Monday Magazine on Cycle Parking

I was just reading last week’s Monday Magazine, and noticed an article on bicycle parking. There are two parts to the article: one deals with a pilot project that takes over a single automobile parking spot in a block and installs several bicycle parking spots; the other discusses what the city is doing to replace the informal bike parking lost when parking meters were taken out and replaced with central ticket dispensers in each block.

I’ve created this Google Map showing the locations of a) the existing “bike corral” in front of MEC and b) the new ones proposed for in front of Russell Books (Fort Street) and Lady Marmalade (Johnston Street).

I’m impressed to see that the City and the DVBA is working on the issue of bike parking, and that both have made a commitment to providing some bike parking. The pilot project is particularly laudable – as Jason Youmans notes in the article, for an organization that seems to support automobile parking to such a great extent, the DVBA’s blessing of the switch from bicycle parking to car parking is surprising and praiseworthy.

However, I’m disappointed and confused that neither the city nor the DVBA has made a commitment to replacing the old parking meters/bike posts at a 1:1 ratio. If they were serious about encouraging cycling, which has numerous economic and social benefits, they would have had a plan to replace each parking meter with at least one bike parking space while they were removing the parking meters. They would not have waited until after the parking meters had been removed to try to find ways to replace them.

However, now that it is a fait accompli, the city and businesses are faced with costs to replacing the lost bike parking. Asking businesses to partner with the city to create bike parking is a contradictory response – the city does not ask businesses to partner with it to create on street parking for automobiles, even if it does benefit nearby businesses; instead, it uses money from tax revenue, only part of which is recouped by the user pay parking meters. I also agree with John Luton, who was quoted in the article as saying, “I don’t particularly like user-pay for cyclists because we’re trying to encourage alternative modes, and in many respects it’s impractical because the cyclists can—and do—lock their bikes to whatever is available.” Advertising on bike rakes, another possible solution mentioned in the article, is unpalatable to me, because it is an invasion of public space and contributes to the corporatization of public space.

I’m not sure how to pay for bike parking. What do you think?

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This entry was posted in Cycling, Downtown, Parking, Victoria. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Monday Magazine on Cycle Parking

  1. Pingback: A Victoria Public Space Network? « Vincent's Victoria

  2. Evan says:

    Good post, Vincent. Thanks for that info.

    I was so frustrated/angered about the new parking metres (well, the markers) and how they do not allow for bicycle lockup.

    I tried to figure out whether or not there was a logical reason for it, but I could not find one.

  3. John Luton says:

    The one to one for bike parking meters is not particularly practical. Most cyclists will want to park close to their destination while many parking meters are more widely distributed around downtown streets. Many meter locations are not practical for bike parking and there is no demand there. (For example there are lots of meters around the Courthouse but only demand for bike parking near entrances.)

    The city is ramping up bike parking initiatives (often at my prodding), to increase the supply of bike parking, but most often targeted where there is also the most demand.

    Parking spaces generate revenue, so that’s how they are paid for. Bicycle parking doesn’t provide direct revenue, although it does deliver many other benefits. Many of the new racks – more than a couple of hundred have gone in already and more are on the way – are being paid for from parking revenues, so there is a solution.

    Some of the more comprehensive facilities, like the MEC shelter (something I helped develop), and the one around the corner at Habit Coffee, are more expensive and need more planning. Picking out more spots for those kinds of parking corrals or clusters will take some more thinking, but they are coming.

    One of the other shortcomings of meter posts were that they were too close to the curb, often putting bikes too close to the curb edge and causing other problems.

    New rack installations face some other challenges (what’s underneath the sidewalk that you can’t core into or how does it impact the pedestrian environment), but we are working to address those challenges andincrease the supply of good racks.

    For Evan, here’s an example of meter post bike parking that illustrates one of the problems:
    too close for comfort 01062008686 354

    The other issue for meter posts (or any other single post style hardware) is that it only allows for one point of contact in a horizontal plane, allowing the bike to pivot and fall over, creating a hazard for pedestrians or damaging the bike. In this instance the tree illustrates the same problem you will have with a meter post.
    bike and tree

    With too points of contact (in a horizontal plane), our inverted “U” racks are the most effective design (and widely used all over North America). Many more are on the way.

  4. Pingback: Good Comments « Vincent's Victoria

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