings (similar to cars), adding places for bikes in car parking garages, streetside bike sheds, high-capacity on- street bike corrals and staffed parking lots with attendants at transit stations.
(left) The Dutch city of Groningen, where bikes account for 59 percent of all trips, built its first indoor, staffed bike parking facility in 1982. There are now more than 30 in a city of 180,000.
More and more customers arriving by bike
With as many as 25 percent of their customers coming on bikes, some Portland businesses are taking part in a city program to convert a curbside parking space for one car into “corrals” for 10 or more bikes. The conversion is hugely popular with local merchants, and there is long waiting list. Several other cities have launched similar programs and local businesses are profiting from the increased customer parking.
(left) “Bike corrals” convert one curbside car parking space into a mini-lot for 10 or more bikes, exponentially growing the number of potential customers able to park in front of nearby businesses. Photo: City of Portland
(right) Amsterdam constructed a new four-story bike parking garage outside the central train station capable of storing 4,000 bikes.