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City unveils three more on-street bike parking corrals

Posted by on May 18th, 2009 at 11:52 am

New bike parking in Northwest Portland at Thurman and 24th in front of Dragonfly Coffee House. (Plans call for rubber bumpers around the edges, like on existing corrals).
(Photos by Dan Liu)

Last week, the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation installed their latest batch of on-street bike parking corrals.

“We think this corral and others like it is a great way of drawing residents to local businesses.”
— Kim Carlon, Northwest District Assocation

Motor vehicle parking spaces have been re-allocated to bicycles in the following locations: NW 24th & Thurman, in front of the Dragonfly Coffee House and Food Front; NE Alberta & 31st, in front of the new Vita Cafe; and at N. Alta and Lombard in downtown St. Johns, in front of St. Johns Cinema.

Both the Alberta and St. Johns corrals have 9 staples, for 18 bikes, while the corral on Thurman is smaller, at 6 staples for 12 bikes.

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St. Johns residents have waited
for this for a very long time.

According to PBOT bike program specialist Sarah Figliozzi, the smaller corral on Thurman signals a slightly different approach to the City’s business district bike parking plans. “In the future, what I see is a greater number of smaller corrals, about six staples each,” Figliozzi said. This approach would be more suited to Portland’s larger commercial districts, by spreading the commercial advantages of on-street bike parking around different blocks and businesses.

“Generally, we get very strong support for the bike corrals from the business community, due to the increased customer ratio they make available — up to 10 people for each parking spot — as well as the increased street and curb visibility the corrals provide,” says Figliozzi.

The effort to add multiple bike corrals to the Northwest commercial districts is being spearheaded by Figliozzi and the Northwest District Association (NWDA).

Kim Carlson and Devon Liebman, both members of the NWDA Transportation Committee, are working with Figliozzi and other city officials to have more corrals installed just blocks away from this new one in front of Dragonfly Coffee House. Liebman and Figliozzi rode their bikes around Northwest back in November, identifying potential spots for new on-street bike parking. The decision to put the corral at 24th and Thurman was made by the NWDA board, who unanimously approved the corral after Erin Timmons, the owner of Dragonfly, came forward and requested its installation.

In front of Dragonfly Coffee
House on Thurman.

“There are a lot of businesses, particularly on NW 23rd, that have closed because they must (and haven’t been able to) attract outside customers,” says Carlson. “On Thurman, the businesses get their customers from the neighborhood and nearby residents.”

Carlson continued, “Our neighborhood also doesn’t have a great reputation for having a lot of people commuting downtown by bike, or biking to their neighborhood stores and cafés. We think this corral and others like it is a great way of drawing residents to local businesses.”

The new corral can be seen as a further test of the concept: to prove that they actually are good for business, and that NW Thurman has a latent demand for bike parking. So far, so good: the Thurman St. corral was half full, just hours after the corral was installed at 10:30 last Friday morning. “We would see potential to expand the corrals if they are also consistently 75-80% full,” says Figliozzi.

As a test, however, the 24th and Thurman location is also an easy one politically: NW 24th is a bike boulevard, the city and neighborhood association had support from both the business owner and her landlord, and the corral occupies a former no-parking zone. As future bike corrals may require sacrificing car parking spaces, or face resistance from one or more stakeholders, it might take a lot more political maneuvering to make them happen.

The new corral on NE Alberta at 31st.

The other benefits of on-street bike parking, including increased visibility and improved pedestrian and sidewalk traffic, should not go unnoticed — but it is up to the neighborhood association and both private and public cycling advocates to get everyone on the same page. The relationship goes in three ways: in order for the investment to be worth the city’s time and money, there must actually be cyclists who use the parking, as well as businesses, landlords, and city officials responsible for metered parking, who are willing to give up one or more curbside parking spots.

The hope is that the success of the corral at NW 24th & Thurman will encourage business and city officials to more thoroughly embrace replacing on-street car parking with bike parking corrals. “A lot of the decision to install a corral will be based on existing and latent bike parking demand,” said Figliozzi. Hopefully, the demand is already there, and both the city and NWDA-area businesses will agree on ways to get more bike parking around NW 21st and 23rd.

