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Eugene advocate pushes residential bike parking corrals

Posted by on January 31st, 2011 at 9:55 am

Demonstration of a residential bike corral
in Eugene by Paul Adkins.
(Photo: Paul Adkins)

A Eugene resident has submitted a proposal to the City of Eugene to install on-street, residential bike parking corrals. On-street bike corrals are common in Portland, but we’ve yet to extend the idea into residential areas.

Noted bike advocate Paul Adkins and Chair of the local Neighborhood Council, is behind the proposal. According to the We Bike Eugene blog, Adkins feels like public parking shouldn’t discriminate when it comes to vehicles. “There is no reason that streets should accommodate cars and not accommodate human powered vehicles.” Here’s more from We Bike Eugene:

“We share the road with cars, so we should be able to share the parking spots too.”
— Paul Adkins

“His proposal is to install and maintain the parking space for the public to use. Since the street sweepers won’t be able to sweep the area with the rack the proposal is for the resident in front of the corral (in this case, the Adkins family) to clean and maintain the area, including dealing with any vandalism. This is similar to the responsibilities of residents and sidewalks, where the sidewalk in front of a persons home.”

Reached via email this morning, Adkins told us, “We share the road with cars, so we should be able to share the parking spots too.”

It sounds like a common sense proposal and something that might also work in Portland. But we’d need a policy change before that could happen…

residential bike parking shelter in SE Portland-5
City of Portland encourages residents
to place bike parking in the planting
strip, not in the roadway.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Back in July of 2009, we reported about Portland’s first residential bike parking shelter. The difference between that shelter is that it was placed up on the parking strip, not in the roadway. When asked about putting staple racks in the street, here’s what PBOT said:

“According to [PBOT bike parking program manager Sarah] Figliozzi, it has to do with short vs. long-term parking, and how the staples would be used. Figliozzi says the bike corrals are for parking a bike for two hours or less and they’re placed in areas with a high demand. In single-family residential areas, the demand is not concentrated at a particular location, and residents prefer to have bikes locked inside a garage or in their homes for security.”

Furthermore, the City of Portland Parking Enforcement Division Manager Nolan Mackrill said bicycles are not allowed to be parked on the street. That space, he told us, is only for motorized and licensed vehicles. If someone wants to park their bike on the street here in Portland, they would need to reserve the space and go through the permit process.

Adkins is waiting on the City of Eugene for permission. In the meantime, he has already gone ahead and installed a demonstration of the project in front of his house (see photo above). We’ll let you know how the City responds to his proposal.

If you’re curious how our friends The Netherlands deal with residential bike parking, Portlander Greg Raisman says they use “bicycle drums.”

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  • Anne Hawley January 31, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Nolan Mackrill said bicycles are not allowed to be parked on the street. That space, he told us, is only for motorized and licensed vehicles.

    So…it’s not allowed unless it’s allowed? Mackrill’s statement makes very little sense in the face of existing bike corrals, which (last time I used one) are bike parking on the street.

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  • Patrick January 31, 2011 at 10:39 am

    In a residential area I’d rather park at the house I’m visiting, the only place that it would be helpful is in a dense apartment area. I wouldn’t leave my bike there overnight.

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  • Nick V January 31, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Seems pointless to me. I’d feel better knowing that my bike was inside the house rather than on my street where any drunk, bored jerk, angry driver, etc. could hit, steal, strip, damage, etc. during the night and get away with it fairly easily.

    One of the ADVANTAGES of bicycles is that they’re portable and don’t need driveways, parking areas, etc. in neighborhoods……

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  • OuterToob January 31, 2011 at 11:11 am

    I question if people would just lock their bikes up and leave them there indefinitely? There are 2 bikes that have been locked up to the stop sign (and blocking the sidewalk) on 23rd and Going for the last 3 weeks and I don’t think they’re moving any time soon.

    I could anticipate that these on street residential racks would become long term neighborhood bike storage (bike graveyard) and not the temporary bike parking for neighborhood visitors imagined – the neighbors who don’t actually ride their bikes will probably lock up their (un-loved) bikes on the street and make space in their garages for other un-loved items not in use.

    Corner of NE 23rd and Going – these 2 lonely bikes are my example.

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  • Jack January 31, 2011 at 11:13 am

    +1 to what everyone else has said. It makes a lot of sense to allow people to install one staple in the planting strip in front of their house. There is no need to have a corral in a residential area.

    For the tiny minority of people who frequently have large groups of visitors all arriving on bikes, I suggest implementing your own accommodations on your property. Or, just tell your guests to do what they always do when parking their bikes: find something to lock up to.

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  • VS January 31, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Bike corrals work well in commercial areas because they move staple racks off the sidewalk, allowing greater space for the flow of people, which may lead to more uses of the sidewalk (storefront dining, sales racks, etc). It’s a win-win for everyone, particularly because it gives more space for bikes.

