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With new racks, finally some good news for PNCA

Posted by on March 24th, 2009 at 2:04 pm

New bike parking at PNCA-7

This morning, crews worked to install
27 bike racks on NW 13th at Johnson.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Today, crews from the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation installed 27 new staple racks at the corner of NW 13th and NW Johnson in the Pearl District. The new racks — located adjacent to the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) — were drilled into place in the former location of three automobile parking spaces. When students return to class next week, there will be space for 54 bikes in this new parking area (not to mention many other racks nearby).

The project is being paid for out of PBOT’s bike parking fund, and it is one of four “bike corrals” Mayor Adams has promised to roll out in his first 100 days in office.

Story continues below


New bike parking at PNCA-6

Michael Hall, Dean of Students at PNCA.

This is the largest bike corral in the city and it was pushed as a priority by the Dean of Students at PNCA, Michael Hall. Hall is no stranger to bike issues. In October of 2007, following the tragic biking deaths of a current and former student just 10 days apart, he helped bring the PNCA community together. He also became the school’s internal bike advocate.

Since 2007, Hall has set up partnerships with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, outdoor goods retailer REI, and Providence Hospital. The BTA holds commuting clinics at PNCA, Hall has worked with REI to offer reduced priced bike lights to students, faculty and staff, and he has partnered with the Trauma Nurses Talk Tough group at Providence Hospital to make $5 helmets available to everyone at the school.

New bike parking at PNCA-9

With ample spacing between the racks,
54 bicycles will fit where three car
spaces used to be.

This morning, Hall stood with a silent smile as crews drilled into the pavement and laid out the new racks. “I started working on this back in September,” Hall said, “that’s when I noticed there wasn’t enough places for students to park.”

New bike parking at PNCA-1

A flyer posted outside PNCA.

Hall estimates that about one-third of PNCA commuters get there by bike. He has counted 80 bikes parked outside the school when class is in session. To accomodate that demand, Hall said he wanted bike racks to fill three additional parking spaces on NW 13th (to bring the total to four). PBOT countered that they’d rather give him two car spaces for now, and then they’ll consider expanding if the demand is warranted (the spaces are metered).

With all the bike commuters, Hall has good reason to make sure they have a place to park. He also has reason to do what he can to keep them safe. For some reason it seems PNCA bike commuters have a disproportionate amount of bike crashes.

New bike parking at PNCA-8

These new racks are a welcome
change of good news for
the PNCA biking community.

On the phone will Hall the other day, I mentioned how great it was to talk with him about good news for a change.

In addition to the extreme tragedy that befell the school in 2007, Asha Whittle — the woman whose collision we reported earlier this month — is also a PNCA student. When I brought this up to Hall, he rattled off several other stories of crashes involving students in the past few months.

Hall’s next effort is to build a roof over the new parking spaces. It would be done as a memorial to Tracey Sparling and Brett Jarolimek. I hope I have nothing but good news to report from PNCA in the meantime.

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  • Hart March 24, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    I guess we know where those transit mall racks disappeared to now.

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  • Will March 24, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    I wonder if these were the staples removed from the transit mall?

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  • Will March 24, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Damn, Hart #1, beat me by a minute.

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  • borgbike March 24, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    I saw the activity biking by on the way to work this morning. It’s always inspriring seeing all of of the diverse (some very cool) bikes parked outside PNCA. Now there will be more!

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  • Hart March 24, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    I obviously can’t tell if these were brand new racks or old ones repainted, but they do all have bar-codes on them, indicating that the city does in fact inventory each and every one of these racks.

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  • Dave March 24, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    That’s awesome to see that going in, I’m sure that will be a big plus for the staff and students there.

    As a side note – actually, only about 13% of bicycle injuries are head injuries (referring to the bicycle safety sign). From Neurosurgery Today: Every year, more than 500,000 people visit emergency rooms in the United States with bicycle-related injuries. Of those, nearly 65,000 were head injuries in 2007.

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  • Whyat March 24, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    3 cars spots == 54 leisurely bike spots. That’s impressive.