These three new bike parking corrals, along with the one installed in March on NW 13th in the Pearl District, mean that Mayor Sam Adams can tick off another one of his “First 100 Days” of bike-related promises.

The next bike corral, slated for installation in July, will be in front of Widmer Brewery on N. Russell at Interstate.

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31 Comments
  • Avatar
    BURR May 18, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    what about SE 28th and Ankeny? SE 26th and Clinton?? More locations on SE Hawthorne???

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    Anonymous 2 May 18, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    This is fantastic for our NW neighborhood. And now it gives all the group riders good places to park their bikes before they head in to St. Honore or Dragonfly.

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    Paul Tay May 18, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    BURR, preach to da lepers, NOT da choir. Ankeny, Clinton, and Hawthorne are in the choir section.

    I kinda like the proof of concept: bikes better for bithnuss.

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    ScottG May 18, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Always good to see these corrals springing up.

    Maybe this is a silly idea, but perhaps to help businesses realize how useful it is to increase bike parking near them, riders could make a point of bringing their helmets into stores with them instead of locking them with their bikes (as I sometimes do). That way store owners and employees would better notice how many of their customers were riding in to do their shopping.

    I realize not everyone wears helmets and it’s not my intention to start any debate on this – just throwing out a minor PR idea for those of us that do.

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    Sarah Figliozzi May 18, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    We are currently working with the businesses along NE 28th and Kerns Neighborhood Association to confirm locations for additional bike parking along the very high demand NE 28th corridor – they’ll be rolled out very soon. Same goes for SE Clinton/Division and SE Hawthorne. We’ve also received an enormous number of excellent suggestions through our Bike Master Plan Open Houses (the last of six occurring this evening 4-7pm at Wilson High School). If your available, please come and offer your suggestions in person!

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    Hart May 18, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    26th and Clinton should have a corral the length of the entire block.

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    Matt Picio May 18, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    I’d like to see one near 45th & Woodstock, or 76th & Stark.

    28th & Couch might be better than Ankeny. Then again, BOTH would be better still.

    I love the fact that we’re getting more, and that they’re spread out in diverse biking areas. Now if we can spread out to the other “bike cores” and establish new ones… well, the sky’s the limit.

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    chriswnw May 18, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    See, this type of infrastructure is actually worthwhile 🙂

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    Paul Tay May 18, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    #4, ScottG, oh fo’ shore. The brain bucket I bought at last year’s MCBF always gets attention. I haven’t quite figured out how to mash-up the Santa outfit with a tux yet.

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    mmann May 18, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Montavilla – somewhere between 77th-80th along Stark. Maybe in front of The Academy, or Bipartisan, or better yet, in front of the new bike shop opening soon? I think this neighborhood is ready and I’m pretty sure the Montavilla Business Association would be agreeable, or at least put it on their agenda.

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    Tall Mike May 18, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I understand that someone hit the corral with their car and damaged it a bit right after it was installed.

    But it was fixed really quick – and the driver will most likely pay for the damages.

    Thanks PBOT!

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    feralcow May 18, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    somewhere in sellwood would be nice, it is hit and miss for bike parking right now.

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    aljee May 18, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    amnesia is always full. could it be extended?
    vendetta – skidmore and williams

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    velo May 18, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Nice piece! I’m always glad to see more on street bike parking. Riding encourages better facilities which in term encourages more riding – it’s a virtuous cycle.

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    Matt M May 18, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    A few good candidates:
    Woodstock (near Laughing Planet/Micky Finns)

    Westmoreland (near the movie theater?)

    Sellwood (Near Ugly Mug/Grand Central Baking)

    28th and NE Couch (near the movie theater/ La Buca)

    Just my 2 Cents

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    Joe May 18, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    I’d love to see another on 2 on Alberta…I know….selfishness –

    27th and Alberta near Videorama/gym/thai food

    18th and Alberta near bakery/music shop/ballroom

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    jeff May 18, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    how about: every space on either side of an intersection on streets with lots of businesses. no more racks cluttering the sidewalk. increased intersection visibility for all road users.

