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And then there were four; PDOT installs bike corrals downtown

Posted by on September 18th, 2008 at 1:41 pm

“These corrals… are intended to serve the high volume of people arriving by bicycles at these locations.”
— from a PDOT media advisory about new bike parking downtown

The streetscape of downtown Portland has been forever altered.

Thanks to four new on-street bike parking facilities (a.k.a. bike corrals), PDOT has hastened a shift in the balance of roadway space away from motor vehicles and toward the growing number of Portlanders who choose to get around by bike.

After getting my first glimpse of them yesterday, I went out and photographed the three other new corrals this morning.

Below is a photo slideshow I put together that includes descriptions of each facility and more information in the captions (story continues below):

With the completion of these corrals, PDOT is ready for the official unveiling tomorrow. They’ve got a special event planned to coincide with National PARK(ing) Day (9/19) and they’ve invited the media to come out and interview PDOT staff and managers of businesses adjacent to the new facilities.

In a media advisory sent out a few hours ago by PDOT, they explained the new corrals like this:

“The new on-street bicycle parking facilities (a.k.a. bike corrals) will provide parking for 16 to 24 bicycles in two motor vehicle parking spaces. These corrals, joining the 5 existing corrals already in place in Portland, are intended to serve the high volume of people arriving by bicycles at these locations. They also greatly improve the sidewalk environment and reduce the number of bicycles that lock onto signs and railings.”

Also, perhaps to thwart any bike naysayers who think these corrals are just another pet project or backroom deal cut between the “bike lobby” and City Hall, PDOT pointed out that the businesses (Ace Hotel, Stumptown Coffee, Southpark Seafood Grill, Powell’s Books, and Bijou Cafe), “advocated for this increased bicycle parking” and were “integral in the decision to swap the auto parking spaces for bicycle parking.”

And now that the cat is out of the bag, I’m sure we’ll see many more businesses step up.

If you’re downtown tomorrow, stop by any one of the four locations. PDOT has partnered up with the Parks Department and will have trees, benches, and other “park-like” amenities as part of the PARK(ing) day event.


— View more images of the new bike corrals in the On-Street Bike Parking photo gallery.

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PdxMark
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PdxMark

Thanks for the great coverage and photos. Some of your new shots highlights a concern I had, but didn\’t mention, in your original story.

The new, less-cluttered version of the corrals make for much easier access than the first ones in NoPo, which is great. But reliance on nothing but a paint stripe to protect 10-20 bikes from grazing damage by passing cars seems inadequate. Am I just being a Worry Wart?

Jonathan Maus (Editor)
Guest

I think you\’re just being a worry wart PdxMark ;-).

On another note, one thing I haven\’t mentioned is that Xtracycles, longbikes, bakfiets, etc… will definitely block the exit/entryway.

there\’s a growing legion of longbike riders in portland (I hear they even call themselves the Longbike Consortium) and I wonder how a future design might be able to accomodate their longer wheelbase bikes?

Schrauf
Guest
Schrauf

The long bikes could park lengthwise and take up three-plus staples. Kind of like the obese RV\’s at Walmart. =)

Zaphod
Guest
Zaphod

When there\’s a chance I\’ll bring a kid or cargo along, I\’m on the Xtracycle. Given the sales that Xtra and similar exploding, I anticipate that the Xtra mode share as a subset of the bicycle mode share will be big.

While it\’s hard to please everybody and solve every problem, it would be great if these bikes were considered. For the Xtra, we\’re talking about an additional 14-18\” of length… not unruly. Maybe something on the table for the final designs.

poser
Guest
poser

\”The Ace Hotel is a popular destination for hipster visitors.\”

That\’s a nice touch Jonathon. Way to tell it like it is, man. I\’m going to be smiling all afternoon on that one.

🙂

Scott Mizée
Guest

longbikes rule. 😛

Jessica Roberts
Guest
Jessica Roberts

I think designing all bike parking to accommodate Xtracycles doesn\’t make sense. Sidewalk staple racks are just fine for longbikes, as long as it\’s available. If there\’s plentiful corral parking for \”normal-length\” bikes, hopefully there will be staple racks available for unconventional bikes.

poser
Guest
poser

I wouldn\’t worry too much about the Bakfietsen. We have one of those, and I never park them near bike parking – too hard to maneuver in that small space. Plus, they have their own built in locks, so there\’s little need to lock them to something. More often than not, we just find an empty/non-trafficked stretch of sidewalk (e.g. between trees, next to fire hydrants, etc) and just park it there.

I suspect the Extra-cycle crowd thinks relatively similarly in that I\’ll bet it\’s hard to get those long bikes into something as tight as a corral. A nearby street-sign would probably offer a more efficient place to lock-up.

