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New Alberta eatery goes big for bike parking

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 29th, 2008 at 11:06 am

While riding down NE Alberta Street yesterday I noticed a new cafe with some fantastic bike parking.

The Radio Room has devoted a considerable portion of their property at NE 11th and Alberta to bike parking.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The place is called the Radio Room (NE 11th and Alberta) and according to a posting on Portland Food and Drink it is owned by four partners, one formerly of the well-known Doug Fir Lounge on East Burnside.

What they've done is set aside a large portion of the front of their lot to create a roomy bike parking area. They've installed eight staple racks on top of paving stones and the result is a very welcoming space for folks who arrive by bike.

I didn't have time to speak with anyone at Radio Room, but my hunch is that the idea and execution of this came directly from the owners. I'm still trying to find out if/how PDOT was involved (maybe Sarah F. can chime in with a comment?). Either way, it's great to see a business give so much prominent space for biking customers.

Here's another photo...

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Comments
  • Schrauf August 29, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Great design, although I\'m surprised they did not squeeze at least one more rack in each row, given how spaced out the racks are. Excellent, regardless.

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  • Neutralwrench August 29, 2008 at 11:29 am

    speaking of Alberta I walked down to L Bonita last night to get the family dinner and it did not look like it was car-free thursday night, more like bike-free night. That was about 6:15pm did they close it down later or did it just not happen.

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  • Bent Bloke August 29, 2008 at 11:40 am

    I like the generous spacing. Some bike racks are too close together for my recumbent because I have a wide seat - the bike\'s seat, not mine. ;o)

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  • djasonpenney August 29, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Kudos for using staple racks with ample spacing. They are much more practical than the wave racks, which also tend to get shoved up against a wall making them even less useful.

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  • matt picio August 29, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Neutralwrench (#2) - I think they closed it down at 6:30. It did happen, though, and when I was there from about 8-9pm there were thousands of pedestrians and hundreds of cyclists on and around Alberta. While riding from there to Albina Green, I passed dozens more cyclists riding in the direction of Alberta. From my limited experience, it looked like an exciting success.

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  • Elisabeth August 29, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Awesome! Thankyou Radio Room - it\'s super appreciated.

    Speaking of the Doug Fir.... their bike parking is totally, totally, totally inadequate for them number of people that show up to their venue by bike.

    Must remember to write them that email asking for more bicycle parking out front!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 29, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    \"Speaking of the Doug Fir.... their bike parking is totally, totally, totally inadequate...\"

    maybe that\'s why one of the Radio Room co-founders left and did it right this time around. ;-)

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  • Alberta Resident August 29, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    The Bye and Bye, one block over, has massive amounts of bike parking as well!

    NE Alberta could really use a bike corral!

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  • Steve Hoyt-McBeth August 29, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    The food at Radio Room is pretty good as well. I recommend the pasta-less eggplant lasagna and my hon really liked their mussells.

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  • Sodapop Johnson August 29, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    They closed it down at 7pm. I waited at one end by the co-op just to watch. All the cars had to veer off but tons of bikes and peds kept right on going. Good times.

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  • Tony P August 29, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    I noticed this place too. Haven\'t heard a thing about it, but the food looked tasty. Pretty polished for Alberta, but that how gentrification goes. Nice work on the bike parking!

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  • JP August 29, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    I\'m surprised you had to discover this on your own before they contacted you to plaster it on your website, Jonathan. That would have been a perfect marketing move. Or, perhaps you were unknown to them. I shall stop talking now.

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  • Dave August 29, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    The mussels are indeed a thing of beauty. The carbonara was damn good too - stupidly rich with the extra yolk. I haven\'t been unable to finish a plate of pasta in a long time, but they\'ve got my number over there.

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  • team uno August 29, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Excellant amount of bike parking.....the food is great too. I don\'t eat red meat much, but their burger is amazing! Give it a try...

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  • matchu August 29, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    I just hope more businesses with such a pristine presentation don\'t follow suite and open up shop here as well. It sticks out like a sore thumb next to its neighborhoods.

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  • Dave August 29, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Goodbye HUB, hello Radio Room.

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  • Thomas L. Ngo August 29, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    The Radio Room has easily become one of my favorite spots on Alberta. We need more places like it that serve great food and drinks in a spacious venue with ample room for bikes.

