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More on-street bike parking comes to North Portland

Posted by on November 30th, 2006 at 4:16 pm

Mississippi St. Bike Parking

[New on-street
bike parking!]

On my way up Mississippi Street today I passed by a brand new, on-street bike parking facility at N. Beech Street, right in front of Amnesia Brewing. It’s very exciting to see this because it’s been in the works for over two years!

Ever since a similar bike-parking facility was put up in front of The Fresh Pot at Mississippi and Shaver Streets back in September of 2004, members of the Boise neighborhood and bike advocates have been pressing PDOT to install more of them.

Kay Newell, who owns Sunlan Lighting on Mississippi Street, is a passionate Boise neighborhood activist who used her position as transportation chair on the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area Advisory Committee (ICURAC) to spearhead the effort to make these racks a reality.

[A thing of beauty!]

I spoke with Newell this morning and she said after the racks at The Fresh Pot went up several businesses contacted her to get more of them. Newell secured funding for three more racks and It has taken two years of lobbying and waiting for PDOT engineers to approve the design to finally get to this point.

She said they have broad community support,

[Business owner
Kay Newell]

“All the businesses in the immediate area loved the idea…and Amnesia (like Fresh Pot) graciously stepped up and committed to maintain them.”

Newell — who lives in the same building she runs her business from — is an unlikely advocate for on-street bike parking. She doesn’t ride a bike, nor does she have any plans to do so in the future. She’s one of those rare people who sees the Big Picture of the transportation and traffic safety puzzle. She said,

“I’m a person who will never ride a bike…I’m just an old lady. But I’ve got a kid who rides, and my neighbors ride. I just feel that whether you’re in a car, on foot, in a big rig, whatever…all forms of transportation deserve the same access to businesses.”

She also said these racks improve traffic safety,

“These things are great for everyone in the community. They give more visibility to cars pulling onto the street, they make it safer for pedestrians to cross, and I like them much more than curb extensions…I hate those things!”

Newell added that there are two other racks just like this one awaiting a permanent home. One of them will go up nearby, at SCRAP on N. Williams Street. And the other one? It’s just waiting for someone to request it.

Mississippi St. Bike Parking

Newell says she has gotten ICURAC to commit to setting aside funds (they cost $2,000 a piece) to install three a year, but if no one requests them, the money will go unspent.

“I have dreams of seeing one at the Library on Killingsworth Street, but the request must come from them, or another local business. I don’t decide where they, I’ve just figured out how to put my mouth where their money is.”

If you live in the Interstate Urban Renewal Zone and would like to request one of these bike-parking facilities, contact Kay Newell at (503) 281-0453 or Stuart Gwin at PDOT, (503) 823-7788.

For more bike parking porn, check out all my photos of these new racks….now let’s all meet at Amnesia for beer and sausage to show them how much we love the new bike parking!

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Greg Raisman November 30, 2006 at 5:00 pm

    This is great news. I hope these become a tool for increasing visibility at busy corners and improving the pedestrian environment (especially for people with mobility devices and blind people), all while significantly increasing bicycle parking capacity.

    While I facilitated the design and public process for the installation of the parking at the Fresh Pot, I no longer manage bicycle parking. Therefore I am not involved with installing new on-street bike parking. (heck, I didn’t even know the one on Beech was a done deal until today)

    However, in the interest of sharing the most up-to-date info, I have posted the latest policy related to these facilities at

    Thanks to Kay Newell for her continued leadership in North Portland. Great going to all involved for making this a reality.

    Greg Raisman
    Community and School Traffic Safety Partnership
    Portland Office of Transportation
    (503) 823-1052

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  • Burr November 30, 2006 at 5:18 pm

    PDOT is way too slow and making it way too hard to get these types of racks installed, and they are way too fond of curb extensions, which provide little benefit to cyclists and force them to unnecessarily merge into traffic.

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  • Rixtir November 30, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks for the link Greg.

    I just did a quick read of the policy, and while it’s nice to see racks installed, man does it seem weak. 100% agreement with adjacent property owners? A new business must send written agreement to keep them in place within 30 days? These seem like policies guaranteed to keep racks from happening; one crank can stop them from appearing, and one crank can have them removed.

    They also seem impermanent– bolted down instead of set in concrete. It seems that maybe that impermanence is a product of the weakness of the policy. Hopefully they’re theft-proof bolts?

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  • encephalopah November 30, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    I saw the racks at Amnesia last night, and thought, “Wow… those are great.”

    Though I think the same bikes were locked in the rack as you captured in the pictures.

    I agree with the bit about increasing everyone’s visibility at intersections: vehicles and pedestrians alike.

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  • ben November 30, 2006 at 6:29 pm

    thats some sweet porn!