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

I rode to the Pearl last night and saw the bike corrals first hand. Every spot, of course, was full! I found an empty rack across the street, but all the other available bike parking in the area was being used. What a lovely problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. Glad to see more bike parking, but it\’s still not enough! 🙂

Matthew Denton
Guest
Matthew Denton

#2 PdxMark:

You have to remember that most cars park next to passing cars with no line of paint, and grazing damage is very rare. It does happen, of course, (if you\’ve ridden West on N Willamette just after it turns from Rosa Parks earlier this week, you would have seen one of them,) but not very often. And for the times that it would happen, I\’m not sure that a little rubber curb would prevent it anymore than a line of paint…

Ethan
Guest

Long bikes are tough to park . . . I should report that I urned a corner the other day with my bakfiets . . . I saw nothing in the way of bike parking at our local Thai joint . . . so I just used a car parking space. Worked like a charm.

Tony P
Guest

These look great! As a frequent user of the Belmont corrals I often find it awkward to maneuver onto the sidewalk, dodging strollers, dogs and other peds to enter the corral. Entering from the street side makes sense and should be no more dangerous than getting in and out of a parked car. Nice job PDOT.

Tall Mike
Guest
Tall Mike

I have ridden by them a few times this week and most stalls have been filled up. Bike parking is always filled up in Portland. Even though is can be fustrating, it is a good fustartion. Gotta Love it!

The cost for the bike coralls is peanuts compared to a parking garage for cars. Lets install more!!

charles
Guest

As an Oregon Symphony member who knows that there are quite a few musicians who commute by bike, it\’s great that there\’s a new corral at Park and Salmon, since there is only one staple rack by our stage door. This will help us out a lot.

Icarus Falling
Guest
Icarus Falling

I must agree with the very valid point that PDX Mark raised. And that I myself have raised in the past few days, even while watching them being put in.

The new design of these bike parking areas leaves one wheel too close to the street, and in danger of drivers we already know do not pay the most attention.

The enter exit lane would better serve the safety of the bicycles themselves if next to the street.

Bicyclists already ride on the street, and would surely be able to handle entering and exiting without a little lane to guide them.

I surely hope that this real and soon to become apparent (after the first grazing incident) is addressed. And corrected.

anonymous
Guest
anonymous

Yeah, honestly I don\’t think I would park my bike here for fear of a car mashing my front wheel. I understand downtown is really confusing, and drivers have the need for the least cluttered view (bollards pointing in all friggin\’ directions wouldn\’t help this), but it seems a little sketchy.

BURR
Guest
BURR

I agree, the racks are too far out in the street relative to the box outline, if you use them properly, you are risking getting your wheel clipped by a car.

matt picio
Guest

The Powell\’s rack in particular looks problematic – I\’m thinking it\’s perfectly positioned for me to go sell my books, which means bike & trailer, which means I\’m going to take up a LOT of room while I\’m in there

worrywart
Guest
worrywart

I would like to point out while I do think its awesome to put these new bike corrals out, I will not be parking my bicycle in them. Without physical barriers, I just don\’t trust them. I would prefer to freelock my bike in front of a building if necessary.
I saw the one in front of stumptown today, and almost locked my bike up there, I got to the rack and pulled out my lock, but I just couldn\’t do it. Bikes are sometimes susceptible to \”grazing\” by cars just on normal sidewalk bike racks. I only have one bike, and if some car tacos my wheel, I\’m kinda screwed.

Schrauf
Guest
Schrauf

It\’s kind of like the bike lock theory – you don\’t want to have the weakest lock on the rack, and you don\’t want to have your wheel sticking furthest out towards passing traffic.

You may still get screwed at some point, but at least it is less likely.

Jean9
Guest
Jean9

I hope this doesn\’t mean that parking meters are next!

grasshopper
Guest
grasshopper

channel 8 coverage this morning was already taking the slant that \”there will be less space for you to park downtown due to new bike parking\”…

obviously they weren\’t broadcasting the news at \”us\”….

and depending on cars to not clip bike wheels or depending on people with regular sized bikes to park so that the longer bikes can have more appropriate staples to park in is depending upon other people to be conscientious.

I think it makes more sense to pretend such people don\’t exist, than to hope that they\’ll be around when you need to park you bike (long or short) in a safe space downtown.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

One additional design point to work out in the future: rack placement along short blocks to improve traffic safety (place racks in last space on a blockface vs. first space)

– place racks to aid intersection sight lines (improve visibility of pedestrians in crosswalk by approaching drivers)
– allow adjoining parked cars to shield parked bikes from car traffic (sideswipe vs. head-on crash)
– minimize bicyclists approaching parking rack pod and using the corner ADA ramp at high speed (they would instead use ADA ramp when exiting rack)
– aid bicyclist safety, as drivers would be [expected to] stop at adjacent stop sign to rack if it exists (vs. accelerating through intersection)

Negatives:
– may place parking a bit further from desired retail location from parking (>50ft)

yodan
Guest
yodan

why does the powell\’s one only have six staple racks? seems like they should have more for such a popular spot.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Is the Bridgestone in pic 13 of the slide show really locked only around the staple and one leg of the front fork?

Dianna
Guest
Dianna

Wow, yeah, I think it is.

I always have this debate with myself when I see that someone’s forgotten to do a logic check on their locking-up job. I’d love to be helpful and leave them a note or something, but what am I going to say? “Hey, just wanted to warn you that someone can take off your front wheel and take the bike UH, HI THIEVES, I MEAN THIS BIKE IS REALLY SECURE, BETTER MOVE ON.”