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  • Brian August 31, 2008 at 8:25 am

    Thanks for the great feedback everyone. I am one of the owners of Radio Room and have been a bike commuter for fifteen years. When we set out to renovate the 1949 Texaco station, we thought bike parking would be a great way to say goodbye to the building\'s prior life as a gasoline vendor. While all of the original building remains, the renovation included new restrooms, a great lounge and plenty of bike parking for our friends and neighbors. The building is a bit \"pristine\" but is getting more lived in every day.

    Cheers.

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  • AlbertaNazi August 31, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    I hope the Radio Room closes down fast. If you like it, go to Bridgeport Village.....you\'ll love it there. Otherwise, stay the hell off of Alberta. Christ, can\'t a neighborhood keep it\'s vibe for 5 minutes without some vegan douchbag opening a shiny....

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  • maxadders August 31, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    So they installed some bike racks? Here\'s the flipside: there\'s now a pay-per-hour auto parking lot across the street, just like you\'ll find downtown. I can\'t tell you how disappointed I was to see that. I haven\'t seen many people use it yet-- but it speaks to how out of place Radio is in the neighborhood. They\'re drawing a ton of car-driving customers, no matter how many bike racks they put out front. Understandably, these customers use up all the street parking before paying through the nose for the pay lot, making it suddenly more difficult for local residents to park their own cars where they live.

    A pay-per-hour lot does not bode well for the future of my neighborhood. To me, it says that Radio, Bye and Bye and other slick joints are moving in, setting up shop and turning a relatively calm street into a busy entertainment and dining destination catering to people that are often driving to get here.

    Places like Radio Room are raising rents and pulling in more visitors than Alberta needs. The whole thing isn\'t just out-of-place. It\'s inconsiderate. Check out the massively bright sign blaring northward up the block-- and it\'s left on all night. The scale is jacked out of proportion, but we\'re assured that the owners saved the \"flavor\" of the old gas station? What a joke.

    The owner(s) have been quite savvy at locating and attempting to deflect internet criticism of their establishment, which is more than a lot of business owners do. But the scale, the slickness and the other little details just clash with what the lower end of Alberta is all about. The bike racks might be the only thing they got right.

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  • maxadders August 31, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    whoops-- mean eastward, not northward.

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  • peejay August 31, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Wow, max. Bitter, much?

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  • peejay August 31, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Paid parking is a GREAT idea. It should be combined with neighborhood parking permits as well, so the locals can still have plenty of spaces to park. People who drive should pay to do so, more if they are non-residents.

    As for property values going up, might I recommend another windmill to tilt at? That one\'s not gonna fall.

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  • wsbob September 1, 2008 at 12:50 am

    The part about bike parking right in front of the new restaurant is great! Maybe with that spacing, there will room for peoples bikes and bike trailers both.

    Max, might as well not lose too much sleep over the evolution of Alberta. Some might say \'devolution\'. Right now, Alberta\'s a good place for entrepreneurs. Some will make some money, some will lose. As the rents and property values rise, the city makes more money.....right? That\'s a good thing. Isn\'t it? Don\'t worry...it\'ll be awhile yet before Alberta is like NW 23rd.

    I\'m actually interested myself in getting over to see the Radio Room. How a 1949 Texaco station could wind up looking like the picture above and still exist is something to see. There\'s still a lot of people that like the occasional vintage service stations in their original skin, such as the one over on about NW 15th and Davis (recently having lost its gas station logo to the that of the taco joint that moved in there.). I suppose this one on Alberta was too far gone for that.

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  • Unhappy Customer September 1, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Excellent bike parking and nice reuse of a building...but that doesn\'t make for a good restaurant. I tried it last week. The service was lousy and the food was so-so. In addition the up-charging for *substitutions* after you\'ve eaten your meal is a ridiculous business practice. The Radio Room will be hard pressed to get my business again. It looks cool...but I can\'t wait until there is some turn over.

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  • Lapis September 1, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    the gas station ceased to appear to look like a gas station long before the radio room set up shop.

    bike parking, yay (can we get an on-street set up, too?) paid car parking also yay (keep \'em off our curbs!)...

    for the fellow alberta-ites, i\'ve got some trivia: where\'s the hidden mural of alberta street (a true casualty to the gentrification of the neighborhood....)

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  • 007 September 2, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    COOL!

    Costello\'s Travel Cafe could learn a lesson here. They don\'t even have a 20th Century bike rack and the one they do have is installed too close to the street. Hence, I quit eating there. They get a lot of cycling customers, but don\'t care.

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  • rafa September 2, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Max(#20): You should try the happy hour burger. Seriously, there\'s something for everyone in this neighborhood.

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