Local high school does bike parking right

Posted by on May 6th, 2009 at 8:00 am

Bike parking at Franklin High School-3

Good spacing, a high visibility
location, and cobblestones!
(Photos © J. Maus)

When students and staff arrive at the campus of Benjamin Franklin High School in Southeast Portland (5405 SE Woodward), they’re greeted with an important message: Bikes are respected, encouraged, and accommodated for.

The message isn’t something you read on a poster. It’s implied — by rows of perfectly spaced staple racks installed on concrete slabs surrounded by attractive cobblestones and located smack dab near the main entrance of the school. (A roof would make this parking perfect, and sources say that’s in the works).

There are 18 staple racks, room for 36 bikes. With the generous spacing between them, cargo bikes, bikes with trailers, recumbents and even freak bikes have plenty of breathing room (for themselves and their owners).

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Bike parking at Franklin High School-2

According to Jeff Smith at the Bureau of Transportation, the racks were installed with the help of parent volunteer Jeremy Sarant and Franklin High students. The school has a vocational/technical focus so students from a shop class prepped the area, poured the concrete and installed the cobblestones. (Smith says they plan on covering the racks soon).

The total cost of the project was about $2000, with $900 spent on racks and $1100 on installation.

Bike parking at Franklin High School-1

Funds for the project came from a small pot (less than $5,000 total, that is used for hundreds of racks at schools throughout the city) that Smith sets aside each year for bike parking at schools and special events. Smith uses the money specifically for schools that aren’t a part of the federally funded Safer Routes to Schools program. Here’s more from Smith:

“This came out of the realization that if you wait for schools to fund bike parking, you’re likely to be waiting a long time — it’s just not going to make it far enough up the list of essential school services at most schools in the current desperate funding climate.”

In the last year or so, Smith figures he’s put in about 170 bike parking spaces at schools throughout the city.

This seems like a great example of how the city can work with a school, get students involved, and deliver a low-cost, high impact project that encourages biking and good transportation choices.

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John RussellPaul TayRobert PingDread Pirate RobertsKevin Love Recent comment authors
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Anonymous
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Anonymous

So 18 staple racks show that bikes are respected?

My school had racks for 100s of bikes,and they were used.

Great project for the school and to help teach the skill set of concrete and paver installation.

To me it is more of a form over function installation when it comes to the bikes.

$5000 could have bought more racks and less decor.

Perry
Guest
Perry

Jonathan,

If you could privately send me Jeff’s e-mail address, I’d love to talk with him about bike parking at Wilson High School and ways to improve it. Right now, I understand most kids (according to my son, not necessarily scientifically accurate!) won’t ride their bikes and park them there because the parking is unprotected and bikes are regularly vandalized. Several park at the nearby library instead.

Thanks!

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

anonymous,

This project didn’t cost anywhere near $5,000. That’s the TOTAL amount of funding per year in this one specific pot that has installed hundreds of racks at schools throughout the city.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Nice job. Kudos to that team and for doing it for only $5k. The downtown transit mall planners could take a lesson from the kids.

Matt Picio
Guest

Jonathan – do you have any numbers on how much this particular project did cost?

I think this is fantastic! I saw the installation the other week when riding out to Gresham – it’s well-built, it doesn’t look ugly, it accommodates all kinds of bikes, it’s not a set of “wheelbreaker” racks, and I think it’s fantastic that the students did much of the work of construction – what an awesome shop project! (and they did a fantastic job)

Even if this did cost the full $5k, that’s not a bad price for 18 staple racks installed, plus concrete and cobbles.

In fact, maybe there’s an opportunity for some kind of volunteer work experience / internship where high school shop students can work with city transportation employees on certain projects. There are liability issues, but I can’t help but think that the work experience would be valuable to the students and the city would get some free labor. It’s obvious from this project that Franklin students, at least, do some really good work.

Scott Mizée
Guest

This is a great facility. I noticed it on a recent friday evening and snapped a shot here.

I also appreciate these racks on Sunday mornings when my church rents the building for services. I snapped this shot when a visiting family showed up by bike.

This will be even better when it has a rain shelter overhead! Nice work Jeff and PBOT!

A
Guest
A

Action over waitin and talking. Great stuff.

Meghan H
Guest
Meghan H

I hope many more students use these racks. Today, so many Franklin students’ parents drive them to school that it makes Woodward St. an obstacle course of late-to-work parents who pull out from the curb without looking. It’s so dangerous for bicyclists that I make sure I’m through that area before 7:30 AM and the majority of the drop-offs.