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  • Greg Raisman November 30, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    I was a bit reluctant to post because I’m not involved with the effort. I haven’t been invovled in the formulation of the policy and don’t have knowledge outside of what’s in the policy.

    However, my read is that it’s a lot like any parking policy the city has. The adjacent business has a lot of say over how parking is managed in front of their shop. If a shop wants a truck loading zone or a time-limited space, they can request it and go through process outlined in policy. It sounds like the policy is that in the same way, if they want on-street bike parking, they can request it and go through the process as outlined in the policy.

    The design is equally secure as any bike rack in the city. The facility itself is more temporary than putting parking on a curb extension. However, it’s also a lot less expensive. The lower cost could help to make it easier to build more of them.

    Philosophically, I’m also a fan of having the bikes park right on the asphalt rather than on the sidewalk. Just a personal reaction — it feels empowering.

    The down side to the temporary design is that street sweepers can’t get in. That’s why there’s the maintenance agreement. I think if you read the maintenance agreement, you’ll see that it’s more than “one crank” that can make the facility be dismantled.

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  • Macaroni November 30, 2006 at 9:10 pm

    Thanks, Kay. And all this time I thought you were merely a smart aleck!

    I wish this kind of parking was installed everywhere the powers that be say the sidewalk is to narrow for bike racks, i.e. Belmont.

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  • Burr November 30, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    Paris, France has this type of bike parking all over, and it’s a lot more permanent than the PDX version.

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  • Richard Wilson November 30, 2006 at 11:42 pm

    Would really love to see more of these.

    Not only is visibility improved for all, but it keeps cyclists from having to ride down the sidewalk or jump the curb to get to a sidewalk mounted rack, which can be a pain with a heavy grocery laden bike and annoyance or even potential hazard to pedestrians walking along the sidewalk or crossing at the corner where ramps are usually located. It also increases ease of getting back on the road safely no matter your level of finesse…

    And Jonathan, your “new” Puch looks fab on that rack!

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  • bjorn December 1, 2006 at 4:03 am

    My house is not really in a place that is particularly a destination for people, cyclists or motorists, but I have been wondering about bike racks near business areas but in front of residential homes. What if someone wanted a rack at their house, does anyone know if the policy is the same?


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  • Dan Porter December 1, 2006 at 9:06 am

    In the spirit of sharing bike racks around town:

    Granted, it’s a private business and the spot is on private land, but Cyclepath (in the Standard Dairy Complex) converted a ‘car’ parking spot right in front of their shop into a bike rack similar to this.

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  • Jim F December 1, 2006 at 9:10 am

    Not only are the racks cool, but they are necessary. Ever try to find a place to lock your bike up near Amnesia on a summer afternoon?

    You can’t do it. I’ve had to go a couple blocks away to find an available rack.

    So, it’s nice to see a practical solution.

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  • clinton rider December 1, 2006 at 10:06 am

    Now that Stumptown Coffee is moving their roastery to 45th and Division, maybe we can get one in front of the Division store. Not nearly enough bike parking there, especially when people park their dogs on the bike staples.

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  • cow December 1, 2006 at 12:39 pm

    sellwood, or other location near springwater, even somewhere in Central Eastside… assume something like this will appear on hawthorne at some point.

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  • patrick December 1, 2006 at 4:20 pm


    Anyone can request the placement of a standard bike rack on public property.

    I’m talking about the blue sidewalk staples here, not the on-street rack sets discussed in Jonathan’s post.

    However, it’s a pretty good deal. In my experience, the racks go up soon after you request them.

    On private property (i.e. if it’s your house) you can install your own, and the city offers guidelines.

    it’s all here


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  • starkmojo December 1, 2006 at 4:55 pm

    I want one in my nesighborhood (Division)

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  • Burr December 2, 2006 at 10:20 am

    Local SE commercial districts that are desparately in need of this type of bike parking include SE 26th and Clinton, SE Ankeny and Stark and SE 34th and Belmont. I’m sure many of y’all can add additional locations in your neighborhood to this list. The city needs to proactively be installing more of these installations.

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  • anonymous December 2, 2006 at 10:45 am

    hollywood would benefit from such an installation, I believe.

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  • Lenny Anderson December 4, 2006 at 9:22 am

    Both bike parking projects on Mississippi were funded by Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area dollars at the request of the area Neighborhood Assoc., Business Assoc. as well as adjacent property and business owners.
    Maybe someone can quote the exact price, but I remember something like $5K ea.
    So, if you want one of these in your neck of the woods, get everyone lined up and start looking for money…isn’t there talk about Platinum at City Hall? About 10 of these little projects around town would hardly show up in PDOT’s budget.
    PS I am a member of the transportation commmittee for ICURA; it took us about 5 minutes to agree to fund these.

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  • Streetsblog » The Week’s Links December 15, 2006 at 1:09 pm

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