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  • Mediated » Bike Parking May 18, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    […] saw this item today over on bikeportland.org: “City unveils three more on-street bike parking corrals”.  These are special areas on the street to lock up your bicycle.  This bit was most interesting: […]

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    Matt Picio May 18, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    chriswnw (#8) – Amen. The one thing we all seem to agree on and not argue about is the need for more bike parking, and that the infrastructure for that piece is a good thing.

    Of course, we still debate what it should look like, where to put it, etc etc.

    I’m happy to have it, though I think I need a top tube cozy to protect my frame once the transit mall racks go in.

    😛 Transit mall overpriced paintscraper designs…

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    brettoo May 18, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    How about places where lots of people converge for movies, concerts, and other performances? I’m surprised there’s not at least a few more bike racks, if not a corral, at places like portland center for the performing arts.

    Besides the bike parking, I really appreciate having greater visibility when they take away a parked car at the corner, so I don’t have to edge my front wheel out into the traffic lane to see if a car’s coming.

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    Rico May 18, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Is there an official city website to submit bike parking recommendations?

    NoPo Library only has 2 staples for parking.

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    Hart May 18, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    How about places where lots of people converge for movies, concerts, and other performances?

    Like in front of the Clinton Street Theater!!!

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    anony.bike.nw May 18, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    I live in NW Portland. I’d rather see a bike corral on NW 23rd (23rd and Johnson?) than a bike corral on NW Thurman.

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    Lisa G. May 18, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Sometimes these corrals are not close enought to the heart of the business district they are trying to serve. I don’t think it unreasonable to take up a few parking spaces in the center of the Alberta Arts district rather than having to park at 31st and walk ten or fifteen blocks to where you really want to go. You don’t see drivers doing that (except in New York City..). Another example of this is the bike parking in the Hollywood District. The covered parking pavilion is on the corner of Hancock and Sandy, on the bike route but nowhere near the shops. It really needs to be next to the Hollywood Theatre to replace those pretty but dysfunctional art deco racks.

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    joe adamski May 19, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Many thanks to Sarah F and the folks at PBOT for making the St Johns Corral in front of the theater a reality. Nothing says welcome like a bike corral,IMHO.It signals a business community that understands that its clientele value local businesses,sustainabilty, and community. And each corral clears up the nearby sidewalks of bikeclutter, making walks more usable for the whole community.

    One more to go for SJ, I hope. And heres to a great summer…support your local businesses and use the bike corrals available.

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    BURR May 19, 2009 at 11:36 am

    re. #24 – This is exactly the situation with the ‘bike oasis’ at SE 20th and Hawthorne.

    This parking structure is located on a side street on the south side of Hawthorne, by the back door of the 7-11, and it’s barely ever used.

    It should be on the north side of Hawthorne, by the bike shop and the movie theater, DUH!

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    Sarah Figliozzi May 19, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Re #24

    I just want readers to understand that the corral installed at NE Alberta and 31st is not intended to serve the whole corridor of Alberta or even several blocks. It was the first of several corrals to be installed along NE Alberta.

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    indy May 19, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Wish I could trust to leave my bike out in the open. locked, even. No way, no how. Sad.

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    Jessica Roberts May 20, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Indy, you need a new bike! Paranoia is no way to live.

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    Borgbike May 20, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Re: #27
    Right on! It’s really clear to me that bike corrals are a super important part of keeping the Portland bike revolution moving forward. They make such a dramtic difference to neighborhoods when they go in.

    Here on Alberta Street I think many of us were a little dismayed at how the first corral was placed on 31st and Alberta. It’s great and will do good once the Vita reopens but this is not where we have a clear and present need(cough,cough: 18th and Alberta).

    We are heartened to read more are on the way! I can put aside my worries of policital shinanigans.

    Stay beautiful,
    Dave

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    Doug Klotz May 26, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    How about 28th and Burnside! Centered on the district, and visible. Or, maybe Couch and Ankeny, as was suggested.

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