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?