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Condo developer rolls out the green lane for bikes

Posted by Marion Rice on April 30th, 2009 at 3:14 pm

[Welcome to the first article in our new Bike Home section. Marion Rice, our family biking columnist, will be sharing her finds and tips about all things related to bike-friendly living spaces. She'll be on the hunt for the best backyard bike sheds, bike-friendly homes for sale, bike yard art, and other fun stuff. If you have tips or suggestions for Marion, get in touch at marion[at]bikeportland[dot]org. -- Jonathan]


New resident Steve Gitchell and
developer Ted Watson.
(Photo: Dan Liu)

When Northwest Portland real estate developer Ted Watson embarked on a remodel of the Gallery Condominiums at NW 21st and Johnson, he knew bike amenities were a must.

"I know my market and I wanted to satisfy my market. I wanted to make it easy for my owners to get around," he said. According to Ted, it was a "no-brainer" to make sure the plans included bike storage and other bike-friendly features.

Watson himself lives in West Linn. He drives most of the way into the city, but he prefers to bike between his various downtown projects to avoid the hassle of finding parking.

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Follow the green lane to your
secure bike parking area.
(Photo: Marion Rice)

The increase in people using bikes as a way to get around is affecting more than just transportation policy, it's also having a growing impact on the way developers plan housing and what might be attractive to prospective, inner-city buyers.

Retiree Steve Gitchell just moved into the Gallery Condos last week. He says he'd like to race his "new toy" (a carbon fiber Orbea) at the Paris-Brest-Paris when it comes around in 2011. Gitchell has been riding bikes since 1972. He keeps most of his bikes in his flat, but is appreciative of the bike-centric focus of the Gallery.

For instance, as you approach the side of the building, you notice that Watson gave the west alley a "bike box" treatment. The same green color PBOT has laid down in intersections throughout the city leads residents to a locked gate that secures access to a bike storage room (which also locked). Before entering, you can't miss the neon bike sign. Walk inside and you see the bike storage area, complete with a pressurized air hose for your tires mounted on the wall.

Secure parking and a high-pressure air hose is a nice touch.
(Photo: Dan Liu)

Watson even kept the bikey theme in the interior of the condos. He had several works of art commissioned just for the building, including this bike-themed piece...

Bike art, specially commissioned for the Gallery Condos, hangs on the walls.
(Photo: Dan Liu)

The Gallery Condominiums is a small building with studio and one bedroom units from that for for $165K-$300K. If you are in the market for a cool, bike-friendly condo in NW Portland, call Ted at (503) 913-2715.

-- Stay tuned for more Bike Home features as well as our "Bike Home of the Week", which will be posted to the Bike Home section page.

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Comments
  • jonno April 30, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    It's a great, eyecatching setup at first glance, but I can't think of a better way to tell thieves where to start nosing around for some tasty loot. A neon sign and a rolled-out green bike carpet? I hope the bike room itself has some heavy lockage.

    I live nearby and built a similar bike room in my similar-vintage building (with only a lowly floor pump instead of a high-pressure hose, nice touch there) and it just looks like any other locked storeroom. There is some security in obscurity, after all...

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  • Q`ztal April 30, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    If you ignore the bike symbols it looks rather "skanky red-light district" alley.

    I hope for the sake of the occupants that the area, from one end to the other, is brightly lit. To make it the least bit safe it may need to be over-lit so as to draw attention to nefarious action.

    Otherwise at darn good idea. Every apartment complex should be required to give up 3%-6% (isn't that roughly the cycle ride share in the Portland metro area?) of their parking spaces and put up one of those secured bike parking rooms or outdoor cages.

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  • Coco April 30, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Totally awesome! Love it!

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  • Dan Liu April 30, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Ted (the developer) gave me a thorough tour of the place when I went to take the photos. The bike room door is locked, as is the alley gate. I should have suggested he put some spikes at the top of the alley gate, but I was more focused on taking pictures. Either way, the facilities are quite nice.

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  • Marion Rice April 30, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    Oh, and last time I ran into Ted on my daily commute through NW Portland, he told me that he is going to buy two bikes for tenant use. He was thinking of a Kona Ute and some sort of city bike.. Pretty nice to get your big grocery shopping done!!

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