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  • Dave March 24, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    not to mention if you think about the cost of building a corral like this as opposed to car parking for 54 cars…

    a lot of people stand to benefit from upping the number of people riding bikes.

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  • Dave March 24, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    (and I mean that in a positive way – that is, it would be beneficial in a lot of ways to have more people cycling)

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  • Tony P March 24, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Is this the same corner that used to have the racks that were installed by Kryptonite? If so, what happened to those?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) March 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Tony P.

    As I mentioned in a previous story… yes, the Kryptonite racks were installed at this location. PBOT and PNCA felt that they were installed with spacing that was too narrow so the decision was made to take them out and reconfigure the entire area.

    I failed to ask the crews what will happen to those racks. I doubt Kryptonite is too happy since they helped pay for them. I’ll try to update once I know more.

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  • Brad March 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    So a corporation donates free staple racks but because they are too narrowly spaced, they need to be replaced with entirely different racks at taxpayer expense?

    Wow! That is smart government spending.

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  • Hart March 24, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    I’m guessing if the racks were too small to be used, then that’s why they were being given away for free.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) March 24, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    “I’m guessing if the racks were too small to be used, then that’s why they were being given away for free.”

    Hart, perhaps I was unclear.

    The racks themselves were not too narrow… the way they were spaced out from each other was too narrow…at least that’s my understanding. i am not sure why they weren’t just re-used. will let you know once i know.

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  • Hart March 24, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Oh, gotcha. I imagined them being the kind that are all connected by bars at the bottom. And I was really only kidding about Kryponite giving away junk for free.

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  • fredlf March 24, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Just thinking “aloud” and no offense meant, but are PNCA students really getting into more crashes than other student populations? If so, I wonder why?

    My mom is an artist and she is a terrible driver. Never saw a connection before, but…

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  • Rixtir March 24, 2009 at 5:55 pm


    In the 3 that I know of, the driver was at fault in each of them.

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  • Hart March 24, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Probably just means PNCA students are out there riding more often than the general population. Or it could mean that all the time in the photo lab huffing chemicals slows down their reaction times.

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  • michael March 24, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Thanks to Jonathan for the coverage of this excellent installation. PNCA will finally have enough bike racks, at least for the present.

    And also thanks to PDOT for supporting this endeavor. They have been great to work with (especially Sarah Figliozzi).

    I don’t believe the racks installed today were from the transit mall. They all look brand new. And the Kryptonite racks will be reused by the City in other locations.

    Finally, of all the bike/car accidents that I’m aware of involving PNCA students, I can’t think of one that was caused by the biker. Each and every one was driver error. So the stereotype about spacey artists doesn’t seem to apply here.

    There have been a couple of cases over the years where bikers got their wheels caught in streetcar or MAX tracks, true, but to the best of our knowledge no PNCA biker involved in a car or truck accident has been the cause of such an accident. Just saying…

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  • robin March 24, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    As a PNCA student I’m with Michael on this one.

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  • Schrauf March 24, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    I have to admit I was wondering myself about the plethora of bike accidents and the spacey artist sterotype. I was amused when someone brought it up.

    Having said that, short-tempered accountants probably get in more bike accidents. I am a short-tempered accountant. =)

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  • Hart March 24, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Yeah, I was just kidding about the dark room fumes. Far as I know, PNCA only does digital printing.

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  • El Biciclero March 25, 2009 at 9:52 am

    “3 cars spots == 54 leisurely bike spots. That’s impressive.”

    That’s a vehicle ratio of 18:1 in the same space. Even if we assume each car had 5 passengers, it is still 3.6:1. So as far as space usage goes, creating bike parking even beats carpool-only parking.

    The only problem is that installing racks for bike parking is (I’m assuming) much more expensive than painting lines for car parking–and nice bike parking, with a roof, is even more costly. Of course, if we compare to building parking garages, rather than just a lot, everything tilts the other way…

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  • Coco March 25, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Wonderful! Can’t wait to bike past and check these out! PNCA also offers a lot of community evening art classes, some of which I have taken. It was hard to find bike parking in the evenings too outside the building.

    So this move will benefit far more people than just PNCA full-time students. Awesome!

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