    In the context of a residential area, space exists in planting strips and sidewalk bulb outs (when available). So, I have a hard time understanding the need. Personally, I would find it more convenient and safe to park my bike within sight — around the back or on the porch of my home.

    If this is in multi-family areas, those building owners should be pressured to provide better bike parking — beyond what code requires.

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  • Wayne Myer January 31, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Seems like too much of a gimme for thieves and vandals. Overnight parking, bike is consistently there so the ne’er do wells know where to find the bike, and much more secure options otherwise.

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  • Alex Reed January 31, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I think this is a great idea, and part of the next step of taking bicycles from being only sports equipment to being normal vehicles (as well as sports equipment for some).

    I personally have been keeping my bike outside locked to a tree in my apartment building’s parking lot for the last six months. It’s been totally fine, but it would be nicer to have an actual rack to lock it to.

    For those worried about security, here’s my setup—I have a ridiculously massive chain that I lock through the frame and the seat. I just leave the chain on the tree during the day. I also have a wheel lock for my back wheel and put my u-lock on the front wheel. I suppose a determined thief could steal my handlebars. Hasn’t happened yet, and I pretty much am not expecting it to.

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    • Stripes January 31, 2011 at 4:48 pm

      Not so sure locking to a tree is such a good idea. For the tree, that is. Constant trampling by feet, and bike wheels, can damage the soil around the tree, and chains/bike locks can cause all sorts of damage to the trunk.

      Furthermore, it’s not unknown for bike thieves to saw trees down to steal bikes. You’d think I was kidding here, but alas, no! I’ve seen it three times, yikes. It’s ridiculous the lengths some bike thieves will go to steal a nice bike.

      Why not consider calling the City instead, to install a bike staple rack outside your apartment building? You could gain extra impetus by getting a letter of recommendation from your landlord/property management company.

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      • Alex Reed February 1, 2011 at 9:53 am

        I share your concern about damage to the tree. It doesn’t move me enough, though, to lug the bike upstairs to take up room in my apartment.

        Sadly, though the apartment manager is on board, the owner is not.

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  • Bob_M January 31, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Bike parking is a good idea, but this one is poorly thought out.

    The stripe will not provide any more safety to the staple racks in the street than they do to riders on the road. I can easily see a late night driver rolling right into the dull gray rack.

    The rack will block street sweeping and the gutter will likely be so full of dirt and gravel that it will block drainage and grow weeds. This maintenance is simple, but I don’t see K’Tesh riding up to Eugene to maintain the facility.

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    • Steve B January 31, 2011 at 4:05 pm

      The problems you raise have been generally addressed with Portland’s existing bike corrals. The designs continue to evolve and change. You are right, bikes parked in these may be more vulnerable to cars hitting them, but then again, so are bikes parked on sidewalks.

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  • David Hembrow January 31, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    “Bicycle drums” do exist in some parts of NL to retrofit cycle parking to old homes which didn’t have their own parking, but they’re not actually all that common. I don’t know of any in the city I live in, for instance.

    However, it is a legal requirement for new homes to include secure cycle parking and has been so for about 20 years. This has been a normal part of houses and apartments built for decades.

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  • 9watts January 31, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    I think the stepwise reclamation of all that asphalt is a wonderful thing. First the sunflower intersections, then the bioswales and other traffic calming such as the tree circles, then the commercial on-street bike parking corrals, now the residential version. Soon we’ll have block-scale rain catchment systems down the middle of the overwide public right of way, gardens, long skinny parks. By 2020 we’ll just forget about maintaining the asphalt altogether on residential streets because we can’t afford the cars that provided the early rationale and realize we need the food much more. Who needs oil?

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  • 3-speeder January 31, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    “Furthermore, the City of Portland Parking Enforcement Division Manager Nolan Mackrill said bicycles are not allowed to be parked on the street. That space, he told us, is only for motorized and licensed vehicles.”

    Is there an actual law that specifies this? Or is this just Nolan Mackrill’s opinion?

    In general, I wouldn’t want to leave my bicycle parked in the street – I’d prefer a safer location. On the other hand, if I was on a recumbent trike pulling a trailer and I stopped by to visit a friend without convenient off-street parking (like no driveway), the street is the likely place I’d park the trike/trailer combo (just like it would be the likely place I’d park a car).

    So what is the actual law?

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    • A.K. January 31, 2011 at 6:01 pm

      OK, I’m just making an assumption here, but the way that law sounds (at least how it was quoted here, no idea if that is even right) is that it was made to make sure that automobiles (and trucks, motorcycles, etc) were the only things using parking spots, and not old trailer, food vendor carts, etc.

      I don’t think the law was written specifically to exclude bikes by the sound of it, but rather to keep people from just parking *anything* on the street, which would be a real problem. Unfortunately, bikes fall into the problem category under the definition given…

      I would love to hear about this from someone who knows the law! I don’t park my bike in street staples generally, but it’s interesting none-the-less.