Let’s hope more students start choosing to ride a bike to Franklin; it would make the surrounding streets safer for everyone!

Jeff Smith
Guest
Jeff Smith

Major kudos to Franklin parents Jeremy Sarant and Monica Smith for making this happen; they did all the work getting donated materials/labor for the bike parking design and installation of the pavers & pouring of the concrete pads.

It looks fantastic!

Bob
Guest
Bob

I hope that the update to the master plan does more to help address bike parking at local schools. Making it possible for kids and their parents to bike to school should be one of our priorities. Involving students in the prep work and planning is an awesome idea.

Paulo
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Paulo

Anonymous, John and Matt: $2000. It’s in the story 🙂

Kris
Guest
Kris

The first commenter mentions that his school had “racks for 100s of bikes”. I am curious to find out whether that was a local school here in Portland (or elsewhere in OR/WA) and how long ago that was. Has there been a significant decline in bike parking over the last decennia and is this just the beginning of a modest upward trend? Anyone at PBOT, BTA or Portland Schools who could shed some more light on this?

Either way, it’s great to see Franklin stepping up their commitment to kids who ride their bikes to school, along the line of “if we build it, they’ll ride in”.

As an aside, on a recent trip to Belgium I checked out the bike parking at my nephew’s high school and they had covered bike parking for 1,000+ bikes. It was a pretty cold winter day and 90% of the racks were filled with bikes. I was later told that on average 80% of the kids at that school use their bike to get to school.

Elly Blue (Columnist)
Member

Paulo, I just updated the story with the cost information, so it’s not strange that earlier commentors didn’t see it!

Jeremy Sarant
Guest
Jeremy Sarant

What a pleasant surprise to see our Franklin High School bike parking touted. A little background:

Although Franklin is very accessible by bike (and by foot), relatively few students were riding to school, and those that did ride chained up to various railings around the school. I probably don’t need to go over all the many reasons why we hoped to increase ridership — from less parking to healthier students, and everything in between.

Applying the “build it and they will come” approach, we set out to improve parking. My wife, Monica Smith obtained a $4,500 grant from Lowes. We obtained design work, which included the actual parking area you see in the pictures, plantings, a low sitting wall, and roof coverings for at least some of the staples. We had to do major excavation work, gravel fill, concrete forms, pouring the concrete (7 yards, with students and wheelbarrows), more gravel, permeable pavers, and clean up work. The City provided and installed the staples over Spring Break, and the students started riding in.

The cost to date has been about $5,000 in materials, with a slightly larger amount in donated labor and services — including design work, excavation, concrete finishing, paver installation, and the staples — from a cast of community businesses and individuals who I will thank in a follow-up post.

We hope to move on to the next phases, which will require, of course, more money and more work.

As for the riders, they’re definitely increasing, and I look forward to the day when those railings are accommodating the overflow!

BURR
Guest
BURR

Hosford Middle School = substandard wheel-bender bike parking racks located out back by the dumpsters

Do it Better, Hosford!

Kevin Love
Guest
Kevin Love

Over 300 high school students, and less than 36 bike to school? I’m somewhat underwhelmed.

Dread Pirate Roberts
Guest
Dread Pirate Roberts

Is this a washington/Vancouver thing too?

Robert Ping
Guest
Robert Ping

Yes, there is less bike parking at schools than in previous decades, especially going back thirty years or more when 87% of students walked or biked who lived within a mile of the school. Most parents drive now, and from longer distances, and they are afraid to let theirs be ‘Free Range Kids’ when they do live close. Hopefully the national Safe Routes to School program will include funding for high schools in the next transportation bill, and we can get more students riding and more racks at high schools! Go Franklin parents and PBOT’s bike and Transportation Options staff!

Paul Tay
Guest

AWESOME….if only I wuz still in high skool. 😛

John Russell
Guest

I’m a student at Mountain View High School in East Vancouver, and I’m currently working on a project to maximize the number of bikes able to safely be parked with the current infrastructure. Thankfully, our school was build with large, metal security gates between each building which can safely lock about ten to twelve bicycles each without interfering with the gates themselves.

The idea as submitted would be to paint bike parking stalls so that the maximum number of bikes can be securely parked in preparation for the return of the fair-weather cyclists.

Apparently, our ASB council may be looking for a large project to do, so it might not be a stretch to get some nice staple racks installed soon.