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  • Steve B January 31, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Bravo, Paul Adkins & co. for pushing the concept of livable streets to the next level. I especially like the strategy of implementing a demonstration project to help people wrap their heads around how simple the idea can be.

    BP readers: Where in Portland might this be useful? I would think some higher-density residential streets would be a good fit.

    I also see quite a few examples of homeowners/landlords installing a staple rack in front of a house. I think it’s great to have a place for your visitors to secure their bikes, especially if you don’t have access to a basement or garage.

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  • 9watts January 31, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    “BP readers: Where in Portland might this be useful? I would think some higher-density residential streets would be a good fit.”

    How about carfree households for starters? Remember 18% of Multnomah Co. households owned no automobile in the 2000 Census. I haven’t seen more recent numbers. FWIW, something like 4% of all households are owner occupied & carfree.

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  • CaptainKarma January 31, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I think old fashioned hitchin posts placed up on the parking strip, several to numerous per block, and made legal, would be better. Just like the horsey days, only much better. No poop.

    I wouldn’t want to leave my bike too far out of my sight, like waaay down the block.

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  • Liz January 31, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    I think this makes a lot of sense in higher-density neighborhoods. In the Nob Hill District of NW Portland for example, there is a high concentration of bikes locked up to various sidewalk furniture at night, because of the high number of apartment buildings without elevators. (Ever tried lugging your bike up six flights of stairs? No. Neither have we).

    One other point. Interesting to note the first “new” residential bike parking location mentioned in this article. There is also one of these at Pinecrest Apts on SE Pine St, a block from Laurelhurst Park, that pre-dates the Washington St one by many, many years!

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  • Paul Adkins January 31, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    This proposal locates this corral in a high-density area. There is a 7 building apartment complex directly across the street. Many of these renters ride bikes. And the 4 closest home owners are car free. Also, this street is not a through street for cars and most of the traffic is on bicycles. An estimate of 40-50 residents live within 150 ft. and would be in proximity to use the corral as proposed.

    I do not expect that this is a solution for long term (overnight) parking but for visiting friends and neighbors. It is fully visible from all the houses near by and from the apartments across the street.
    I have demonstrated it here with just pavement markings and an older wave rack but I’m hopeful to have it raised up with a curb to mitigate vandalism and accident damage and newer staple racks. I also intend to install a pump and tools for minor repairs. It is also just below a street light.

    Also of note. There is no sidewalk or planter strip on this street, so there is no opportunity for that option.

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  • 9watts January 31, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    A.K. “just parking *anything* on the street, which would be a real problem.”

    And why exactly? Short of the rainbarrels or the gardens arrayed down the middle of the street, I’d just as soon see cars, trucks, vans, buses, that are parked and rarely or never moved. We’re going to see more and more of those, you just wait.
    They’re not hurting anything sitting there. The alternative is for them to be driven all over the place, with all that comes with that: opening doors, right hooks, road rage, greenhouse gas emissions, weapons for drunks to end up in, etc. Much better if they just sit quietly by the curb and slowly disintegrate.

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    • A.K. February 1, 2011 at 9:03 am

      If people are going to park their crap all over the place, I’d rather see it be stored on their property and not on the public right of way.

      I’d rather not see the derelict carcasses of old vehicles (or other unloved objects) strewn about. How about people take care of what they don’t want or need in a responsible manner.

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      • 9watts February 1, 2011 at 9:10 am

        Your perspective is a familiar one. :-) I understand that feeling, but personally make a different distinction. If we’re talking about viewing pleasure vs the full automobility package and what it means for neighborhoods, and–as I noted above–we are not yet to abandoning streets as thruways for automobilists in favor of rainwater catchment, urban farming, social space, etc. then by all means lets fill it with blight so as not to lose sight of the ugly-to-your-eyes underbelly of automobility, to reduce the amount of available parking, to discourage folks from participating in the future of automobility as commonly understood.

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  • Tbird February 1, 2011 at 4:59 am

    Kudos Paul. Well done, as always.

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  • jim February 1, 2011 at 7:05 am

    As long as they put quarters in the meter who cares?

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    • 9watts February 1, 2011 at 9:05 am

      The streets we’re talking about have no meters, I’m afraid. And for those who do, do you really think the quarters covers the social, environmental, economic costs of parking? Really?

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  • Todd Boulanger February 1, 2011 at 10:38 am

    The provision of bike parking in residential neighborhoods with older multifamily housing is an important ‘next frontier’ for Portland (and other bike friendly cities). Just look around where folks have had to park next to a tree or sign for days at a time. Many of these areas do not have garages or off street car parking.

    The issue of street sweeping is often moot – when cities do not activity restrict parking for ongoing sweeping through opposite side of the street parking days.

    As mentioned – the Dutch bike barrels are a great way of serving this underserved [transportation] population. I have seen them often in the more suburban urban areas of the Netherlands (Rotterdam, etc.).

    Old style: http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035720546@N01/1484649084/

    The new style is nicer…I will send a photo to Jonathan.

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